Isla de la Plata

The Isla is named after the silver that Sir Francis Drake allegedly stole from the Spanish and buried there. To this day it’s not been recovered but there’s no harm in looking. Even if you don’t find hidden treasures it’s well worth a visit. The Isla is generally considered to be a cheaper alternative to Galapagos and is home to various must-see birds including frigates with big red pouches on their necks, boobies with blue feet, boobies with red feet, masked boobies, pelicans and a small nesting colony of waved albatrosses. There’s also a resident group of sea lions.

The Isla is also a top spot for whale-watching, one of the primary sites in Ecuador for our large blubbery friends. Humpback whales cruise in from the Antarctic between June and September to enjoy the warm Pacific waters. This time of year is mating season and the whales can be heard serenading and chatting to each other as they pair up. Despite being a favourite prey of whalers for centuries, humpbacks aren’t particularly timid and if you’re lucky you’ll get a close up view

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