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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.


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.

Getting around in Ecuador

Get out of the comfort zone of your place in Ecuador and experience the outside world.

By bus

One of the cheapest ways of getting around Ecuador is to take the local bus, which also offers you a slice of local life.

Larger cities like Quito offer an extensive bus service that will take you to your desired destination. In Quito, for example, the “trolebus,” a trolley-like bus that runs on separate tracks, will take you around the city. Other types of buses in Ecuador include the busetas (22-seater and the fastest choice) and the autobus, its more comfortable and air-conditioned sister. For long distance travel, take the autobus de lujoor luxury bus, which leaves regularly, day and night. Just don’t forget to book your ticket before your trip.

By train

In contrast to Ecuador’s extensive bus services, train travel in the country is very limited. The most functional train that you can take is from Quito to El Boliche, but if you’re feeling adventurous, take the route called the “Devil’s Nose,” which will take you from Riobamba to Sibambe. You can also take the train and travel in the northern highlands via the Ibarra to Primer Paso route.

Although train travel in Ecuador is limited, train rides in this tropical paradise are a real treat.

Getting Around

By taxi

In most Ecuadorian towns, you’ll find yellow taxis that will take you to your desired destination. Most of these cabs operate on a fixed-fare system, though, while Quito has metered taxis. Fare usually costs around $1 – not bad, but don’t be afraid to haggle especially if you’re traveling longer distances.

By air

If you want to avoid Ecuador’s serpentine road network, take an airplane – it’s quick, convenient, and rather inexpensive. Up above on a clear day, you can enjoy unobstructed views of volcanoes and rainforests. Domestic carriers in the country include Icaro, VIP, Aerogal, and TAME. Meanwhile, local charters and small-scale companies operate on the coast and in the Oriente region.

If you want to know more about transportation in Ecuador, even to the roads less travelled, check out this great article by Rough Guides.

If you ever need assistance in travelling around Ecuador, don’t hesitate to contact us at We provide airport transfers as well as auto purchases. See you in paradise!

Money matters

EcuadorAll good things in life are free, some say, but you can’t deny the fact that you have to spend some money here and there to enjoy little luxuries and attractions. When it comes to money in Ecuador, here are some things you need to keep in mind.

1. Ecuador’s official currency is the U.S. dollar. 15 years ago, Ecuador underwent a dollarization process which resulted to the elimination of the sucre.

2. ATMS are usually found at major banks, larger cities, airports, malls, and luxury hotels. However, a word of caution. In Ecuador, ATMs are usually offline more frequently compared to machines in other countries. Charges on withdrawals from foreign banks can be quite expensive, as well.

3. Carry some bills, but don’t forget your ATM card. Confirm with your bank to make sure your ATM card/s will work in Ecuador. Cash transactions are easiest, but if ever you run out of bills, you don’t need to worry. All you need to do is head to the nearest ATM to withdraw cash.

Always bring with you 1, 5, 10, and 20 dollar bills as they’re easier to accept than larger bills, even in banks.

4. Change your foreign currencies in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. While you’re in Cuenca, Quito, and Guayaquil, take advantage of its variety of banks and other facilities and have your foreign currency changed. Once you go out of these cities, it will be harder to spot a casas de cambioor money changing houses, as well as money transfer facilities.

Most banks in the cities are open Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 6 pm. Some banks in Quito and Guayaquil, however, stay open until 8 pm. Meanwhile, casas de cambioare open on weekdays, from 9 am to 6pm.

5. Diner’s Club is the most widely accepted credit card in Ecuador, but you can still use your card from American Express, VISA, and Mastercard. Before you get on the plane to Ecuador, consider raising the limit on your cards in case of emergencies.

Got any questions? Email me at See you in paradise!

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.

The artisans of Cuenca, Gualaceo, and other towns in Ecuador

Along with the world-class organic goods Ecuador exports throughout the globe, the country also boasts exquisite art, apparel, and other products handcrafted by many skilled indigenous artisans.

Ecuadorian artisans have mastered their craft over the past 200 years or more, passing down their skills and knowledge to succeeding generations. Many of the traditional methods practiced in the past are still used to this day.

Tourist guides and travel books will point you to the direction of Plaza de los Ponchos in Otovalo if you’re looking for the finest artisan products, but this isn’t the only place where you can find unique crafts…


Ecuador ArtisansIn Cuenca, you can find a number of craft shops along Gran Colombia and Benigno Malo Street selling artwork and souvenir items that include carvings, ceramics, basketwork, jewelry, embroidered apparel, painted wood, and woven accessories. Visitors can also shop for unique leather items in the stores along Simón Bolivar, the street parallel to Gran Colombia.


The charming rural village of Gualaceo is known for producing fine artisan crafts. The town is home to two well-known markets that produce a variety of beautiful handcrafted products. Drop by the textile shops and observe the artisans’ expert use of the back strap loom and horizontal loom. You can also see them use a Hispanic technique known as “Ikat” to create shawls, ponchos, rugs, and scarves.

San Bartolome

Head to San Bartolome, a town located below the majestic Andes Mountains. In addition to the marvelous views, you’ll get to see the unique process used by talented artisans to create guitars.


The town of Chordeleg is known throughout the country for producing elaborate ceramic, gold, and silver jewelry. The local artisans are experts in filigree work made out of gold and silver threads.

If in you’re interested in discovering more about Ecuador’s skilled artisans, LIVETHELIFE is more than happy to provide you with more information. Get in touch with Torrin Brauch at 239-848-5876 (US) or 097-994-7640 (Ecuador). You can also send him an email at

The relaxing hot springs of Baños de Cuenca

One of the many attractions in Ecuador includes the country’s abundance of natural hot springs. One small town in particular is known for having the hottest, most rejuvenating natural hot springs – the town of Baños de Cuenca, which is conveniently located a few minutes from Cuenca, Ecuador’s third-largest city.

The town is located at the foot of a mountain where warm mineral water flows through to the valley. Sensing a great opportunity to attract tourists, the town’s residents took advantage of the natural resource by building spas and mineral spring parks where people can relax and enjoy bathing in the warm mineral pools.

A few of the mineral spring parks are perfect for families with small children, as the pools are completely natural, with no chlorine or other chemicals added to the water.

Benefits of natural mineral spring water

There are many healing effects that come from bathing in natural mineral spring water. Simply inhaling its vapors is already an effective treatment for those with asthma, allergies, sinus problems, or other respiratory conditions.

As the water flows through underground canals, it absorbs minerals such as calcium, sulfur, iron, magnesium, and others. Waters rich in minerals are known to be good for health issues like arthritis, joint and muscle pain, heart and circulatory diseases, and other physical ailments.

Piedra de Agua

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

One of the most popular thermal spas in Baños is Piedra de Agua, a well-designed venue that offers a range of services and relaxation amenities.

The spa boasts several top-notch features which include:

  • Thermal pools
  • Underground thermas
  • Massage caves
  • Steam baths
  • Music therapy caves
  • Relaxation terraces
  • Volcanic mud pools
  • Japanese pools
  • Skin treatments

Visit Piedra de Agua’s official website for more information.

If you’re interested in visiting the mineral spring parks and spas at Baños de Cuenca, LIVETHELIFE can gladly help plan and schedule a trip for you. Simply get in touch with Torrin Brauch at 239-848-5876 (US) or 097-994-7640 (Ecuador). You can also send him an email at

The Best Accommodations in Puerto Lopez

Finding the right accommodations is every traveler’s concern. While you are off enjoying the sun-kissed beach or snorkeling in the sapphire waters of the Pacific, you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a safe and comfortable place to stay at the end of the day. In the sleepy and rustically charming town of Puerto López, travelers will find many accommodation options.

Popular among tourists, especially during whale watching season, Puerto López has numerous options that range from cozy inns to luxurious hotels. Whatever your preference, you will surely find a great place to stay in Puerto Lopez:

    • Victor Hugo Hotel

Victor HugoThis waterfront hotel features wood and brick details with open balconies so you can better appreciate the view. Accommodations at the Victor Hugo Hotel are designed to cater to a wide range of people from solo backpackers to newlyweds on their honeymoon.

The rooms feature rustic wooden furnishing and are equipped with private bathrooms with heated showers. The Victor Hugo Hotel is also conveniently located to Puerto López’s primary attractions such as the Salango Beach, Frailes Beach, and Tunas Beach. This is the perfect accommodation for travelers who want to make the most of the area’s sights and attractions.

    • Piedra Del Mar Hotel Boutique

The Piedra Del Mar Hotel Boutique is a trendy hotel located just walking distance from the beach. It is also located very close to Puerto López’s various points of interest from shops to restaurants. Its architectural sensibilities are a melding of trendy design and comfort. The accommodations range from single-bed rooms to family suites. Each room has its own bathroom with heated showers.

    • Hotel Pacifico

Hotel Pacifico has been serving tourists and locals alike for the past 30 years. It boasts an oceanfront restaurant, beautifully appointed rooms, and friendly and expert service. Over the years, Hotel Pacifico has evolved with the changing times. It has undergone several renovations over the years to better serve their guests.

    • Hostería Cabanas Itapoa

Hostería Cabanas Itapoa offers guests a truly laid-back experience while in Puerto López. It operates froma charming house with lush gardens where visitors can choose from cozy rooms to spacious bungalows. Hostería Cabanas Itapoahas a distinctly relaxed vibe, with hammocks and a great view of the beach.

Benefits of living in Lentag, Ecuador

The small town of Lentag is often overlooked by tourists looking for mainstream thrills, but very well-loved among travelers in the know of the best, hidden Ecuadorian secrets. Here are some reasons why Lentag will make you fall in love and even make you want to stay forever.

1. Lentag is blessed with a perfect climate.
You can fulfill your dreams of living in a tropical paradise in Lentag, a place that enjoys hot summers, cozy rainy weather, and a pleasantly mild climate all year round. The climate in Lentag is classified under the Köppen climate classification system as tropical moist, which allows its local flora to bloom and grow beautifully. Annual precipitation can reach up to 530 mm but just think of the heavens watering the bounties of Lentag. You’ll benefit from it.


Lentag is a perfect place to find yourself and reconnect with the world.

2. A lush, tropical landscape.
If you want to “eat, pray, and love,” Lentag is a perfect place to find yourself and reconnect with the world. Its lush, tropical setting surrounded by the slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes provides a backdrop that is perfect for meditation and relaxation. If you’re itching for adventure, however, the next item will excite you.

3. There are plenty of recreational opportunities.
Whether you’re interested in extreme sports or cultural and artistic endeavors, living in Lentag lets you live in close proximity to such recreational opportunities.

Parque Extremo is a favorite among vehicle sports enthusiasts. Ride like a pro, whether you’re into F1, rallying, or motor cross. The town of Giron is also a short drive away – the place is popular for the El Chorro waterfalls. The cultural center of Cuenca is located farther up north, but a trip worth taking. San Fernando’s scenic Laguna de Busa is located west of Lentag.

Biking is also a popular activity in Lentag – the town is home to a network of trails that can accommodate bikers of all skill levels. Hiking is also another recreational pastime in the area.

4. A slower pace of life.
Basically, Lentag offers an opportunity for expats as well as travelers to enjoy a slower pace of life in Ecuador. Its warm and friendly people, delectable local fares, and scenic beauty make it an ideal place where you can enjoy the simple things in life to the fullest.