Ranked as the most beautiful beach in Ecuador, Playa Los Frailes (or Los Frailes Beach) is like being in the Caribbean Islands, without the price tag or the crowds. It is one of the few beaches in Ecuador that has crystal, clear blue water and white sandy beaches making it the perfect beach to escape to for the day.
Los Frailes is a protected beach within Machalilla National Park and is about 30 minutes from Ayampe by bus or taxi. Los Frailes is a crescent shaped beach with cliffs on both sides making it an ideal location for snorkeling or diving, or simply sun-bathing and swimming. The ocean is normally calm and free of waves, even if there is a large swell that hits the Ecuadorian coast.
“Mirador Las Fragatas”
From Los Frailes beach, you can hike up to the mirador (or lookout point) that gives you 360 degree views of Los Frailes beach, the mountains of Machalilla National Park, and two additional secluded beaches north of Los Frailes. The hiking trail begins where the northern cliffs are located and you will see a sign that says “Mirador Las Fragatas”. Climb up the trail all the way to the top and you will arrive to breathtaking ocean views!
The mirador also makes for one of the best (and free!) locations for whale watching between June – September. The mirador trail takes about 5-15 minutes depending on how fast or slow you hike up. If you are keen for some more hiking, there is an additional trail that you can take to continue towards the two secluded beaches. There are not too many shady spots at Los Frailes beach, so be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lots of water. If you don´t have an umbrella, you can rent umbrellas at the beach.
La Casa long-term hostel Tips:
• The beach is only open between 8 am and 4 pm and the entrance is free
• When you enter the beach, you will need to register, so the security will ask for your name and passport number
• No smoking is allowed due to fire hazards
• There are public bathrooms and showers
• There are no restaurants at this beach, so it is fantastic idea to have a picnic day in Los Frailes!
• If you want to feel like you have your own private beach, plan to go on a weekday.
Please practice the “Leave No Trace Policy”, but…
If you take anything, take photos.
If you leave anything, leave footprints.
Together we can preserve our planet for generations to enjoy.