Explore Ecuador’s Manabí Province
Ecuador’s Manabí Province has plenty of beautiful beaches and excursion options enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, as well as numerous historical and cultural attractions. The Machalilla National Park is a must-see destination for nature-lovers. Consisting primarily of tropical dry forest, Machalilla is home to howler monkeys, capuchins, pumas, jaguars, ocelots and deer, as well as a huge variety of bird species including cuckoos, caciques, tanagers, hawks, falcons and swallows. Reptiles in this spectacular reserve include green iguanas, crocodiles, many different lizard species and snakes.
Forming part of the Machalilla National Park, Isla de la Plata is also known as the ‘Silver Island’, being a reference to the rumors of pirates’ treasure buried there, and has been described as a small slice of the Galapagos Islands. Depending on the season, visitors may see humpback whales and sea turtles while traveling from Puerto Lopez by boat, a journey that takes an hour or so. Upon arriving at Isla de la Plata, the abundance and variety of wildlife is immediately evident. Visitors can enjoy a hike on the island to get a closer view of its feathered inhabitants, which include hundreds of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds, while snorkeling off the island’s shoreline opens up a world of fascinating marine life.
Adventurous travelers will find Canoa to be a good vacation destination, as it offers hang-gliding and parasailing off the steep cliffs near the town, while the superb surfing conditions suit both beginners and surfers with more experience. Canoa is also a great place to learn to speak Spanish while enjoying a chilled-out vacation.
The capital city of the province, Portoviejo, is situated around 30 km inland and is referred to as the city of the Royal Tamarind Trees, being a reference to the abundance of these majestic trees in and around the city. Founded in 1535, it is one of the country’s oldest cities and is the commercial hub for the agricultural activities in the Portoviejo River valley and surroundings. In addition to enjoying the spectacular surroundings, visitors can browse and buy traditional crafts at the flea market in downtown Portoviejo, or indulge in some retail therapy at the city’s shopping malls and catch a movie at one of the movie theaters in this charming Ecuadorian destination.