Los Frailes Beach, Machalilla National Park, near Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

Six Snaps From Ecuador’s Playa Los Frailes

Here are half a dozen shots taken earlier today at Playa Los Frailes, which according to the tourist literature, is one of Ecuador’s most beautiful beaches.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that characterization, but I can say that it’s a very nice laid back spot. Set in Machalilla National Park about 12 kilometers from Puerto Lopez, it’s said to rarely be crowded. That was the case today –a Saturday no less– with only about a dozen people spread along the mile-wide crescent when I arrived at 11:30. When I left three hours later, the number of people enjoying the exceptionally clear warm water had perhaps doubled.

A nice lookout point is just a short hike away from the north end which provides nice vistas in all directions. The only company you’ll likely have  on the trail are dozens of small lizards quickly darting back and forth across the path. The refreshing breeze at the top is well worth the 15-minute hike.

Open daily from 8 to 4; mototaxi ride from the center of Puerto Lopez takes about 20 minutes and should set you back about $5 one-way. There is a small stand at the entrance selling water, soft drinks, ice cream and souvenirs, but there is no restaurant. As is the case with all of Ecuador’s national parks, entry is free.

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