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Introduction
Giant mammals weightlessly emerging from the ocean depths start their flirtatious dance, giving way to the mating ritual. The Humpback Whale starts long trip to the warm waters of the Ecuadorian ocean in Antarctica. Once in Ecuador, these 15 meter-long animals, jump out of the water to call their mate's attention. This ceremony continues for several weeks and it ends a year later with the birth of their offspring, which are born in Ecuadorian waters.

Whale Watching in Ecuador, specially in Manabi, is during the months of June - September. The Humpback Whale prefers this environment in order to reproduce and foster their young. The area also attracts dolphins.

Species in danger of extinction
The Humpback Whale is a marine mammals in danger of extinction. the whales were easy preys of fishing boats during the XIX and XX century due to being slow swimmers. These actions greatly reduced their population count between 10,000 and 20,000 units worldwide. Ecuador considers to be privileged to house their yearly visit. Make sure that your tour operator is conscious

Where to go
Although whale watching can be done along the entire Ecuadorian coast, the best spot is in Puerto López, a small fishing village in southern Manabí. Here, there are many tour operators that offer safe whale-watching tours. A less safe but cheaper alternative is to make a deal with any fisherman that owns a boat.

Other sites that are becoming popular for whale watching are: Salinas, Manta, Tonsupa y Atacames.


Trips
Humpback Whale watching tours are bundled with trips / excursions of "Isla de La Plata". After an hour's boat ride, whales should be seen exhaling large streams of water or showing their fins graciously, an exciting spectacle that can last several minutes. Yet the trip does not end on this note. A short distance ahead appears "Isla de la Plata", famous for its legends of piracy and its variety of sea birds. This island is also known as "The poor-man's Galapagos", because the birds that live here can also be found in the Galapagos Islands, however arriving to the Island is quite a bit cheaper than a tour of the Galapagos Islands. Frigates, albatross, masked, red-, and blue-footed boobies rest and feed their baby chicks fearless of human presence, right next to the paths on which the island keepers will walk you through, explaining the habits of these beautiful birds. This island was also a ceremonial site of millenary pre-Columbian cultures, whose evidence can be found throughout all the Machalilla National Park. Isla de la Plata is also a part of this protected area. A little bit of snorkelling may be the right ending for your trip, and if you're lucky, some whales may show up on the way back.

Isla de la Plata is situated only 17miles off the coast and is home to many similar species to those of its world famous cousin. Its name ‘Silver Island’ is derived from the legend that Sir Francis Drake buried treasure there.
Isla de la Plata is part of the Ecuador's Machalilla National Park. Renowned for its abundant and exotic wildlife, exquisite unspoiled beaches and rich historical past, Isla de la Plata offers fantastic opportunities for curious travellers. Search for the island's great number of resident and migratory birds, including blue-footed and masked boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, and giant albatross. Swim and snorkel in crystal-clear waters, perhaps coming face-to-face with a friendly sea lion. Visit a local museum or archaeological site to observe artefacts from ancient indigenous peoples. Surrounding the island are numerous reefs, which has made it a favourite amongst scuba divers and snorkellers.

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Updated
15/07/05
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