We had originally planned to head straight to Peru after our week in the Galapagos Islands, but on a last-minute whim we changed our minds and decided to go whale watching first.
We had met a couple of people during our travels who had suggested Puerto Lopez as a prime viewing area, and with the whale season running from June until the end of September we hoped to have a good chance at a sighting.
Our flight from Baltra landed at Guayaquil airport a little after 3pm and we headed straight out to the bus terminal, located a short 10 minutes’ walk away. Luckily we were able to catch the last bus going out at 4.30pm.
At 8.30pm we finally arrived on the main road in Puerto Lopez with no idea as to where to go next. For the first time in my life I was actually grateful to the street hagglers you get when you get off a bus. After a quick chat with a tuk-tuk driver we were off to look for hostels. The deal was we could look at 3 places for a $1, fair price we thought. In the end we settled on Plaza Real, just 2 blocks from the beach.
The same evening we managed to book ourselves for the 2 hour whale watching tour the following morning. After negotiating we managed to get the tour for $15 per person. The tour basically consisted of driving around the bay in a small yacht looking for whales. From the launch off point on the beach you can see the numerous tour boats all heading out.
For the first hour we didn’t see anything and were starting to feel like we might end up not seeing any whales. Then as we changed course we suddenly started to see them, at first just surfacing out of the water, but then to our amazement one jumped out of the water!
It was a truly amazing experience and we were glad we took the detour. Puerto Lopez itself also turned out to be a nice place to relax, with restaurants and bars along the beach and at reasonable prices too. And at night the whole beach would come to life with bars playing music and selling cocktails.
Puerto Lopez turned out to be a great little place to spend a couple of days eating good food and enjoying a beach nightlife, and we were glad of the last minute detour.