The Isla de la Plata Port in Ecuador is often touted as the "poor man's Galapagos," in that cruisers can experience all the nature and beauty of the Galapagos Islands but at a fraction of the cost. It's often a day trip for many people. It's located 17 miles off the coast of Ecuador, boasting many of the same species calling it home as the larger island chain. Isla de la Plata, or Silver Island, was so dubbed after Sir Francis Drake buried treasure there many moons ago.
The Isla de la Plata cruise port allows visitors access to an unspoiled island boasting lots of marine and wildlife, from humpback whales to blue footed boobies to albatross. This scenic island offers a natural beauty that comes with a serene landscape, treating visitors to rare birds, sea lions, and other creatures. It's best experienced as a small part of a bigger trip, only requiring a day or so to discover.
There's really no shopping on Isla de la Plata to speak of. You'll have to head to nearby Puerto Lopez for that. This is the best place to sign up for tours to Isla de la Plata as well. However, this town is not a major tourist destination either, but it does have some decent shops and restaurants to check out. Standard small shops and stalls can be found here selling local trinkets and souvenirs, but you won't find any major malls boasting chain stores. That's just fine, because the man attractions are in Isla de la Plata and its natural offerings.
Things to See
Bird watching, whale watching, hiking, and snorkeling are your primary recreation options. You can book these tours and more either on your cruise ship before disembarking on your Isla de la Plata port of call, or in Puerto Lopez. As part of the Parque Nacional Machalilla, Isla de la Plata is known for its natural beauties, found in its landscape and its wildlife. Take a bird watching tour to spot rare birds like the red-footed booby or a coastal tour to see South American sea lions and Pantropical spotted dolphins. You really can't go wrong with any nature tour here, as they will all astound you.
Restaurants and Bars
Just as there is no shopping on Silver Island, there is really no nightlife here either, which is no surprise. For bars and restaurants, you'll need to head to the main town of Puerto Lopez. There, you'll find more mainstream happenings in the way of cuisine. Patacon Pisa'o is a Columbian restaurant serving up large portions of tasty food. This clean establishment attracts many visitors for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In Malecón Julio Izurieta, try Cafe Ballena for traditional Ecuadorian food. The breakfast is especially good, particularly the fresh banana bread and pancakes. Its open-air balcony provides a great atmosphere for dining.
Isla de la Plata is inviting for its scenic coastal waters and wildlife, giving cruisers a rare glimpse at nature in its purest form.