The land part of the park is about 40,000 ha and includes, in addition to about 50 km of beach, an inland hilly country with dry tropical forest with shrubs, cacti and kapok trees. In the rainy season and especially when the Niño rains fall, the landscape quickly changes from yellow-gray to bright green. It is then humid and very hot.
Nearly 20,000 has its marine reserve and, in addition to the coastal strip with beautiful beaches (such as Los Frailes), also some islands off the coast, such as Isla Salango and the famous Isla de la Plata, which rightfully bears the name Little Galapagos. Blue-footed, masked and red-footed boobies nest on the island (25 km off the coast). Frigate birds, tropic birds and a few pairs of Galapagosalbatrosses also breed there. A small colony of sea lions lives on the beaches below the island’s cliffs.
The best base for a visit to Machalilla is the town of Puerto Lopez. This is also the park’s administrative center, where you can buy tickets and find maps and other information about the park.
In the period July-August you have a good chance of seeing the 15 meter long humpback whales leaping out of the water.