The canton owes its name to Daniel López, a philanthropist from Jipijapa. The son of a Colombian and Guayaquil native Carmen Saltos, López supported the canton’s development, and in his honor, the Municipality of Jipijapa named the bay after him.
Parishes and precincts in Canton of Puerto Daniel López
The city of Puerto López is the canton’s capital, and its parishes are: Machalilla and Salango. Its precincts are: Río Chico, Puerto Rico, Las Tunas, Ayampe, El Pital, Río Blanco, Guale, San Vicente, La Ciénaga, Dos Ríos, Sitio Buena Vista, La Encantada, La Mocora, San Jacinto and el Triunfo.
Geography and boundaries of Canton
The canton’s boundaries are as follows: to the north, the Machalilla Park; to the south, the division created by Cinco Cerros, which marks its border with the Santa Elena Province; to the east, Julcuy and Pedro Pablo Gómez; and, to the west, the Pacific Ocean.
The canton lies 165km from Portoviejo and is located in the southwest of Manabí province along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The capital is located at 1º33”28’W. It is 449km2 in size and has a population of around 15,656.
Various rivers cross through Puerto López: Ayampe, Puerto Rico, Punteros, La Curia, Salango and Riofrío. The majority of these are intermittent, expect for the Ayampe River, whose current is permanent. All of them empty into the Pacific Ocean. More than a dozen river basins make up Puerto López’s hydrographical system. The area is also home to a good number of aquifers, which for the most part remain untouched.
Due to the effects of the Humboldt Current and El Niño, as well as orographical conditions, the canton is located in an unusual climate zone. From May until October or December, across most of its territory there is a permanent drizzle (garúa), which varies in intensity depending on the cooling effect produced by seawaters off the coast. As a result of these factors, four distinct climate zones are identifiable: Tropical spiny forest, tropical ultra-dry forest, tropical dry forest and pre-montane tropical forest. The heaviest rains occur between February and April, while average precipitation year round is 424mm and the rate of evaporation is 879mm. Relative humidity reaches 84%, while the annual average temperature is 24° C.
The area is shaped by the Chongon y Colonche Mountain Range, which runs south to north along Puerto Daniel López. Near the coast, the terrain is flat and never exceeds an altitude of 800m above sea level. In the mountainous region, the predominant slopes range from moderate, rugged to very rugged. Also notable are the headlands and bays of Sombrerito, Bálsamo, Barquito, Cabezona, and Isla Salango, as well as numerous islets.
Agriculture in the area is mostly subsistence oriented. The main crops are corn
in the communities of Río Blanco
, Las Tunas
and Río Plátano
,as well as cattle-herding, an activity which supports 16.9% of the population. One of the main economic activities in Puerto López
is artisan fishing
, which supports 47.5% of the population. Considering the problems faced by the fishing sector, tourism
is set to become the region's main economic focus. Projections indicate that the number of tourists visiting will increase by 200% over the next five years. Ecotourism
supports 22.1% of the population, while 19.5% works in the services sector. In Salango
, there are small locksmith workshops, tailors and bakeries, as well as some artisans working with clay.
In small communities, houses are typically built using guadua bamboo reeds with palm leaf roofs, both of which materials have also been used to build the canton’s best hotels. In the canton capital, the buildings are made of concrete or a mix of traditional and modern materials, although one can still find traditional reed houses.
Puerto López’sinhabitants are typically hospitable, happy and festive. The majority of the population is catholic and anxiously awaits the yearly festivals to honor the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th), Our Lady of Mercy (September 24th) and Saints Peter and Paul (JUNE 19th). They also conduct processions aboard boats in the sea, as well as novenas and rosary prayers. For Christmas, each neighborhood builds its own manger.
Dance and Music
Local music shows influences from rhythms of the bolero, passacaglia and the pasillo styles of music. Other music include the coplero, as well as folksongs inspired by the ebb and flow of life by the sea.
Folk beliefs among Puerto López’s residents encompass witchcraft, supernatural phenomena, visions and spirits. Fishermen tell tales of ghost ships or a mysterious light that travels the sea above a coffin. In the past, one of the most feared supernatural beings was the witch or mother of the moutain, a woman who travel through villages and whose face was covered by her dishevled hair.
Puerto López’sfirst public highschool was called Eduardo Granja Garcés, wile its first grade school was Isidoro Barriga. Noweawadays, there are three highschools - Colegio Nacional Técnico Fiscal "Provincia de Manabí", Colegio Particular Paramilitar 5 de Mayo and Colegio a Distancia Camilo Galleg. The canton has 12 grade schools, both private and public, and five preschools. As for higher education, two distance-learning universities recently started operating. They are: the UNIVERSIDAD TÉCNICA DE BABAHOYO’s ecotourism school and the UNIVERSIDAD ESTATAL DE GUAYAQUIL’s school of philosophy.
COAT OF ARMS
The canton’s flag contains three horizontal stripes, each a different colors:
GREEN – representing agriculture and the abundant vegetation found the tourism site Machalilla National Park.
WHITE – representing the purity of the canton’s inhabitants and its pre-Colombian settlements, such as the Manteño, Machalilla and Valdivia cultures.
BLUE – represnting the sky and the riches of coast, a source of work that supports our people.
Puerto López'scoat of arms rests on a golden scroll, with a torch representing the light of liberty and a frame divided into five sections. The upper section contains a touristic landscape, which is represented by beautiful beaches, bays and islets in their natural state; a fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean, symbolic of the canton’s main source of work and wealth; and a flock of seabirds in midflight. In the section on the left, over a sky blue blackground appear a tree and a cactus - the former representing the tropical rainforest and its towering trees, the latter the tropical dry forest, unique to Ecuador's coast, that is found in Machalilla National Park. In the section on the right, a U-shaped stone seat is drawn on a light yellow background to signify a place of power and to serve as an archeological symbol of the Manteño and other pre-Colombian cultures on the southern Manabí coast. In the lower left section, the cornucopia is depicted on a light green background and is filled with agricultural products cultivated in the region, such as coffee, palm ivory, corn, yucca, tomatos, oranges, madarines, watermelon and other melons. The lower right section contains the canton’s flag. Two scrolls depicted in the colors of that flag appear above and below the coat of arms, wiht the following text: Tourism, Fishing and Culture.