Los Frailes Beach

Tucked along the shoreline of Ecuador’s Machililia National Park, you’ll have to hike to find Los Frailes Beach. First, you’ll pass a few smaller beaches, nestled against shrubland and large, rolling hills. But eventually, the shoreline opens up to Los Frailes — a national pride for the country with sugar-white sands that feel like flour between your toes. The pristine blue waters invite you in for a swim — but head here on the weekday to avoid the local crowds who can’t get enough of this beach on the weekends.

Getting there

Take a flight to the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Los Frailes is located in Machalilla within the National Park, 12 miles from Puerto Lopez. On arriving in Puerto Lopez take public transport to be dropped off at the beach where you’ll find a footpath that leads directly to Los Frailes in thirty minutes (the left fork). Or you can follow a four kilometre circular trail (the right fork) via the tiny black-sand cove known as La Playita, followed by Playa La Tortuguita, where spiky rocks rise from the turquoise waters. From La Tortuguita continue on the main footpath to Los Frailes.