Scuba Diving Ecuador Mainland
While the Galápagos is the Ecuador’s best diving, the coast on the mainland has its share of great dive spots.
Isla de la Plata: While the Galápagos has Ecuador’s best diving, the mainland coast has its share of great dive spots, the best of which is around Isla de la Plata, an island situated about two hours by boat from Puerto López. Dubbed the “poor man’s Galápagos”, Isla de la Plata has many of the animals commonly found in the Galápagos such as blue footed boobies, frigates, white-tipped sharks, manta rays, humpback whales, dolphins and sea lions. Here you can also find the famous spondylus oyster, used as a currency during Inca times.
The island is a perfect location for both diving and snorkeling. Serious scuba divers will find excellent diving services here as well. And from June to October, dive trips to the island can be complemented with whale watching.
Isla de la Plata has two guided hiking routes, both with highly photogenic spots. The rocky cliffs, stunning beaches and quiet bays make for a great Kodak moment.
Puerto Lopez Some divers overlook Puerto Lopez because Isla de la Plata is so close. But Puerto Lopez offers outstanding scuba diving and snorkeling in its own right. Dive boat operators can take divers to the local reefs near the town and Machalilla National Park, where visitors can spot a variety of tropical fish, sea turtles, stingrays, and sea cucumbers. Divers will often hear humpback whales singing underwater during the whale watching months of June through September.
Some divers overlook Puerto Lopez because Isla de la Plata is so close. But Puerto Lopez offers outstanding scuba diving and snorkeling in its own right.
Dive boat operators can take divers to the local reefs near the town and Machalilla National Park, where visitors can spot a variety of tropical fish, sea turtles, stingrays, and sea cucumbers. Divers will often hear humpback whales singing underwater during the whale watching months of June through September.
There is also snorkeling and many other things to do in the Machalilla National Park that surrounds the beach.
Puerto Lopez offers a wide range of accommodations, restaurants and facilities to suit every budget. There are also many travel agencies who can help you plan your diving tours and arrange whale watching trips.
Ayangue is the new scuba diving mecca of southern Ecuador. A small fishing town located in the province of Santa Elena, Ayangue has a horseshoe-shaped bay with tranquil waters.
People from all over Ecuador and the world come to this serene coastal village to see the Sagrado Corazón de Jesús de las Aguas (the underwater Christ statue), or plunge underwater and explore the colorful coral and marine creatures nearby.
The best place to dive is called Islote El Pelado, approximately 20 minutes from the coast. Here you will be able to observe marine turtles, lobsters, octopus, reef sharks, manta rays, puffer fish, parrotfish and unique coral. Ayangue is a diving spot for experienced divers as well as beginners.
Ayangue is two hours from Guayaquil. There are direct buses or you can transfer from the mini terminal in La Libertad.
Salinas offers top-notch scuba diving due to the coral reefs and exotic sea life that surrounds this beach. The best time for scuba diving in Salinas is from December to May.
Salinas has a thriving tourist scene, with amenities to suit all budgets: from luxury accommodations to cheap hostels; world-class restaurants to simple cevicherias; up-scale cocktail lounges to raucous sports bars. It’s a great place to unwind after a long day of diving.
If you like sports, there are plenty of opportunities to fish, sail and surf. The scenic bay is full of jet skiers, water skiers, hang gliders, skydivers and boats anchored adjacent to the yacht club.
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