The Only Guide You Need for Playa Los Frailes

During my travels along the coast of Ecuador, I came across the name of Los Frailes. Playa Los Frailes is basically a beach located in Machalilla National Park, and it is said to be one of the best beaches in Ecuador. This beach, however, seems to be very much underrated. So, I’m here to basically give you more information on Playa Los Frailes and how to get there.

Things to remember before going:
  • The park opens at 8AM until around 4PM. Go early to avoid the heat and the crowd!
  • Bring water, sunscreen, a hat, and some snacks. Don’t forget your camera!
  • More people visit on the weekends.
  • There is no shade at the beach but you can rent some umbrellas on the parking lot. There are bathrooms and ice cream stands as well there.
Starting point: Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez was the small town that I stayed in. Beautiful is not the word I would use to describe this town, but it is a nice place to see a local fisherman town. Anyways, if you stay in Puerto Lopez like I did and want to get to Playa Los Frailes, you will need to take a motor taxi (tuk-tuk) to the terminal. It will cost $1. Once you get there, you can ask which buses pass through Los Frailes. If you don’t speak Spanish, just say “a Los Frailes”, and people will point which bus you need to take. The bus ride will cost 50 cents and it is a 10-15 minute ride.

The bus will drop you off at the entrance of the park. However, in my case, it kinda dropped me off a bit far from the entrance that I had to take another motor taxi. To be fair, I was kinda early and maybe since the park wasn’t open yet (opens at 8am), I was dropped in town instead.

Getting to Playa Los Frailes
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Second beach: La Tortuguita

Once you are already at the park, you will need to enter your information (name, origin, etc.), but there is no entrance fee. There are 2 ways to get to Playa Los Frailes: take a tuk-tuk directly there from the entrance or hike. I talked to one of the staff and he recommended that I hike my way there and take a tuk-tuk back. So that’s what I did.

The hiking trail is not so bad if you are used to hiking. Note that even if you are going to the beach, it is better to use shoes if you are going to hike rather than flip flops. During your hike, you will pass 2 beaches: La Prieta and La Tortuguita. I wasn’t recommended to swim there, so I won’t encourage you here. You will also pass a few miradores (viewpoints) where you can get a really beautiful shot from the top of the cliffs.

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The sign to the trail at La Tortuguita

Note: When I reached Tortuguita, I didn’t turn back to the original road. I just walked along the beach to the other side until I reached the sign that said “sendero natural” (natural trail) and mirador, like the photo above.

Swim in Playa Los Frailes
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Playa Los Frailes in the morning

When you get to Playa Los Frailes, you will understand why this beach is a really worth-it beach to visit, especially if you got there in morning. I was there around 8 and I finished my hike an hour after, so I basically had the beach to myself. Once you get there, feel free to read a book, swim, take pictures, etc. When you are ready to leave, head to the other side where the other entrance is and simply wait for a motortaxi to come by. You can ask them to take you to the entrance for cheap as well (bargain if you need).

Playa Los Frailes is definitely budget-friendly

So, there you have it! Now that you know how to get there, it’s time to head to Playa Los Frailes. Honestly, I really enjoyed my time here; it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip and it was super budget-friendly, which is important for a student traveler like me! I hope you make it there and of course, happy travels 🙂



P.S.: Are there any pristine beaches that you would recommend? Comment below!

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  1. Look so relaxing~~it’s so great that can read at such a beautiful beach.???and love tuk-tuk. So convenient for such a lazy person like me~~???

    1. Yes, I hope you do too! Let me know if you have any questions about Ecuador. I went to the Galapagos as well. You should go! There is a way to do it on a budget 😉

  2. Wow, these photos look gorgeous! I really appreciated your practical tips, down to bus cost and length! Nothing irks me more than reading about an amazing place and then having to do another lengthy search to figure out how to manage going there, haha. Underrated and remote beaches are definitely my scene. If I ever make it to Ecuador I’m keeping this one in mind. Cheers! =)

  3. Looks like a nice hike along the beach. The views at the top are stunning. Then having the day at the beach at the end is a bonus. Think I would do it your way too by taking the tuk-tuk on the way back.

    1. That’s too bad 🙁 I hope one day you can make it back here. I’ve heard a lot of things about Canoa! I didn’t have the chance to visit unfortunately.

  4. Los Frailes looks absolutely stunning. Endless stretches of beach without a soul on them are a true form of paradise. Its really good to know that there isn’t shade out there and its easy to find a tuktuk on the way back. I would totally hike there and hitch a ride back just like you did. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great to have some quick and easy tips for places such as these. Always a great recommendation to get people to wear shoes! I honestly can’t believe how many people hike on trails in flip flops. Gorgeous looking place and definitely somewhere worth a visit.

    1. Some brought snorkel goggles so there might be some fish in there. There wasn’t a place to rent them nearby though, so I assume people go to swim and hike.

  6. It looks like a lovely beach! I love a little hike, and what a way to reward yourself for a workout than an ocean swim. I’ll try to find this on my travels, thanks for sharing!

  7. It sounds like a great place. Despite being in South America 4 times I have always missed Ecuador. I will visit next year though so I will add this place to my list 🙂

  8. Awesome! I’ll check out your other content about Ecuador as well! I’ll be going to Galapagos soon, and add another trip in June to mainland Ecuador as well! Can’t wait! It’s going to be so exciting!

  9. Looks like such a peaceful beach. I had never heard of it until now. Love the photos. I also love how honest you are about your experiences. Really authentic.

  10. Thanks a lot for being my mentor on this issue. My spouse and i enjoyed your article very much and most of all liked how you really handled the aspect I widely known as controversial. You happen to be always incredibly kind to readers really like me and assist me in my life. Thank you.

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