Coastal Region in Ecuador

Atacames is the party beachtown for Ecuadoreans. During the holidays this small city fills up with young people from Quito and Santa Domingo. You will have a hard time seeing the beach, it will be that full with beachtowels.

Small beach bars fill the boulevard and blast reggae out of their speakers.

Discotecas and salsotecas are the place to be in Atacames. Prepare to dance, drink, party and have a good time!

Even though word is quickly spreading about this lovely beach and surfing spot, Mompiche still remains a quiet fishing village set back from an extensive 3km long beach, lined with palm trees, with few tourists. The sand and sea may not be Carribean white and turquoise but the beach is pristine and scattered with small fishing canoes with a magically relaxed and safe atmosphere.

The coastal road slightly less traveled, takes you away from the crowds of Atacames or Montanita to visit small working fishing communities which even though slightly unfamiliar to tourists, will welcome visitors with open arms and show you around. The description below gives a recommended trip around the small peninsula between Muisne and Atacames stopping at the very special village of Estero de Platano.

Isla Costa Rica is a tiny little community at spitting distance from the Peruvian border. The little town is built on an island, distancing it from the busy world around it. The 60 families that occupy the island have been living there for generations. Traditionally they have been making a living as fishermen, leaving the island to fish in the mangroves and near the coast.

Ayampe is not like other destinations at the Ecuadorean coast. It has more to offer than a pretty beach and fresh seafood.

The area inland is spectaculair. Mangroves and other spectacular natural areas are just a little ride away (you can arrange horses in the village). The inhabitants of Ayampe are making an effort to preserve the beautiful mangroves by offering guided tours.

Wandering along the endless white sand beach and between colourful cocktail stalls, the average visitor to Montanita will fall in love with the place immediately.

Even without its much-lauded surfing opportunities, Montanita has more than its fair share to offer holidaymakers and travellers, with its vast array of coastal view bars and cheap hostels, set within naturally beautiful surroundings.

Guayaquil is the largest city of Ecuador. Eventhough it is one of the two cities in Ecuador with an international airport, not many tourists tend to stay in the harbour city for longer than they have to.

Over the years Guayaquil has been considered an ugly and dangerous city, not exactly the type of place to enjoy your holiday. However, the past two or three years the Guayaquilenos have made Guayaquil a nice to place to visit. It's still a bit rough around the edges, but some of the areas downtown have been cleaned up and are worth a visit.

Puerto Lopez is a nice little fishing town, which has attracted the attention of many tourists. The fish market and bay area make it an important regional commercial area for fishers along the coastline. You can see all the fishermen go out to catch fish in the morning, or wake up a little later and see them come and sell their catch.

Las Tunas is the place to go for the combination of catching waves and relaxing in a nice little town. The deserted white sandy beach stretches out for several kilometers. You only have to share it with the local fishermen and very few tourists.

It is amazing to see that Las Tunas is only half hour away from the bustling tourism town Puerto Lopez, but there are no tourists to be found. Las Tunas is the ideal place for people trying to get away from things and immerge in the tranquil life that this little commuity has to offer.

Canoa is an up and coming beach destination in Ecuador. Just a few years ago Canoa was a quiet little fishing village getting hardly any attention from travellers. Over the past few years it has gained populairity, especially with backpackers looking for a fun low-budget place to enjoy the beach and work on a tan.

Rio Cayapas (also Rio Santiago) gives you access to another relatively unexplored corner of Ecuador, rich in nature and the different cultures of the Afro-Ecuadorians and indigenous Chachi Indians. The suggested trip below gives information on Borbon and Santa Maria, 3 hours up river, but there is a wealth of hidden spots in this area. The communities live off logging, agriculture and fishing here.

Olmedo seems to be a long way from the normal tourist route in Ecuador but is a very accessible and welcoming village of sandy streets, raised planked wonky walkways and stilted wooden huts. It also is a perfect place to visit the local mangroves which, like so many areas of natural beauty and importance, are being sacrificed for large scale industry, in this case shrimp farms. By visiting this area you can become part of the solution.

La Tolita is a small community surrounding a harbour in the riverdelta of Rio Santiago. The habitants of La Tolita make their living by fishing and agriculture and are strongly influenced by the African culture. This is easy to recognize, not only becuase of their appearance, but also by their music, traditional clothing and religion.

The national park Cotocachi-Cayapas is te Chachis, who are trying to preserve their traditional lifestyle and haven’t integrated with the black community.La Tolita has a school and a museum and electicity is available in the village. Up to the moment of writing, running water remains unavailable.

Salinas is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Ecuadoreans. Not only does it have a nice beach, it is also a place of comfort and fun!

Young and wealthy Ecuadoreans go there during the holiday to enjoy the clubs and bars. While the more mature crowd eats in the nice seafood restaurants near the beach. Salinas can get pretty empty during off-season (especially during weekdays). Most of the apartments are owned by people from Guayaquil and Cuenca, as a place to get away from the crowd.

Hardly any tourists will be tempted to stop in Quevedo. It is a humid, warm, unconfortable town that is often hit by heavy rainfall and floods. Tourists will usually skip Quevedo for nicer places.

Very few tourist stop at Babahoyo to enjoy the sights. That's mainly because of the humid, hot climate conditions. Unfortunately, there is simply not that much goingon in Babahoyo for tourists to enjoy. Use Babahoyo to transfer busses or just skip the place altogether.

We haven't visited Salango yet...

each destinations of Ecuador. The city was a fun and happening place! There was a great combination of families and youth going to Pedernales to enjoy the beach, eat seafood and going out at night.

Unfortunately, Pedernales has passed its peak. Slowly but surely places like Atacames and Canoa are starting to be more prominent in the area and people have lost interest in Pedernales.

Montecristi is the place where Panama hats are originally made. 

Manta is an important city for Ecuador's economy. As one of the largest cities at the coast it is a hub for goods coming from the US to Quito.

For tourists, Manta is not the favorite place to go. The beaches don't usually live up to the expectations of many visitors, just like the city itself.

Located nearby the city of Manta, Crucita is the capital of Ecuador for kitesurfing and other extreme sports. This cool little place offers hardly anything for other travellers, but extreme sport fanatics will love it here. There is one basic accommodation available in Crucita and some small restaurants where they serve fresh fish every day.

A former president of Ecuador, Sixto Duran, made Bahia de Caraquez into one of the most popular beach resorts of Ecuador back in the nineties. After building a little house there, a lot of wealthy Ecuadoreans followed.

Bahia de Caraquez is still a popular place for rich Ecuadoreans to enjoy a holiday. In many ways it is similar to Salinas near Guayaquil. Skyscrapers and apartment buildings have been built in Bahia de Caraquez 15 years ago and are usually filled with Quitenos enjoying a weekend at the coast.

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