Isla de la Plata is also nicknamed ‘the poor person’s Galapagos’. The Galapagos Islands are a series of islands off Ecuador out in the middle of the Pacific known well for the world’s most endemic species (a species unique to only that geographic location). It is apparently stunningly beautiful, and many people come just for a visit there alone. It is very expensive though to fly there and then to take a week cruise. Hence why, I am writing about the ‘poor person’s Galapagos’, my day out to Isla de la Plata. It would have to do and it most certainly did.
Visiting the island is a favourite tourist activity to explore while in Puerto Lopez. It is a small island 44km off the coast of Puerto Lopez, just over an hour boat ride. It is part of the protected Parque Nacional Machalila.
The only way to explore this wee island of 5 square kilometres is on a day tour of about 6 hours. The island holds a large diversity of animals, particularly birds, especially boobys. They are not afraid of you, unless you get really close.
Blue-footed boobys scatter the island and are a common sight. This time of the year, many young were around, some only a few days old. It was an incredible sight. The female booby actually have several male booby partners, and only two young are raised at a time, meaning sometimes an egg or two must be eliminated. There were also serveral Nazca boobys, some with their young.
On our two hour hike amidst the island, we were lucky to also spot the more rare red-footed boobys. And I was fortunate enough to catch her flying by.
Once back in the boat, we had lunch, and were graced by the presence of two turtles, prehistoric looking. They were magnificent. The tour included snorkeling at a coral reef. There were lots of fish, small, large, and bright and the sky cleared just enough for the sun to shine through the ocean’s water. Then the way home, we scored again and spotted two large pantropical spotted dolphins. It was an enjoyable little adventure. Nice to be in the middle of the sea for a change.