Last week I went on an amazing tour to Isla de la Plata (“Galapagos for the poor”). This is a day tour leaving from Puerto Lopez, a sleepy fisherman’s town along the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast.
From Guayaquil I took the direct public bus to Puerto Lopez which takes around 4 hours. I stayed at Hotel La Terraza with Germans owners (see picture). When in Puerto Lopez you should really try the seafood diners, I had dinner at I Restaurant La Carmita, which I can definitely recommend.
At 9.00AM you leave from the harbour of Puerto Lopez on a small speedboat(about 20 people). Everyone is obligated to wear life vests and the guide starts the day with a safety talk and a general explanation of the day. It takes about 1,5-2 hours from Puerto Lopez to Isla de la Plata in full speed. In the whale season (June – September) you can spot humback whales playing along the boat ride. Whenever the captain sees active whales close to the boat he will stop so all guests can take pictures. This also also happened to us, after about an hour we saw the first whales and we followed a very active pair for about half an hour, such an amazing experience! See the video for the great footage of the playing humpback whales around the boat.
When you arrive in Isla de la Plata there are different hikes you can do. Sometimes the National Park chooses to close some of the routes for maintenance and for the animals. The walk we did took us to the frigid birds. We saw numerous beautiful frigid birds, some even with an inflated sack. After the hike of about 1,5 hour you can back to the boat for a simple sandwich lunch and afterwards you have time to go snorkeling.