Isla de la Plata (Silver Island)

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Isla de la Plata is a small island off the coast of Manabí, Ecuador, and is part of Parque Nacional Machalilla. It can be reached by boat from the city of Puerto López.

One of the main attractions of the park is Isla de la Plata (Silver Island), so named at the end of the 16th century when the pirate Francis Drake ostensibly robbed treasure from Spanish ships and hid it on the island. According to legend, much of this treasure was never claimed and is still hidden somewhere on the island. Isla de la Plata is also known as the "poor man’s Galapagos" since it is possible to see many of the same species found on the much pricier and more distant Galapagos Islands. You will find nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies, masked boobies, frigate birds, and albatrosses, as well as sea lions, iguanas, and a variety of interesting plant life.

The island has two guided hiking routes which may be explored, and the local guides are generally well-versed on the flora and fauna and can provide visitors with detailed information and answer questions. On the island, there is a large diversity of animal species. For example, several species of booby, including the Blue-footed booby, Red-footed booby, and the Nazca booby. Another species found here is the South American sea lion. Dolphins, like the Pantropical spotted dolphin can be found in the water near the island.

In addition to the land based attractions, the island is surrounded by a series of coral reefs which are populated by a variety of colorful and fascinating marine-life, perfect for viewing while snorkeling or scuba diving. Humpback whales gather in the area every year between the months of June and September, and it is often possible to combine a trip to Isla de la Plata with a whale-watching tour. During the months of July and August, good sightings are almost always guaranteed, while in June and September sightings may be brief or distant.


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Isla de la Plata (Silver Island) .