Machalilla National Park – Los Frailes
When thinking of the beach, images of sun, sand and sea come to our mind, a landscape of a place where one can relax and enjoy the breeze and the sound of the sea. In Ecuador it is possible to find several beaches that show landscapes that look like they have been taken from a fairytale, one of them being Los Frailes beach, a white sand beach surrounded by cliffs and completely isolated from civilization.
This beach is located near Puerto Lopez, an Ecuadorian coastal town within the Machalilla National Park, one of the most extensive protected areas of the Ecuadorian coast and that includes two areas: one terrestrial (56,184 has) and one marine (14,430 mn). It has a very important floristic richness due to the endemic species that are found here, its fauna is also very diverse in the marine and terrestrial areas being the home to 81 species of mammals, 270 of birds and 143 of fish. To enter the Frailes beach you pass a dry forest of the area where you can appreciate its flora and fauna until you reach this beautiful beach of fine sand. The temperature of the sea is usually ideal to cool off and it is also possible to snorkel around its cliffs.
This beach has a half moon shape which allows you to appreciate and enjoy both sides. If you walk on a path starting on the beach you can go to the other side where La Playita Negra beach and La Tortuguita beach are. One of the must dos here is take the famous picture of the entire beach from a viewpoint, the perfect postcard for your social networks and be the envy of everyone. Some say that you can even see whales from here in the months of sighting.
To complete the visit to Machalilla you should not miss a bath in the sulfur water lagoon in Agua Blanca, it is only a few minutes from Los Frailes and who knows, and maybe you can enjoy a relaxing mud massage.
You can also find the first Rehabilitation Center of Marine Fauna in Machalilla where olive ridley, green and hawksbill turtles are rehabilitated after having suffered damages that are mainly caused by man. And if you want to learn more about the culture of the area, you can visit the museums that are in Agua Blanca and Salango where there are vestiges of the Machalilla culture that was one of the most important pre-Hispanic towns of the Ecuadorian Coast, as well as the Valdivia culture who also inhabited the area.
Visiting the Machalilla National Park and its beaches is the perfect opportunity to take a moment to relax and simply contemplate nature.