Last Updated: May 18, 2022

Best Beach Towns In Ecuador

Mainland Ecuador sits on the northwestern tip of South America and is home to over 530 miles of pristine coastline. Ecuador’s pacific coast is incredibly diverse and as you move from one place to the next along the Ecuador coast, you will be astounded by its beauty.

Let’s be honest though, not many people have the time to visit every town along Ecuador’s coast as it would take almost 6 months to accomplish. It’s therefore wise to focus on the best beach towns in Ecuador, which is what we are here to discover in this article.

Join me as I take you through all the best beach towns in Ecuador from small local beach towns to fishing villages, and larger beach towns made for partying and meeting people.

Salinas

salinas

Salinas beach is a bit like the Cancun or Miami of the beach towns in Ecuador in terms of looks and vibes. You will find Salinas a few hours from the international airport of Guayaquil on the Santa Elena peninsula and it features a long white sand beach lined with palm trees and large highrise hotels.

Salinas is the perfect beach town in Ecuador to head to if you’re looking for an actioned packed party town with a ton of bars and vibrant nightlife.

The party atmosphere of Salinas is encompassing but you can also find some peace and quiet if you want it by heading to one of the many restaurants or taking a stroll over the white sand to the quieter parts of Salinas.

Salinas is also great for water sports such as water skiing, whale watching, fishing, and swimming in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.

You can also go hand gliding in Salinas, explore the other beaches around Salinas, try surfing, and there are some thermal baths near Salinas that you can enjoy on a day trip.

Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez beach town is a great coastal town to head to if you’re looking for a picturesque town with a little bit of everything.

Puerto Lopez is set in the Manabi province and it’s known to have one of the best beaches in Ecuador. The jungle-lined hills protect the glistening white sands from strong winds which ensures calm waters that are perfect for swimming and other watersports too.

Some of the best water activities you can do in Puerto Lopez included going snorkeling where you will meet some sea turtles. If you are a nature lover, going humpback whale watching as they migrate past and hopping on a boat to the Isla de la Plata is a must when in Puerto Lopez.

Isla de la Plata is known as the poor man’s Galapagos Islands as it is brimming with nature including sea lions, iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and more. Puerto Lopez is also known for having a booming nightlife, as well as fun bars, great restaurants, and you’re not far from the nature of the amazon rainforest either.

The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands

Whether you can count the Galapagos Islands as a beach town in Ecuador is dubious but the islands have to get a mention when you’re talking about the coast of Ecuador.

The Galapagos Islands sit over 100 miles off the Ecuadorian Coast and only three of 13 major islands are inhabited, San Cristobel Island, Santa Cruz Island, and Isabel Island. While visiting the Galapagos, spending a few days on each island is highly recommended.

You will find great hotels on each island, excellent restaurants, some of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador, and secluded beaches to sunbathe on and we haven’t even gotten to why this is such a popular destination yet.

The wildlife of the Galapagos is mind-blowing, from the flightless cormorants to the iguanas, giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, and other wildlife, you will be blown away. You can also hike up volcanoes, and spend time in the sea that is packed with life.

If you like snorkeling or scuba diving, you will have the chance to swim with whale sharks, manta rays, other sharks, turtles, and colorful fish, do some whale watching, and lots more.

Ballenita

Ballenita is another small town that is home to beautiful beaches and it is often overlooked by travelers going to the popular beach resort town of Salinas.

Ballenita is just around the corner from Salinas on the Santa Elena peninsula and it has become a hub for ex-pats since the property prices are low and it has now become quite an ex-pat town.

It’s a great beach to head to if you are looking for a relaxed beach destination for a beach holiday. The beautiful beach is very relaxing, the town has a relaxed pace to it, and you are bound to meet some interesting people while you are there.

You will find plenty of relaxing hotels to stay in, some cool restaurants, and the sparkling waters are worth taking advantage of with daily swims, surfing, and more. You won’t find so many tourists here as compared to the high rises of Salinas.

Manta

Manta

Manta is a large coastal city, in fact, it is Ecuador’s third-largest and fastest-growing city and is home to the busiest and largest commercial fishing port in the world.

This gives Manta city a very industrial feel and the city is packed full of amenities that you would expect from a city in the Northern Hemisphere. You will find great hotels, restaurants, bars, shopping, and lots more. It’s a great place to get a sense of the local culture and local economy and meet some great locals too.

There are some pristine beaches in the surrounding area but you will want to get outside of the city to find the most stunning beaches. You will find golden sands on the beaches and crystal clear water that is perfect for water activities like swimming and surfing.

If you are looking to relax in a remote location while on a visit along the coast, this might not be the spot for you as this is one of the busiest parts of the coastline.

Montañita

Montañita

Montanita beach on the south coast of Ecuador is known for two things, being the best surfing beach in all of Ecuador and one of the best places to party on the Ecuadorian coast too.

The surfing conditions here are perfect as large waves are channeled into the protected bay and the waves stay clean due to the offshore winds. You will find a lot of surfers at Montanita Beach and you can even rent surfboards and learn how to surf too.

The golden sandy beach is also great for long walks at low tide and hanging on the golden sand of the main beach watching the surfers is something tourists love to do and locals alike.

When it comes to the night, this beach resort knows how to party and you will find a ton of restaurants, bars, clubs, and live music venues that come alive here at night.

Tonsupa

Tonsupa

Sitting on the north coast of Ecuador is the beautiful beach town of Tonsupa. This is a small town that is known to be one of the more relaxed of Ecuador’s beaches.

This is not a party town, it is a beach destination where you can relax, go sunbathing, swim, eat well, and have a restful beach vacation. The sunset from the beach is amazing, you can go fishing from the nearby harbor, enjoy diving, walk along the pier, and lots more

The long stretch of golden sand here is known as one of the best beaches in Ecuador as the beachfront is pristine and it’s by far the most beautiful beach in my opinion. It isn’t crowded, it is wonderfully peaceful,

The sea is warm, clear, and great for swimming, you can snorkel, and you will find fresh seafood and drinks being served at many of the lovely establishments along the beach.

It doesn’t even get too busy with tourists in peak season, so you are guaranteed a relaxing time while exploring the stunning scenery of the paradise town.

Ayangue

Ayangue beach sits in a protected bay in central Ecuador and it is known as the best beach in Ecuador for swimming, looking at cliffs, and seafood restaurants too.

The clam sea provides excellent anchorage for the fleet of the small fishing village which brings amazingly fresh seafood served from ocean to plate. The seafood is some of the best in Ecuador and if you love fish, lobster, and more, this is the small fishing village to try it all in.

Ayangue sits quite far off the highway and therefore it manages to remain a quiet coastal fishing town with super friendly locals.

Ayangue beach is one of the quietest Ecuador beaches and is, therefore, one of the best Ecuador beaches to head to if you want a peaceful vacation. It is the perfect place for swimming, you can sunbathe in peace, enjoy a long walk along the golden sand beach, and lots more. The beach isn’t even crowded in peak periods.

Olón

Olon is the perfect place for holidays that are all about peace and nature. Olon beach never has crowds, and the town doesn’t have crowds either. You will only find a few hotels and beach houses along Olon beach and it’s an area packed full of nature too.

There is a river and a natural reserve along the black sand beach that is fantastic for bird watching, the sea is also great for snorkeling, and you can hike along some great trails too and spot some local wildlife.

The hotels are low-key, as are the restaurants and it is a great place for travelers to spend time unwinding, resetting, and catching up on sleep after enjoying some of the more vibrant resorts.

Canoa

canoa

Canoa beach is the longest beach in Ecuador and its sandy shores stretch for an amazing 10.8 miles. You can just imagine the lovely long walks you can have on Canoa beach, especially with the stunning sunsets.

Canoa is a super laidback town known for its chilled vibes and surf culture. This area has become a haven for backpackers and surfers alike and is one of the most affordable places to stay along the coastline.

You will find great waves, easy access to nature, pretty small cliffs to hike around, and some lovely restaurants, bars, and places to stay.

You will find it in the north of Ecuador, not far from the capital of Quito and locals often come to Canoa for the weekends to enjoy some beach time. If you love to lie in the sun, read books, catch a wave or two, and meet some interesting people, Canoa is the spot for you.

San Clemente

The chilled town of San Clemente is a few hours away from Manta via a regular bus service and it is a great place to chill.

San Clemente is right next to the town of San Jacinto and they may as well be one town as telling them apart is almost impossible. This area is surrounded by magical hills that just fall into the ocean and it was once one of the most popular beaches with locals but today it is never crowded.

The beach is covered in pristine sand and beautiful waters where you can go for long walks, long swims, and enjoy some amazing seafood freshly delivered by the local fishermen daily.

There are numerous affordable hostels and hotels as well as some great restaurants and bars, and it is a great place to do some souvenir shopping too. For a chillout beach vacation in Ecuador, this is the place to be.

Playas

Playas

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Playas sits in the Santa Elena Province a few hours south of Guayaquil. Playas has evolved from a sleepy coastal village to a bit of a resort town. It is not as busy or popular as Salinas or Manta but it still provides the same services and amenities you might expect.

The beach at Playas is long and great for walking and swimming plus the beachfront is lined with loads of great eateries and bars where you can rest and enjoy the view.

Playas is not a party town and it would suit families looking for a quiet holiday with a ton of convenience as the services and amenities make enjoying your time with your kids a breeze.

Not far south from Playas you will find a huge estuary system and Isla Punas that is accessible on a day trip. If you love looking at wildlife and exploring the wilderness, it is worth going to.

Ayampe

Ayampe is the place to go if you are looking for an uncrowded beach that is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. The contrast of the white sands, blue seas, and lush green surroundings is quite a sight to see.

The beach is big, wide, and long and is therefore perfect for beach playtime, you can also access the beautiful Rio Ayampe Trail from there too. The trail will take you along the river Ayampe, through the lush rainforest. There is also another long hike you can do through the surrounding hills and into Puerto Lopez.

Ayampe has a load of lovely places to rest your head and some delightful places to eat. It is a super peaceful town with a lovely community. You will love staying here!

Crucita

Crucita

Crucita is a charming coastal village that is very popular with ex-pats. You will find it north of Manta and it is the kind of relaxed place where you can go for a month and read all the books on your list, create some art, learn and language, and generally just have the most restful time possible.

This area is also known for its excellent wind and is, therefore, a hot spot for kite surfing and paragliding too. If either of these sports is something you want to do or learn, then go to Crucita.

The beach at Crucita is long and empty so you can find space to sit back and bask in the sun with ease. You will also find some lovely places to stay, the local community is very welcoming, and it’s simply one of the best places in Ecuador to rest, chill, and learn something new.

Machalilla National Park

Machalilla National Park

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Machalilla National Park is the only coastal national park in the country and it is a place you have to visit if you love nature. Machalilla National Park is located in central Ecuador just next to the lovely town of Machalilla.

You can access the park with ease the numerous hiking trails will take you to the pristine beaches and an ocean teeming with life. Playa Los Frailes is known as the most beautiful beach in the country and it is worth seeing without a doubt, and you should go snorkeling off its shores as you will see a load of marine life.

There are numerous other beaches in the park to see, lookout points, you will see some great wildlife and there are hot springs to bathe in too.

The nearby town has everything you need and it also has some excellent beaches, one of which, Playa Coral is quite special.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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