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Ecuador & Galapagos Islands: Pacific coast

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The northern Pacific lowlands of Ecuador have a gentle landscape of tropical agriculture, forest and warm-water bays. The developing tourist infrastructure is yielding a wide range of things to do, from whale watching to exploring pre-Columbian ruins, and diving and snorkelling at the coral reef around Isla de la Plata where the bird and animal life ― which includes colonies of waved albatrosses, frigate birds, boobies and sea-lions ― is not afraid of human proximity. Los Frailes beach is one of the loveliest on the coast.

Nearby is Machalilla National Park, which embraces and protects the tropical dry forest.

Our holidays to Pacific coast

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tren crucero ave of the volcanoes

Ecuador by train and Galapagos cruise

Private journey

14 days from £6,655pp

Things to do in Pacific coast

Humpback whale

Whale watching in Ecuador

Panama hat worker

Visit the birthplace of the Panama hat

Marine reserve

Visit Isla de la Plata

Our insider tips for Pacific coast


David Nichols

Walking the trails on scrubby Isla de la Plata, a kind of mini-Galápagos where many of the species, such as blue-footed boobies, can be observed up close.

Ben Line

Ben Line

Swimming and snorkelling off the jungle-framed  Los Frailes beach. It’s popular, but still pretty wild, with rocky headlands.

What our experts say

The Pacific coast of Ecuador is much less visited than other parts of the country. Having been there, I can’t understand why! If you have limited time and can't make it to the Galápagos, I  recommend a visit to Isla de La Plata, home to blue-footed, red-footed and Nasca boobies and sea lions. It’s just a short boat ride from Puerto Lopez. Get to the port early to see the morning fish market on the beach. The setting is stunning and the beaches are framed by prominent cliffs: Los Frailes is a great place to spend an afternoon; it's a stone’s throw away.

Alex Walker

Alexandra Walker

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