Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Transfer to Mantaraya Lodge
After a 30-minute flight from Quito to Manta you will be met by one of our qualified staff members and transferred by car to Machalilla National Park (a 3 hour drive). On the road, we will stop to visit the legendary Panama hat makers of Montecristi, where you will learn about the fascinating history and art of this notable coast town weaving tradition. We continue to Machalilla National Park through roads that will that offer splendid views of coastal Manabí, one of Ecuador’s largest and most spirited provinces. Upon your arrival at Mantaraya Lodge, a superb lunch will be waiting.
Visit village of Salango
After a deserving rest, your excursion leader will bring you to the small fishing village of Salango. This small town, located south of Puerto Lopez, has an interesting archaeological museum with samples collected at different sites inside and out of Machalilla National Park. In addition, the museum exhibits, in chronological order, the archeological ceramic vestiges of cultures that have inhabited coastal Ecuador in the last 5,000 years ago. The community at Salango is involved in a project called the “parcela marina”, which is a shallow sea located between Salango Hill and Salango Islet, where you can snorkel, scuba dive, and practice sport fishing. After dinner, your excursion leader will offer a briefing on the activities that will take place the next day.
Community of Agua Blanca
It is time to discover the wonders of Machalilla National Park. Located in the heart of the park, the village of Agua Blanca offers you the opportunity to admire the archeological remains of the one-time dominant Salango Chiefdom, which belonged to the Manteño civilizations. With the help of various organizations, the community of Agua Blanca (no larger than 400 inhabitants) has created several projects to rescue the archeological ruins and improve administration of their tourism activities. There is a great number of activities in the area for you enjoy. From the museum, you can also hike around the archeological site through a path that offers the possibility of encountering the nature and wildlife of this very particular deciduous forest.
Visiting the village of Agua Blanca is a full-time activity, but if you want to explore more, there are plenty of extra attractive excursions for you:
For more adventure-seeking guests, there is an opportunity to explore the San Sebastian Cloudforest on horseback. Trails designed by the locals will take you through deciduous and semi-deciduous forests into cloudforest at an elevation of around 800m. This is also an excellent tour for bird lovers!
In addition to the walking tours, we can arrange a bike ride through the Buena Vista Valley dirt road (about 5 Km), departing from the entrance road to Agua Blanca and arriving at the archeological museum.
The tougher option is to take the Julcuy road departing from the Buena Vista Valley for 40 Km bike ride that ends along the Jipijapa-Guayaquil highway, where our van will be waiting to transfer us back to the hotel.
*Please note: These are optional excursions and activities not included in the cost of the program; please contact your booking agent to program these activities in advance.
Visit Isla de la Plata
You explore the wonders of the sea on the "Isla de la Plata" - the silver island. Legend has it that the English buccaneer Sir Francis Drake hid a silver treasure in this nature reserve for seabirds and other marine animals. The adventure begins in the harbor of Puerto Lopez, where you board the private yacht Mantaraya. The journey to the island takes about one and a half hours. You will hike along the natural guide along the island to learn more about the nature, geological history and culture of the Isla de La Plata. You will have enough time to snorkel, discover an interesting ecosystem around Drake Bay. Here you can relax or swim on the beach. Lunch and water are offered during the excursion.
- If you are interested in diving, please let us know in advance so that the necessary preparations can be made. Isla de la Plata has excellent diving spots where you can spot fish, coral reefs, rays and occasionally sharks. (This is an optional activity that is not included in the cost of the program).
In the afternoon, your boat will take you back to Puerto Lopez where a private van will be waiting to transfer you back to Mantaraya Lodge. After dinner, your excursion leader will offer a briefing on the activities for the next day.
Visit the tropical cloudforest
This last day offers you the chance to visit the tropical forest, also known as cloudforest. On one trip, you may get a chance to see over 20 different bird species, learn about the local flora, and understand why this ecosystem is different from the others you have already visited. Venture into true tropical jungles along the Equator. Lunch will be ready for you at the lodge.
Transfer to the Airport
The return journey to Manta or Portoviejo Airport takes about 2 hours by car. Upon your arrival at the airport, an agent will take care of your boarding pass for your return flight to Quito.