Machalilla National Park
LiveTheLifeinEcuador | April 24, 2015
The Ecuadorian Manabi Province cradles deep within its thick jungles the country’s sole coastal park. Parque Nacional Machalilla is regarded not just as a national treasure, but a global one. Sprawled over more than 55,000 hectares of land and around 20,000 hectares of marine habitats, the Machalilla National Park was named by the Ramsar Convention as a Wetland of International Importance in 1990. It is home to diverse landscapes, lush vegetation, and thriving wildlife, some of which are regionally and locally endangered. Aside from providing a protected home for these animals, some parts of Machalilla serve as important breeding grounds, crucial for the continuation of certain species.
Paradise on Earth
Machalilla National Park is massive. The area on which it sits is composed of various landscapes, from tropical dry forests, to coastal scrubs, to islands. It is divided into three sectors: north (southern to northern Puerto Cayo Machalilla), south (south to north of Puerto Lopez, including Isla Salango), and Isla de la Plata.
Aside from being a sanctuary for endangered animal species, the park is a botanical haven where you can find the most common to the most unusual of flora. Its marine areas are teeming with ocean life, with some of its regions serving as breeding grounds for humpback whales. With biodiversity this rich, many environmental organizations struggle to protect it from threats such as deforestation, poaching, and the ecological effects of tourism.
Leave No Trace
There are plenty of outdoor recreational activities you can take part in to thoroughly experience the wonders of Machalilla National Park. Options include trekking, hiking, mountain hiking, diving, and snorkeling. Going to Machalilla is an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, so be sure to practice the principles of leaving no trace [insert link: https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles] to help preserve the environment.