Ecuador’s beaches have blue-green water, and serve as a habitat for a bounty of marine animals and waterfowl. Put aside time to swim, tan, and take in the strange and lovely sights of Ecuador’s Pacific coast. Here’s a list of some of Ecuador’s must-see beaches.
San Cristobál – Galápagos
The Galápagos is known as Ecuador’s crown jewel. This archipelago’s stunning beaches crowd with a variety of the rare native species. Sea lions and iguanas don’t mind sharing the beach with visitors.
San Cristobál is a popular destination for beachgoers, principally because of a beach called Cerro Brujo. Volcanic rock formations lie to either side of the beach. You should wear your goggles underwater to see the enormous variety of fish.
Atacames and Súa – Esmereldas
Atacames is one of Ecuador’s most popular beaches. Visitors will have a good selection of restaurants and places to stay. The town of Atacames knows how to party, and has a reputation for a boisterous bar scene.
You’ll find the beach gets quite crowded from July to mid-September. It has small waves for easy swimming. But swimmers should take caution – there is a strong undertow, and no lifeguards.
Unfortunately, thefts are common, so do not take valuables onto the beach, and avoid visiting the beach at night.
If Atacames gets too crowded for your liking, you can find some peace and quiet in nearby Súa. Súa is a smaller beach town, and a rapidly developing destination. The waves here are just as beautiful as those at Atacames, but the town is much more low-key.
Montañita – Santa Elena Peninsula
Montañita is the most popular surfing beach in Ecuador. Surfers from all over the world have visited this beach for surfing competitions. Montañita has a strong hippy vibe, and lots of bars with music and dancing.
Salinas – Santa Elena Peninsula
Salinas beach is located on a bay, with calm waters that make for a pleasant swim. The town is home to upscale resorts and restaurants. This is the ideal beach town for visitors looking for a little bit of luxury.
Canoa – Manabí
Canoa is a wide beach, with lots of room for beachgoers to spread out. It has a good beach for swimming, with decent waves for surfing. Cliffs overlook the beach, and the wind here makes it a popular spot for hang gliding and kite surfing. These are thrilling activities to watch from the comfort of a beach blanket.
Much like Montañita, the town of Canoa is known for its youthful crowds and laid-back atmosphere.
Bahía de Caráquez – Manabí
Bahía de Caráquez is a well-developed resort town, with a variety of building projects focused on ecological sustainability. The water here welcomes both swimmers and surfers.
Besides the beach, visitors can explore the nearby mangrove islands and tropical dry forests.
Los Frailes – Machalilla National Park, Julcuy
Los Frailles beach is located in Machalilla National Park. It is usually quite empty, leaving you to enjoy the horseshoe-shaped beach by yourself. Large rock formations flank either side of the beach. Cliffs overlook the blue-green water and the white sand.
Puerto López – Julcuy
About 6 miles (10 km) south of Machalilla National Park, you’ll come to the fishing village of Puerto López. This small town has a friendly beach. At the docks, fishing boats arrive in the late afternoon to sell their daily catch. Waters here are calm, and make for easy swimming.