Bahía de Caráquez is tightly packed onto a sandy peninsula situated between the Chone River and the Pacific Ocean. The bleached white buildings and tidy streets give an orderly and well-maintained feeling that is rare among other coastal towns. A pleasant malecón, or oceanside avenue, borders the town and guides visitors along its picturesque shoreline. The harbor is often filled with moored sailboats—a sure sign that this is a favorite stopping place along Ecuador’s coast.
The protected bay of Bahía de Caráquez offers some great beaches and swimming areas for visitors. The beach does continue on the Pacific side, however, the swimming is a bit more dangerous here due to rip tides. Surfing can be done here, but does depend on the weather conditions. Better, more consistent surf spots lie just a few miles away from Bahía de Caráquez. Away from the city limits are several nature preserves with large mangrove forests and empty beaches. The mangrove forests are known for their excellent bird life. Organized tours visit these sites daily.
Bahía de Caráquez is one of the few truly ecologically conscious cities in Ecuador. It leads the country in sustainability, having created successful recycling, composting and environmental education programs.