Isla de la Plata is a small island only about 40 km off the coast of Ecuador. I’ve been on these tours before – you choose the bird watching option, the snorkeling option, the hiking option or the whale watching option. But here in Ecuador, we get to do all four for the price of one!
The boat ride was fast and fairly smooth seeing how we were in open seas and no sooner had the guide told us to keep an eye out for whales than a big tale came up beside us!
Soon we were right in the middle of a pod with several males breaching at the same time. I tightened my life vest, grabbed hold of a bar and looked around for my wife who seemed perfectly happy to see a 60,000 pound animal smashing into the water, closer, and closer! The tour guide also took a very care-free approach to the situation and didn’t even flinch as the boat rocked from the wake of a close breach.
The engines fired up and soon we were off for some more fun. As we pulled up to the island it was apparent why it was called “Island of Silver.” No, we didn’t find the legendary buried silver of Francis Drake. The island is actually a silver color because of the birds who deposit salt from their desalination glands all over the rocks. The rocks also had a bit of a blue color to them too. And when we got a little closer – we saw flocks of blue-footed boobies!
We hiked around the island for a few hours and saw mating rituals, medicinal trees (palo santo & dragons blood) and more wildlife than a National Geographic documentary. Between the snorkeling and beautiful coral reefs, the crystal clear waters and friendly people, I felt lucky to be there. Isla de la Plata is often referred to as the Poor Man’s Galapagos, but, because of the growing expense to venture to the Galapagos, to me, it’s the Smart Man’s Galapagos.
Below are some amazing images I captured from our trip. Don’t forget to check our News section for more amazing posts.
By David Suhay
Future Las Olas resident