Agua Blanca Community – Agua Blanca, Ecuador - Atlas Obscura

Agua Blanca Community

Agua Blanca, Ecuador

The remains of an ancient settlement in one of the oldest archeological sites in South America. 


Agua Blanca is a settlement in one of the oldest archeological sites in South America, in the heart of the Machalilla National Park in Ecuador, on the remains of the Manteño culture’s pre-Columbian period. It is a mix of natural wonder, culture, and archeology.

The ancient Agua Blanca Community was among the last coastal community in Ecuador to succumb to colonization. As a result, many traditions and archeological findings are preserved. A set of temples, houses, and plazas typical of the Manteño culture, as well as archeological items and skulls, can be found on this site dating from 1500 BC. 

The community has a small church and a museum in the center of the village, and the church is wonderfully painted in bright colors. A small artisan’s market also sells rare Spondylus shell and tagua accessories, as well as local cuisine snacks.

A natural sulfur lagoon can also be found on the site and is accessible by tourists. It is said the mineral waters and muds in the lagoon can help the skin and wellbeing of visitors. Howling monkeys, butterflies, hummingbirds, and local flora like ceibo trees can also be seen here, and a hiking tour to local haciendas is included as part of the visit experience. English-speaking guides can be requested.

Know Before You Go

The Agua Blanca Community is located inside the Machalilla National Park in the province of Manabi, Ecuador. It is located 12 Km north of Puerto Lopez, nearly 5 Km from the Jipijapa - Puerto Lopez highway.A bus can take you to the front gate from Puerto Lopez for US$0.40, while a moto taxi may charge you between US$4-US$5 depending on whether they drop you off at the museum 5km from the gate. An additional $5 fee is required to enter the site, and tips are welcome. Swimwear, towel, and a camera are suggested.

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