Machalilla National Park

The Machalilla National Park, contains one of the largest tropical dry forests remaining in the world.


The park is located along Ecuador's central coast between the cities of Manta and Salinas

Its unique vegetation gradually changes, as the elevation increases and cloud forest species begin to emerge. Finally, you will discover a tropical rain forest.

Such great diversity within a small area is due to the park's location at the juncture of the cold Humboldt current flowing north and the warm El Niño current flowing south.

Machalilla National Park

ecuador machalilla national park

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Machalilla's unique and varied geography, along with the rich cultural heritage of the region, have made it one of Ecuador's most popular new vacation destinations.

The 135,000-acre (55,000 hectare) park, established in 1979, is the only National Park in Ecuador with three areas: continental, islands and marine.

The main Islands include La Plata and Salango. The Tropical Dry Forest dominates the unique ecosystems, with the kapok trees that change their appearance with the seasons, alternately covered with pink flowers or dotted with fluffy, cotton-like balls of fiber, used in World War II for life preservers.

Included in this National Park is Isla de la Plata, a sanctuary for marine birds such as red footed, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, who share the steep cliffs with frigate birds, albatrosses, the beautiful red-billed tropic birds and other seagoing birds.

The Humpback Whales migrating north along the Channel of La Plata can be easily observed from the end of July until early October. Machalilla offers a great wealth of cultural attractions.

Hiking or driving through the park will bring you to remnants of such ancient cultures as the Manteño, which dates back to 1700 AD.

Adventurous and skillful navigators from the city of Manta on balsa wood rafts, traded the treasured spondilus princes shell up and own the Pacific coast from what is now Chile to the Mayan territory in southern Mexico.

Over 360 species of birds have been recorded in the area, mainly frigates, the three species of boobies, tanagers, brown pelicans, gulls and many other sea birds. More About Birdwatching in Ecuador

Mammals include deer, howler monkeys, squirrels, anteaters and guatusa. Reptiles like salamanders, lizards and a unique tree-living snail are common.

The Machalilla National Park is another incredible attraction that Ecuador has to offer, enjoy it!!

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.

But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


More About Ecuador

Original Panama Straw Hats

Mindo Cloud Forest

Map of Ecuador

Hummingbirds of Ecuador

Last Minute Travel Advice

If you have questions about Machalilla National Park, You can post them on our Ecuador FAQ Page and if you'd like to request more information about our exciting Ecuador Jungle Tours or from our recommended Galapagos Land Tours to visit this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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