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“The "Poor man's Galapagos" ...”
Review of Isla de la Plata

Isla de la Plata
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Day Trip to Puerto Lopez and Isla de la Plata from Guayaquil
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Located only 17 miles off the coast of Ecuador, this island is encircled by many reefs that make it a popular destination for scuba divers and snorkelers.
Laconia, New Hampshire
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“The "Poor man's Galapagos" ...”
Reviewed March 5, 2013

If you can't make it to the Galapagos, the Isla de la Plata will make up for your disappointment.
About 20 miles by boat from Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, the island gets its name from the bird guano that shrouds much of the island and looks silver in bright sunlight or full moonlight. It is a bird sanctuary for blue-footed boobies and frigate birds and is also home to two varieties of rare lizards. Several tour operators in Puerto Lopez offer trips - we got ours at a discounted price through the manager of the hostal where we stayed (Hostal Yemaya) paying $35 each rather than the $50 originally asked. The boat took only eight guests in addition to the tour guide, captain and cabin boy who were all very helpful, so it was a very intimate friendly experience. Landing on the island we used the restrooms, got bottled water and then set out on the hike up to the top of the island. It was very hot and dry (so no smoking anywhere on the island!) but there are shelters at various locations to allow you to cool down. At the first one, we encountered a booby preening her feathers. While we took photos, at no more than three or four feet away from her, she gave us a nonchalant glance and continued cleaning and straightening and then gave us another look as if to say, "enough, already. Can't I have a little privacy?" Frigate birds abound. The males have red throat pouches which they expand to attract females, and again, they will allow humans within fairly close proximity. As we returned to the bay I spotted one of the rare, endangered lizards. There are fabulous views from all parts of the island. After the hike, which was about three hours from start to finish, we reboarded the boat and sailed to a cove where giant sea turtles congregate. Snorkeling is available here - I can't snorkel but I did swim in the beautiful clear Pacific with these gentle giants. Below me, clown fish and angel fish swarmed in the warm ocean. It was an amazing experience and worth every penny. No, it's not the Galapagos but it is still a wonderful place.

Visited May 2012
15 Thank limeyl8e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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304 reviews from our community

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Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Getting very close to the blue-footed-booby”
Reviewed November 23, 2012

We've booked a day trip through our hostal Mandala. So I am not sure who operated it.
We payed 35$. And it was worth it!
We mostly saw the blue-footed-booby. But as we haven't been to Galapagos this was an amazing experience. The birds had no fear and you walk along their nests which are all over the trails with a distance of around 1 meter. We could made so many great pictures.
We also could see some other birds and some small lizards. Overall we had a 2 - 2 1/2 hours walk over the island.
The island was very clean and the guide took care we stayed on the trails. It really felt like protected nature.
By the way: There are bathrooms where you start and end your walk over the island.
Make sure you have good sun protection with you.

Visited November 2012
4 Thank Gerrit_GG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saugatuck, Michigan
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Not Galapagos !”
Reviewed November 10, 2012

Billed as the "poor man's Galapagos" not even similar, but a pleasant daytrip anyway.Tour operators vary greatly in price, NEGOTIATE !

Visited February 2012
3 Thank richard n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Best Manta encounter I had”
Reviewed October 15, 2012

The distance from Puerto Lopez, makes for a bit of trip (approx. 1 hour), but the island completely made up for that with the manta cleaning station. An absolute must for (experienced) divers.

I have dived with mantas (professionaly and for fun) in Mozambique, Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, but I have never encountered mantas of the size experienced here. No wonder one of the worlds foremost manta scientists, Andrea Marshall, comes here every high season.

Visited October 2012
5 Thank Technotrout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Langley, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Diving at Isla de la Plata”
Reviewed August 17, 2012

I went to the Island to go diving, on the way there we stopped to watch the plentiful humpbacked whales leaping out of the water. At the island we saw the blue footed boobies, the frigate birds, pelicans and pale hawks, and more. There was also a turtle swimming right near shore at the park office. During the 2 dives I was able to swim with 3 turtles, and we saw several moray eels and a spotted snake eel. Lots of nice fish too. There was also a herd/pod of dolphins that went by while we were having our snack, between dives.

Visited July 2012
2 Thank KatieScarlet137
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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