We took an excursion to Isla de la Plata, the Silver Island, which is considered a miniature Galapagos. However, it’s not that far off the coast, just an hour’s boat ride, and as such hasn’t developed such a distinct ecology. The island is primarily home to blue footed boobies and frigate birds. We only got close to the former, in fact very close, as they’re possibly the most tame birds I’ve ever come across, although tame probably isn’t the word.

On our final day, we took a short walk along the Rio Ayampe, eventually ending up in a nature reserve by accident where it turned out there were snakes! It was a bit of an adventure in that the path didn’t seem to stick at all to what was on the map, but it generally went alongside the river so we felt that was OK. We did have to cross the river a good number of times though. Thankfully, I was in my hiking boots, so this didn’t result in wet feet. It has to be said, walking in the midday tropical sun is nothing short of exhausting.

Ayampe itself was pretty deserted with it being low season. We stopped for a lemonade and then got a taxi up the road to Las Tunas where we ate lunch at Jimmy’s restaurant and relaxed by the sea. Jimmy’s was supposed to have great food, but I have to say, it wasn’t much to write home about.

How we did it

The trip to Isla de la Plata was organised by the manager of our accomodation who essentially hooked us up with the local tour guide. In low season, there’s a daily trip, but we were led to understand that different boats take turns. The tour guide was an official of the Machallila National Park who spoke great English. The cost for the day was USD 35 each.

For our local wandering, we just used the bus to get about, save for a short taxi ride between Ayampe and Las Tunas. There is a green bus which I think starts at Manta and goes to Montanita, and you can just hail it as neeeded. I can’t remember the cost of the bus, but I think it was USD 1.50 per journey. The taxi ride was USD 3.00.

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