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Explore the Village of Puerto Lopez

Located in the Manabi Province, along the central coast of Ecuador, Puerto Lopez is a small coastal village that’s famous for its myriad of tourist attractions, including humpback whale watching, the scenic Machalilla National Park, and so much more.

One of the best things about Puerto Lopez is its simplicity – the village boasts a very laid-back charm, as it lacks the bustling venues and high-rise buildings found in other coastal villages. Outdoor lovers in particular, will be able to find a wide variety of stunning destinations, including beaches, reefs, hiking trails and forests.

The unique coastal town truly has something for everyone, so it can be challenging for visitors or new residents to figure out what to see or do first. LiveTheLife has prepared a list of some of the best attractions and activities you can experience in Puerto Lopez:

Humpback whale watching

Humpback whale watching is one of the main reasons why Puerto Lopez is a big tourist attraction. The best time to see these majestic giants is during the months of June to September, as this when they usually stop along the coast of Puerto Lopez.

Puerto Lopez has several licensed tour agencies that offer whale watching tours – you can find many of these offices in the town’s beach area as well as in the plaza. Tours typically last around 30 to 45 minutes and can cost about $15 to $20, depending on the season.

If you’re interested in going on a whale watching trip, LIVETHELIFE can book a guided tour for you!

Isla de la Plata

Avid birdwatchers will enjoy visiting Isla de la Plata, as the island is teeming with a wide variety of unique bird species, including Nazca boobies, frigatebirds, tropicbirds, Peruvian pelicans, waved albatrosses, and more. You can see some of these marvelous creatures while walking along Isla de Plata’s many established nature trails. You’ll be able to find tour companies that offer complete tour packages that include whale watching, guided treks, and snorkeling.

Trips from Puerto Lopez to Isla de la Plata typically cost around $30 to $45, depending on the time of the year.

Los Frailes Beach Park

Located around 10 kilometers from Puerto Lopez, Los Frailes Beach Park is a beautiful beach with spectacular ocean views and rock formations. The Los Frailes beach is the largest of three beaches included within the National Park of Machalilla.

Outdoor lovers can take an unforgettable two-hour long hike that will take you to the black sand beach of Playa Negrita, La Tortuguita beach, a lookout point surrounded by spectacular views, and finally to Los Frailes.


Foodies can choose from a huge selection of top-notch dining venues in Puerto Lopez. Many of the restaurants offer traditional Ecuadorian cuisine which you shouldn’t miss, such as ceviche, pastel de banano, corviche, and many others.

One dish you should definitely try when in Puerto Lopez however is encebollado, a delicious fish stew that’s made with yuca and served with crushed fried plantain chips. The dish is very popular in the Manabi Province, and is usually offered as a breakfast meal in either street carts or restaurants.

If you’re looking for another great place to visit in Ecuador, check out our guide to Yunguilla Valley.


Reasons to Move to Yunguilla Valley

Yunguilla Valley is fast becoming one of Ecuador’s top retirement destinations, with its relaxing countryside atmosphere, pleasant sunny weather, and stunning views of deep green farmland surrounded by mountains.

If you’re searching for an excellent place to retire, Yunguilla Valley is a wonderful choice. Here are a few great reasons why:

The pleasant climate

Geography plays a huge part in Yunguilla Valley’s pleasant climate – the area has an east to west orientation, which means it gets plenty of sunshine as well as a shorter rainy season.

The valley has an altitude of approximately 4,500 feet near Santa Isabel and around 7,000 feet close to Giron, resulting in temperatures that reach the low 80s during daytime to a pleasant high 50s to low 60s at night. With these conditions, retirees get to enjoy lower air conditioning costs, which is not common in most tropical locations.

World-class outdoor activities

If your idea of retirement is spending more time outdoors, then Yunguilla Valley is perfect. The region offers a top-notch variety of recreational activities, which include bird watching, horseback riding, and many more.

Love hiking? There’s an exceptional network of hiking trails that will take adventurers through breathtaking scenery, where you can soak up views of majestic mountains, dense forests, and spectacular waterfalls. The area also has numerous banana, coffee, papaya, and orange plantations, which tells you just how lush and fertile the region is.

Hiking with Torrin @ Yunguilla Valley area.

Quality infrastructure

Many parts of the Yunguilla Valley may be underdeveloped, especially when compared to Cuenca, but its infrastructure is top-quality compared other rural communities in Ecuador.

Residents get all necessities, including water, electricity, and telephone lines, along with numerous restaurants and entertainment venues. In addition, Yunguilla Valley residents are also less than an hour away from Cuenca, which means quality healthcare services are a short drive away.

Well-constructed and affordable real estate options

If you’re searching for a home in Yunguilla Valley, you’ll be able to find plenty of excellent options. The quality of construction in the region is superb compared to other areas in Ecuador.

Properties are very affordable as well, and many of the lots already come with necessary infrastructure (water, electricity, and phone). Even with all the modernization around the area, property values have remained relatively low, with prices that are sometimes as much as 30% less than comparable properties in other areas. And when you factor in the relaxing atmosphere and gorgeous panoramic views surrounding most of the homes, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal in such a beautiful location.

Fantastic investment opportunities

Yunguilla Valley is not only a terrific place to live; it’s a fantastic location for investors.

as well. The region is experiencing constant, steady growth, which will likely continue for several years. Moreover, its close proximity to Cuenca as well as the number of hotels in the valley ensures easy access to visitors as well as new residents.

Want more information? Take a look at some of our other articles and pages on Yunguilla Valley here and here.

2 Reasons to Love Whale Watching in Puerto Lopez

From June to September, the humpback whales travel from Antarctica to the warm waters of Ecuador, showing off to both tourists and locals in Puerto Lopez. Visitors from all over the world travel to Puerto Lopez to witness these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.

It’s an Experience You’ll Never Forget

Whale watching is an experience unlike anything else. Every year, two to three thousand Humpback wales travel from the cold waters of Antarctica to mate and spawn in the waters of Ecuador and Colombia. These beautiful whales can reach up to 50 feet long and they sometimes wander close to the shore, so you can see them breaking the ocean’s surface or perhaps see them leaping out of the water to create a huge splash.

You won’t understand the magnitude of these creatures until you seem them up close and in action. The whales swim slowly, at a rate of 2 km per hour, giving you plenty of time to take photos.

You Can Go on a Whale Tour

img_9029If you want to go on a whale watching tour, Puerto Lopez is one of the best spots. You can travel by boat as the local captains and tour guides show you where the best views of the whales are. Many licensed tour agencies can be found along the shore in Puerto Lopez and the trips normally last around 30-45 minutes and can cost as little as $20 per person. Since Puerto Lopez is located near Isla de la Plata, you can also take advantage of the island hopping tours. Many tour operators offer a no see/no pay guarantee as well.

Whale watching is an experience that you won’t want to miss out on. Puerto Lopez offers the best views of these amazing creatures. Hop on a whale watching tour and head out to see these animals that can reach up to 300,000 pounds.

Things to bring whale watching:

  • Binoculars – The whales are usually close enough to see, but you can see them even clearer with binoculars.
  • Rubber-soled shoes – A moving boat isn’t the best place to wear your finest shoes.  Make sure to wear rubber soles for better traction.
  • Warm Clothes or a blanket – You may want to bring your winter coat or blanket if your trip is in the colder months during spring or fall.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses – On a hot and sunny day you will want to have sunscreen and sunglasses on to beat the sun. The sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the glare off the water and will help you see the whales even better.
  • Camera – Don’t forget to snap some shots of these beautiful, stunning whales to show all of your friends and family.

To find out about more fun and exciting things to do in Puerto Lopez, visit our blog. At LIVETHELIFE, we can turn your dream home into a realitycontact us today to get started. We look forward to partnering with you on your new home in Puerto Lopez.

3 Fun Facts About the Beaches in Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez is a great spot for vacationing to some of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador. With some of the most beautiful sights in the world, Puerto Lopez attracts people from all over the world to its stunning beaches. Let’s take a look at four fun facts about the beaches in Puerto Lopez.

#1. Puerto Lopez Beach Has It All

Puerto LopezWhen you visit Puerto Lopez beach, you can visit the Machalilla National Park for boat tours to go whale watching or dive tours to Isla de Plata and Salango. The calm waters make for a great swimming and snorkeling spot for children and a few hostels have boards to rent for beginner surfers. There are also plenty of places to eat seafood near or on the beach.

With Puerto Lopez priding itself on being an eco-friendly city, many of the hotels use organic materials to maintain beautiful grounds while also protecting the environment. The fishermen in Puerto Lopez haul in the day’s catch around 6:00 am – 7:00 am every morning. You’ll certainly enjoy the culture and the beautiful sandy beaches shaded by tall palm trees.

#2. Salinas is Often Compared to South Beach

This beach in Puerto Lopez is often compared to South Beach in Miami, Florida. With its white sandy beaches and plenty of activities going on, you are sure to be entertained in this popular spot. There are restaurants, cafes and plenty of bars to grab a drink in.

Make sure to visit Banos de San Vicente for a famous thermal bath. This beach is one of the most popular spots for tourists to visit and there are always events happening on and around the beach for you to embed yourself into the local social scene.

#3. People Drive Their Cars Right Onto the Beach

Puerto Cayo is a large beach in the area in the front of the Malecon, located in a lush and tropical location with palm trees lining the beach. It can be found on the northern border of the Machalilla National Park. Puerto Cayo is so broad that people drive their cars right onto the beach to unload all of their beach supplies.

The waters are full of fish and many restaurants offer these “catches of the day” as specials on their menus. In front of this beach is the small island of Islote Pedernales, where some coral can be found. The water between the mainland and the island is not very deep. On calm days it is fun to snorkel and dive.

There is also a growing retirement community in this location and several beachfront developments are under construction Puerto Cayo. Puerto Cayo offers some of the most breathtaking ocean-view sunsets.

Take a look at our blog “Swimming – Living the Life in Ecuador” to find out more information on the beaches in Puerto Lopez. Be sure to contact us to discuss investment opportunities in the area and to get acquainted with all that Puerto Lopez has to offer you.

A Tour of Cuenca’s Culinary Delights

Cuenca is synonymous with stunning colonial architecture, colorful festivals, and artisanal goods. Food might not be one of the first things that enter your mind when you think of Ecuador’s third largest city, but the local dining scene is fast evolving – and the city’s gastronomic landscape is as fascinating as its storied past.

From fine dining restaurants in hotels to stylish sushi joints, a tour of the city’s culinary delights will leave you hankering for more.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

1. El Jardin at Hotel Victoria

Calle Larga y Presidente Borrero

One of Cuenca’s most iconic restaurants, El Jardin serves continental food using only fresh local ingredients. Their numerous offerings include everything from prawns and heart of palm to vegetarian plates and pastas. An attentive staff and a sophisticated interior puts it on par with the world’s top restaurants. 

2. Casa Alonso Restaurant at Mansion Alcazar 

Calle Bolivar 12-55 y Tarqui

Casa Alonso prides itself on being the only gourmet restaurant in Cuenca, offering Ecuadorian and international cuisine to satisfy both local and foreign diners. As far as menu, presentation, and ambience goes, eating here feels like dining at a fine restaurant in New York, Paris, or London.

3. Tiesto’s

Juan Jaramillo y Mariano Cueva 4-89

Cuencana and traditional fusion cuisine make up Tiesto’s bold menu. Food is prepared and served in traditional clay pots, while hand-decorated dessert dishes add a personal touch to your dining experience. Try the potato soup with avocado garnish, or the flavorful chicken curry.

4. La Quinua

Benigno Malo

Quinoa salad, potatoes Bombay, and gnocchi in tomato sauce are just some of the vegetarian offerings in this restaurant. The colorful interior exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere that you and your company will surely enjoy.

5. Good Affinity

Gran Colombia 1-89 y Capulies

Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike have professed their love for this Taiwanese restaurant, where the menu revolves around soy and wholesome produce. Hot noodles, chao fan, and spring rolls are served alongside local fare like fried plantains and corn patties.

Highly recommended are their affordable almuerzos, or lunches, that include soup, an entrée, and drinks. 

6. NOE

Padre Julio Matovelle 2-25 y Federico Proaño

Hailed as the leading Japanese-Ecuadorian restaurant in the scene, this trendy sushi joint is getting rave reviews left and right. Come here for expertly-cut sushi and sashimi, followed by fried ice cream and lemon cream for dessert. Every dish is a visual treat – the presentation is always exquisite. 

7. Moliendo Café

Honorato Vasquez 6-24 y Hermano Miguel

Sit down for a lovely meal at the city’s historic center. Moliendo Café offers the best of Colombian cuisine, from hearty arepas to simple but tasty empanadas. Wash it all down with some Colombian coffee and admire the décor, which includes photographs of other cities, different currencies, and wooden dioramas.

8. Mediterraneo

Honorato Vasquez 7-64 y Luis Cordero

If you find yourself longing for authentic Italian cuisine, this restaurant serves steaming plates of pasta, pizza, and risotto in the midst of historic Cuenca. Feast on freshly baked bread, flavorful dipping sauces, and sumptuous mushroom ravioli.

An attentive staff makes for a memorable dining experience, while generous portions will satisfy your craving for excellent food.

Ready to explore Cuenca’s food scene? Feel free toCall us at 239-848-5876 (USA), 098-316-0067 | 097-994-7640 (Ecuador) or send an email to

Ecuador’s Top Coastal Destinations – Montañita and Olón

With a coastline of over 2,200 km, Ecuador has no shortage of golden beaches and beautiful beach towns, among the most scenic of which are Montañita and Olón.

Just minutes away from each other, Montañita’s carefree hippie vibe will make you feel younger than your years, while Olón’s serene, low-key feel is ideal for families. At both, you can look forward to fine golden sand, warm waters, and friendly folk.


MontanitaBig waves, an unspoiled coastline, and an uninhibited environment await the traveler in this sunny town on the Santa Elena peninsula, about two hours away from Guayaquil’s busy port.

Montañita means “little hill” in English and the village is a surfer’s paradise and both beginners and professionals alike will enjoy the reliable surf. The waves are strong and consistent – they go as low as three feet in the summer, and up to six feet and a half between January and March.

Surfing not your thing? You’ll still have plenty to do in and around the area. Enjoy other water sports like scuba diving, jet skiing, windsurfing, and kite surfing.

Hike or ride a horse to two waterfalls – Cascasas de Alex and Cascasas de Dos Mangas – which are about eight to 10 kilometers from the beach. The Point, a mountain that lies between Montañita and neighboring Olón, is a challenging but fulfilling climb.

And let’s not forget the lively party scene. Dance clubs blast techno all night long, while DJs spin house music at beach parties. It’s a wonderful place to meet all sorts of people, including surfers who come to town for international competitions, and a sizeable expat community primarily composed of Australians, Canadians, and Americans.


While it’s just a few kilometers away from the reggae-flavored energy of Montañita, life in Olón is low-key and unhurried. If you want to slow down and get back to basics, then this idyllic town is for you. The village is largely undeveloped, and brings you closer to Ecuador’s natural beauty and the simplicity of beachside living.

Here you’ll find a small but eclectic number of bungalows, hostels, and restaurants. A boardwalk with a charming red brick esplanade is perfect for leisurely beach walks.

Ride the waves, go for a refreshing swim, or hike to nearby waterfalls – the possibilities for water sports and relaxation are endless. Olón is tucked against the Cordillera Chongón-Colonche mountain range, with the cloud forest just minutes away from the beach. Here, you can easily switch from surfing to catching a rare glimpse of the endangered great green macaw in its sylvan habitat.

Now and then you’ll be treated to the stunning sight of humpback whales or wild horses galloping on the beach.

Montañita and Olón Real Estate

These coastal towns’ real estate options include oceanfront condos, single-family homes, and parcels of land. Housing remains quite affordable and you can choose from basic cottages to homes that have all the modern comforts and conveniences.

Whether you want to enjoy the bohemian vibe of Montañita or the more low-key joys of Olón, we’ll help you make the most of your stay. Call us at 239-848-5876 (USA), 098-316-0067 | 097-994-7640 (Ecuador) or send an email to

Top Ecuadorian Amazon Jungle Lodges

A stay in Ecuador’s jungle lodges is one of the most thrilling ways to experience the rainforest’s living attractions. Here are some of the best:

Napo Wildlife Center

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

This popular ecological reserve owned by the indigenous Anangu community is dubbed as the ultimate alternative luxury eco hotel in Amazonian Ecuador.

Located in the Yasuni National Park at the edge of Anangucocha Lake, Napo Wildlife Center offers maximum privacy and stunning views of the lake and jungle. There are 10 luxury cabanas with private bathrooms. The wealth of flora and fauna is amazing.

Activities include guided tours and parrot clay licks, natural clay walls teeming with squawking parrots and macaws that feed on the walls as a way to combat the toxins found in the seeds they eat.

There’s more information here.

Sani Lodge

This community-run eco lodge is tucked into an oxbow lake in a tributary of Rio Napo. It accommodates 38 guests and opens the door to a truly personal way of experiencing the Amazon forest.

Get to be in the midst of 1,500 species of trees, climbing vines, exotic blooms, tropical birds, monkeys, and butterflies. Stay in a campsite within touching distance of your lodge or cabin. Go bird watching, walk through guided trail hikes, and get to know the Sani community and the indigenous Kichwa people.

Visit their website for more information.

Sacha Lodge

This prime destination for bird watchers covers 5,000 acres of private ecological land.

Lodgings are designed for utmost comfort and offer excellent opportunities to spot wildlife. Don’t be surprised to find capybaras resting on your hammock. Capybaras are giant guinea pig-like rodents who spend their time near lakes and rivers and are sometimes brought home as pets.

Activities include guided tours, bird watching, a visit to one of the largest butterfly farms in Ecuador, and a trip to the 940-foot-long canopy walk hanging 94 feet from the ground.

Visit their website for more information.

If you’d like to start off on an exciting adventure to the Ecuador Amazon Basin, check this out.

The Serene Beauty of El Cajas’ Majestic Landscapes

You haven’t experienced Ecuador if you don’t visit the immensely beautiful mountain landscapes of El Cajas National Park.

This soothing refuge about 20 miles from Cuenca, is a perfect sanctuary for body and soul.

All you need do is flag down a bus that takes you from Cuenca to El Cajas in an hour or so at the highly-affordable price of $2 per person.

This gateway to all things natural and breathtaking is guaranteed to take your worldly cares away and refresh your spirit.

High on the tundra

slide3The best way to experience this one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure is by taking a guided tour that costs only$100 per person. The tour usually takes four hours, three of them devoted to hiking. Be prepared for pleasant surprises, as weather conditions may vary and extend the time you spend admiring this must-see place 12,000 feet above sea level.

Captivating views await you at every turn, so have your camera ready.

Waterproof clothing and boots are also essential, as the weather can change any time.

First aid supplies and the ever-present park rangers assure your safety throughout the tour.

And since all that waking and hiking will make you hungry, the tour includes a delicious meal for free in a cozy restaurant nearby.

Those who want to spend the night gazing at the shimmering sea of stars can always do so because El Cajas also offers overnight tours at $250 per person.

It does get chilly, so be sure to pack layers and layers of extra clothes and a blanket to keep you warm. The jaw-dropping view of the sunset through El Cajas’ valleys, however, will warm your spirits until the light of day kisses you awake.

You’ll even get a chance to see the Inca ruins.

You don’t want to miss this experience of a lifetime, do you?

Searching for more adventures in Ecuador? Head on over to our Services Page and find out more about other exciting things you can do in this exciting country.

On the Hook: A Guide to Deep-Sea Fishing in Manta and Salinas

Deep Sea FishingThe coastline of Ecuador holds a wealth of potential for fishing enthusiasts. While other fishing spots across the globe get more press and love from devout anglers, Ecuadorian waters can boast just as much diversity and challenge when it comes to deep-sea fishing. The waters off Salinas and Manta, in particular, offer unique opportunities for everyone from novices to expert anglers to hook the catch of a lifetime.

What to Bring

There are several charter operations in the area and their boats are usually fully equipped so you won’t have to think about bringing your gear.If you’d prefer to strike out on your own, however, and/or you’re attached to your tackle, here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Fishing Rods

Opt for a graphite rod, especially if you are a first timer. This rod is often lighter and sturdier, albeit more expensive than a fiberglass rod. The rod should be at least six to eight feet long and strong enough to withstand pressure from gaming fish like giant halibut and marlin.

    • Saltwater Fishing Reel

Try to use a reel that is made of aluminum and that is easy to cast. A spinning reel is a good choice for sea and ocean fishing as it can cast a long way. Also opt for a reel that is resistant to the ocean water’s corrosive effects.

    • Fishing Line and Hook

They make up the most essential part of the rod. Choose a line that is heavy and able to carry at least three pounds of fish without breaking. For the hook, opt for either a high carbon make or a stainless steel one. The choice of the hook’s size will depend on the size of the fish you want to catch. The bigger the hook, the bigger the fish.

The Catch

    • Blue marlin

This is the top prize foray deep-sea angler. Able to reach up to 1000 pounds, the great blue marlin is the ultimate test of skill and strategy. Many world-record-worthy blue marlin can be found in the waters of Salinas and Manta.

    • Dorado

Also called “dolphin fish” and “mahi-mahi,” the dorado is a worthy catch. Noted for its speed and its power, the dorado is also supremely delicious.

    • Yellowfin tuna

The yellow fin is another prize catch and perhaps one of the most recognizable. Be prepared for a long struggle as yellowfin tuna are noted for their strength and stamina in the water.

Kite Surfing Southwest of Manta

The port city of Manta is the fifth-largest city in Ecuador, and one of the largest cities in the province of Manabi. The city is famous for being an important hub for the country’s fishing and tuna-processing industries. It is also an attractive tourist spot due to its vibrant nightlife and close proximity to the handicraft town of Montecristi.

kitesurfingAdditionally, Manta is increasingly becoming a popular jump-off point for outdoor enthusiasts heading to Santa Marianita Beach, a world-class spot for kite surfing/kite boarding.

The perfect kite surfing destination

Because of its fantastic conditions for kite surfing, Santa Marianita Beach is recognized as one of the best beaches in the entire world for the sport.

The beach boasts an extended windy season that stretches from May to December, with wind speeds that average 14 to 25 knots. The 5km sandy beach combined with side-onshore wind direction and one to two-meter waves makes Santa Marianita Beach a safe and enjoyable location for beginners as well as experienced pros.

Kite surfers in Santa Marianita Beach typically use kites that measure 9m to 12m. The perfect time to kite surf is usually around noon, with the wind gradually increasing towards mid-afternoon. Kite surfers can enjoy consistent, calm wind conditions with no gusts that can last until 5pm.

More experienced kite surfing enthusiasts can choose to schedule their trip during November to January, as bigger waves that can reach up to three meters start to come in.

Other activities in Santa Marianita

  • Visitors can drop by the nearby town of Montecristi to shop for handmade crafts and other great souvenir items. Montecristi is the town where the famous Panama hats are made.
  • Surfing is a popular activity in other beaches south of Santa Marianita. Tourists can also experience whale watching at some of the beaches from June to October.
  • The Machalilla National Park in Puerto Lopez is easily accessible from Santa Marianita. Here, many tourists can enjoy activities like snorkeling, whale watching, and hiking.

If you’d like to find out more about Santa Marianita Beach and other superb kite surfing destinations in Ecuador, get in touch with Torrin Brauch at 239-848-5876 (US) or 097-994-7640(Ecuador). You can also send him an email at