I started this post to celebrate my 42nd birthday, I wanted to travel and celebrate it so I decided to go to the southern part of the province of Manabí in the Machalilla National Park, a place called Agua Blanca. It is just a few minutes from Puerto López exactly 12 km.
To get to this commune I had to take a bus at the Santa Elena terminal, it can be the Reales Tamarindos or Manglaralto buses that are the ones that reach the province of Manabí. The cost of the ticket is $ 4.75, You only have to indicated at the window that you want to got Machalilla then the bus leaves me at the entrance of Agua Blanca.
I got to Agua Blanca and it was the first time I visited it I had many doubts, at the entrance a checkpoint awaits us where they indicate the value of the entrance to the commune and everything that I could do, this has a value of $ 5. From this point there is no taxi that can take us to the town so at the entrance bicycles are rented. I decided to rent a bike for $ 3 and start my adventure to the community.
After 30 minutes of riding or 10km by bike and many slopes I got at the Agua Blanca Commune, my first point is the museum where they asked me for the ticket I bought at the entrance and they allowed me to enter with a guide who explained me everything that I should visit.
At the museum where they explained everything related to the Manteña culture, the thing that caught my attention was the photographs of the native people and their similarity with the physical features of the sculptures found in this place. There is a U-shaped chair in perfect condition that was used by the most important person. After a review of the Manteña culture we were on our way to the sulphurous lagoon but before that we visited one archaeological remains in situ, the 3 funeral urns that contain human remains inside were preserved in good conditions and protected against the weather, the guide indicate us that in each house there was their own cemetery where they buried their loved ones.
The community has a place for selling handicrafts, these are attended by the women of the commune who make different types of accessories for women, they were made of spondylus shell, nacre shell, fish scales, animal skins. In addition to find holy stick and products derived from it, such as incense and essential oils. Many of the crafts presented here are made by the community.
The guide asked me if I wanted to go to the sulphurous lagoon and I said yes!, and we started our trek, we crossed the Buena Vista river that is dry in this season and during the rainy season its channel is filled, whilewe were walking, we saw different types of Birds, one of the most characteristic of the area is the Lomiamarillo chief, after we walked an a half a kilometer we find a giant cactus that is 200 years old.
The great advance that they have in community tourism is worth admiring, the Agua Blanca commune is organized in such a way that it receives more than 25,000 tourists a year, recently they hosted students from the University of Quebec of Canada who gave a donation for the improvement from the community school, there were 45 students who lived for 6 days with the entire population. I had not seen a commune as organized as Agua Blanca since I visited Quilotoa for the first time, these communes are a clear example of how sustainable tourism is possible.
I finished this tour arriving at the sulphurous lagoon the guide explains that there are lockers where you can leave your clothes, showers and changing rooms, if you want to have a mud massage of the lagoon it costs $ 10 for approximately 20 minutes.
Bathing in this sulphurous water at the beginning has a very characteristic smell of sulfur, then you get used to it and you can take a medicinal and relaxing bath. Upon entering you are given a glass with pool mud that you can use on your body in any way you want.
The stay in the pool is the time you want, until 5 in the afternoon that is when they close this entire complex. There are cabins where you can order food in advance, because the food is prepared at the moment.
Time to return, a walk of 1 km but before this you know the viewpoint that has a beautiful view of the whole place. You reach the commune and now if time to grab the bike and return.