"Parque Nacional Machalilla" Machalilla by MalenaN

Machalilla Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 144 photos

Machalilla National Park is situated in Provincia de Manabí, just north of Puerto Lopez. It is Ecuador’s only coastal national park (mainland) and it was created in 1979 to protect the unique tropical dry forest. A long time ago most of the coast used to be covered with dry tropical forest, but now very little remain, and almost all can be found within the national park. Among other plants you will see large Candelabra Cacti, Prickly Pear cacti, Yellow Geiger, Barbasco, Palo Santo trees and Ceibos.

The park consists of almost 40 000 hectares of land with tropical dry forest and humid cloud forest and around 20 000 hectares of ocean, which includes islands like Isla de La Plata and Isla Salango.

In Machalilla National Park I have visited Isla de La Plata, a beautiful island where you can see large seabirds like Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Red-footed Boobies, Frigate birds and Waved Albatrosses. As I visited during the whale-watching season (June – September) we also saw lots of humpback whales on our way back to the main land.

I have also visited Playa Los Frailes, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador. Besides Playa Los Frailes several small peaceful beaches can be found within the park.

Another place I have visited in the national park is Agua Blanca. During archaeological excavations traces of six different cultures have been found, and in the village Agua Blanca you can see some of the findings in the small museum, and in the surrounding area there is an important Manteño site, where the basement of many houses can be seen.

If I visit the area again I would definitely like to take the 4h hike to San Sebastian, which is situated more inland, at an altitude of 600 metres. In this area the surrounding vegetation is humid cloud forest.

  • Last visit to Machalilla: Jul 2012
  • Intro Updated Oct 28, 2012
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Reviews (9)

Comments (7)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2014 at 3:11 AM

    More lovely scenery! I like the sulphur pool - It looks so inviting!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Feb 26, 2014 at 3:37 AM

      Yes, it did look inviting, but unfortunately I couldn't try it because of the recent surgery.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    Great that you saw so those whales!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    The Playa los Frailes does look like a beautiful beach. Plus you got to see some humpback whales.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Mar 4, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      Playa Los Frailes was very nice and I wish I could have had a swim in the sea there.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    What a beautiful place! A shame about your wrist but you seem to have seen a lot of the park despite that. The whales look magnificent!!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Feb 8, 2013 at 11:25 PM

      Seeing the whales was definitely a highlight of this trip to Ecuador!

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Wow, what a great natural scenery, you certainly had a great time there !

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 30, 2012 at 11:10 PM

      Yes it is beautiful, and it would have been even better if I hadn't broken my wrist a few days earlier. Now I couldn't swim.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2012 at 7:37 AM


    Yes, quite agree that Playa Los Frailes may be considered as one of the most beautiful beaches there...

  • Aunt_Bertha's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    Ouch! What a bummer to have that happen on vacation. I hope to read lots of new Ecuador pages and tips when your wrist is well enough.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Aug 30, 2012 at 7:58 AM

      I broke the wrist a few days after arriving in Ecuador. I couldn't do everything I had planed to do, but after a few days of rest I could at least do hikes and visit museums. Luckily it was the left wrist that I broke.

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