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Isla de La Plata, Ecuador

Just 17 miles off the Ecuadorean coast, this island is part of the Machalilla National Park, with a dry, tropical environment similar to the more distant Galapagos Islands. It also hosts a remarkably similar variety of fauna, including red- and blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, the striking white red-billed tropic birds and Magnificent Frigate birds. The island is surrounded by reefs teeming with colorful fishes, sea turtles and dolphins, which are popular with snorkelers.