Day Trip To Parque Nacional Machalila

June 18, 2016

On our first day off we woke up extra early and headed to the nearest beach we could visit, Los Frailes. It is located inside Parque Nacional Machalila, a protected land somewhere between Puerto Cayo and Puerto Lopez. As early as 7am we were already by the road waiting for a lift to the park. There was not much traffic but after 30 minutes two men picked us up and dropped us off in front of the park.

After registering our names at the entrance we hitched another ride this time towards Playa Los Frailes. Saved us an hour of walking!

Hitchhiking to Parque Nacional Machalila
Hitchhiking to Parque Nacional Machalila

Everyone got off here. On JC’s left there are a couple of stores where you can buy some drinks or snacks and rent beach chairs and umbrellas.

Day trip to Parque Nacional Machalila

You have no idea how we’ve missed (relatively) warm waters. In Chile and Peru the water has always been too cold for our tropical bums so Playa Los Frailes was a welcome change for us and so we took advantage of it.

Day trip to Parque Nacional Machalila
Relatively warm sea water por fin!

Los Frailes Beach, Parque Nacional Machalila

Day trip to Parque Nacional Machalila

Los Frailes Beach, Parque Nacional Machalila
Los Frailes Beach
Los Frailes Beach, Parque Nacional Machalila
Los Frailes Beach

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There’s a mirador not too far from Los Frailes that we hiked for a splendid view of the sea. To your left you can see the entire Playa Los Frailes while on the right you have a view of Playa La Tortoguita (little turtle bcos its shape looks like one).

Day trip to Parque Nacional Machalila

Parque Nacional Machalila
View of Playa La Tortuguita from the mirador

To get out of the park we hiked for about an hour and a half, passing through Playa La Tortoguita – no swimming here because the waves are crazy – under the blistering tropical heat. Buti na lang may baon kaming tubig!
Playa La Tortoguita, Parque Nacional Machalila

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Going back we were lucky to have hitched a ride with two men on their way back to their hostel in Puerto Cayo! They were two friends on a road trip in coastal Ecuador. Very, very nice guys. And that wraps our day trip to the ocean.

Up next: another day trip to the little party town of Montañita.

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How to get to Parque Nacional Machalila

From Puerto Cayo, local buses headed to Puerto Lopez, Montañita, or as far as Guayaquil passes in front of the park. Just tell the driver you want to be dropped off in Parque Nacional Machalila. Hitchhiking is very easy though so if you’re a budget backpacker like us, hold that thumbs up and pretty sure someone will pick you up.

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