Puerto López is a little fishing village in a bay along the Ruta del Sol from where you can organise tours in Machalilla National Park and go whale-watching between the months of July and September.
The beach is fairly clean and although there are a lot of boats in the bay, you can walk along the sand for a kilometre and find lots of space with uninterrupted views. The sea is good for swimming. The only problem is the months when the whales are in town are also when the weather is cooler and cloudier.
The promenade looks OK – there are some bars and plenty of kiosks and basic restaurants plus lots of tour agencies and people looking to take you out in a boat. Things aren’t so good behind the promenade where it seems all the development has been done at the least possible expense, so the roads are unpaved, the pavements come and go, there’s no green landscaping; it feels poorer than it is. I’ve always thought that the inhabitants of Puerto López could do a lot more to make their town attractive,
Don’t let that put you off; the beauty of the natural attractions make up for the urban shortfalls and to be fair, when I was last there in November 2010 it was clear that someone was making more of an effort.
When the whales arrive you are basically guaranteed to see them on a boat trip. It might be the odd flipper or a full body leap – that depends on your luck. All the boats are similar in size and will follow each other to find the whales so don’t worry too much about who you arrange your tour with. Obviously ask around a bit to get the best price. You can read about my experience here.
Machalilla National Park
Apart from the beach and the whales the other attractions are outside of town and to visit them you have to buy a ticket for Machalilla National Park. The main points of interest are Los Frailes beach, Aguas Blancas archaeological site and the Isla de la Plata. Read more about them on the page for Machalilla.
Click here to find out where to stay or where to eat in Puerto López. There are lots of cheap hotels and hostels as well as some nice places away from the centre of the town.