A destination with multiple choices
Magnificent beaches, imposing mountains, fast flowing rivers and lovely people who look forward to the future with ample smiles. To talk about Manabí, one of Ecuador´s coastal provinces, is to broach a variety of marvelous settings, a destination with diverse sceneries, each one quite different from the next.
In one well known spectacular beach, Nature showcases its splendor with soft white sand alongside deep blue water, surrounded by cliffs and near forests that harbor local plants and animals.
Los Frailes (the friars) is within the Machalilla national park, which keeps the environment pristine. Visitors can enjoy an untrammeled interaction with Nature, ample vistas of the sea and, by walking up to an overlook, take advantage of the best views in the area. Tourists arriving between June and September will probably get to see whales swimming along the coast.
Tourists tempted to go for a swim should take into account strong local currents. Nevertheless, it´s such a joy to take a quick dip in the waters of one of the prettiest beaches in Ecuador.
Manabí is a destination with diverse options. Can you picture an archeological experience during your vacation? In the 25 thousand acres of the Agua Blanca community inside the Machallila national park, you can make this dream come true.
Luke Dalla Bona, an archeologist and president of “Archeological Vacations”, invites tourists to participate in this community sponsored project. Activities include hikes in the area to locate remains, excavations, lab analysis of pottery pieces, plus restoration and conservation of pieces. According to Luke, there still remains much to be discovered and extensive archeological work to be performed.
We stand across from one of the excavations where walls that belonged to a house are quite evident. These walls were up to three feet high. We can observe holes in the floor where poles were installed to support the roof. The architecture provided circulation so this house was kept cool. This place also shows remains of an oven. Funeral urns belonging to family members are noticeable. These remains belong to the Manteña culture, the last pre-Columbian society in Ecuador´s coastal region.
After the archeological tour, visitors can recover from their exertions in the local spa operated by the community, located near a lagoon with sulfurous water where swimmers can take advantage of the antioxidant qualities of sulfur. This lagoon, fed from volcanic springs, is about four feet deep at the ends and about twelve feet deep in the middle.
After a hike along the dry forest, the best oasis to rest is the Mantaraya lodge. This hotel is located in a very quiet area and enjoys grand views. In fact, the first thing you will wish to do is to enjoy a cocktail in the jacuzzi while watching the sunset over the sea.
This lodge works closely with the community to develop the local economy. It´s operation is sustainable thanks to environmentally sound practices. The hotel has fifteen rooms –singles, doubles, triples and cuadruples- for up to fifty guests. It´s located five minutes from Puerto López, so it´s an ideal place to rest without being far from the city.
One of the new attractions in this area is the Julio Izurieta boardwalk in Puerto López. Tourists can walk or bike along its 1.5 mile length, among artisan kiosks, docks for fishing boats and a navy control station.
Nearby, a slew of restaurants with local cuisine and, of course, inns for overnight guests.
Manabí will not only charm you with its natural beauty but also with the warmth of its people. It´s a destination that you will always wish to return.