North of Puerto Lopez along the Ruta del Sol is a community called Pacoche. In Pacoche is an Ecuadorean park called Paseo del Mono. This is a protected area because it is the only place on the coast of Ecuador where howler monkeys live. Entrance to the park is free, but you cannot go alone. You must have a guide with you, and the guide charges $10. We paid him extra because he was very good at catching me before I fell and picking me up when he wasn't able to catch me. It was an awesome experience. We went on a drizzly day, and our guide said the six families of monkeys we saw is more than he has ever seen in one trip. He also pointed out lots of other things.
This is Carlos, our guide.
These are some of the monkeys we saw that day. My camera didn't have much of a zoom on it, so the pictures aren't very great. It was better to the naked eye.
Carlos pointed out other flora and fauna in the park, too. This frog makes a very loud clicking sound. Hard to believe he is so small.
Even without the monkeys (What am I saying!!??) and other wildlife, it's a beautiful landscape.
We drive past Paseo del Mono whenever we go to Manta to the supermarket for some things we can't get at the mercado in Puerto Lopez, and sometimes we'll see the monkeys playing in the treetops. One day, an injured howler monkey came out to the side of the road. She showed us her tail and then looked at us as if asking for help. After making sure somebody would be staying to make sure no cars ran over her, we went to the Paseo del Mono and summoned a vet to come check her out. We had butter in the car, though, so we couldn't stay to see how everything worked out.
Paseo del Mono is definitely a place to visit.