Ecuador's pristine beaches
Duration: at least one week
Budget: $ 35 per day
Ecuador, the small Andean country, offers its visitors plenty of things to discover. Quito, the highest capital in the world, picturesque villages, Quichua culture, Amazonian rainforest, and not to forget: the Galapagos islands. Many travelers, therefore, decide to skip the Pacific coast (as Dani did). However, Ecuador’s coast offers excellent surfing, deserted beaches, and charming villages. Ecuador’s coast is a truly underrated gem that you should not miss.
Ecuador’s 2237 miles of coastline offer the perfect beach for everyone. If you are seeking relaxation you will find peace in Canoa. Mompiche offers more adventures and excitement, while Puerto Lopez offers vast empty beaches and excellent whale watching. If you are into surfing, we’d recommend you to visit Montañita, which is also a popular backpacker’s hotspot.
Mompiche is a small fishing village located on Ecuador’s Pacific coast. The town is known for its dramatic black sand beaches, perfect for surfing and exploring. Mompiche is also home to several charming restaurants and cafes, making it the ideal place to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
The waves here are some of the best in the country, and there is a surf school right on the beach if you want to learn how to ride them. Mompiche is also an excellent place for those who want to explore more of Ecuador’s coast, as there are plenty of deserted beaches to discover nearby.
There is also plenty of opportunity for hiking and exploring the nearby jungle. We stayed right by Playa Negra – a beautiful black sand beach that is definitely worth a visit. Even if you’re not into surfing, the beach is still worth a visit for its stunning scenery.
Best place to stay in Mompiche:
Puerto Lopez - birth grounds from humpback whales
If Puerto Lopez is known for anything, it’s whale watching.
Every year, between June and September, humpback whales come to the waters off Puerto Lopez to mate and give birth making Puerto Lopez one of the best places in Ecuador (and indeed, the world) to see these magnificent creatures up close. In addition to whale watching, Puerto Lopez is also home to several beautiful beaches, making it the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
Hundreds of majestic animals gather off the coast of Isla de la Plata to Mate. So if you are in Ecuador from June to the end of September, don’t miss this natural spectacle. The tour should cost around $50. Please make sure that you ask beforehand not to get too close to the whales to reduce the stress somewhat.
Best place to stay in Puerto Lopez:
Playa los Frailes - scenery and party
It is only a stone’s throw from Puerto Lopez to Los Frailes, probably the most beautiful beach in Ecuador. The picture-postcard beach is located in Ecuador’s only National Park, Parque Nacional Machalilla. It is surrounded by tropical dry forests, a cloud forest, archaeological sites, and the Pacific Ocean. The beach of Los Frailes is genuinely unique. You can find all Ecuador’s different landscapes in one place, plus a good party on the weekend!
Best place to stay in Los Frailes:
Canoa - Ecuador's coolest beach town
Canoa is a small beach town about an hour’s drive from Puerto Lopez. Canoa is the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The town has a laid-back vibe and plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants to enjoy.
Canoa is our favorite beach town in Ecuador. Kilometers of beaches, great surf spots, good cocktails, and the most relaxed inhabitants. The bamboo huts are equipped with hammocks, perfect for chilling during short rainfalls. We loved to explore the towering cliffs at low tide. Canoa is also the place to try paragliding! The 12 miles of beach offer breathtaking views!
On top of that, the region is known for having the best food in Ecuador! Canoa is a foodie haven! Our absolute favorite is Tigrillo: The vegetarian delicacy of plantains, eggs, and cheese is the perfect Ecuadorian breakfast.
Best place to stay in Canoa:
Montañita - Backpacker & Surf Scene
Montañita is the southernmost point of the four coastal towns and is only an hour’s bus ride from Puerto Lopez. Known for the best surf waves and cheap accommodation, Montañita has become a backpacker’s paradise. Here you can find the sun, great surf, and lively nightlife. If you are looking for a cool surf scene, then Montañita is probably the place for you!
Best places to stay in Montañita:
Get ready to travel Ecuador
The best time to travel to Ecuador's beaches
Travel to the Pacific coast from December to May to get as much sunshine as possible. Even though it is the rainy season, it’s sunny and hot. The rainfalls pass quickly.
From June to November, it is often dry but mostly cloudy.
How to travel Ecuador's coast
The coastal villages can be reached from Quito by bus in one day (approx. 7-10 h). Therefore, we can only recommend you take the night bus. It’s very comfortable, and you will find yourself in dreamy fishing villages when you get off the bus in the morning.
The earthquake of 2016
On the coast, you can feel the Afro-Ecuadorian culture. In the sleepy villages, the people are very cordial and wait patiently for every visitor.
After a terrible earthquake in April 2016 shook Ecuador’s Pacific coast, entire villages collapsed. Tourism is vital for people on the beach.
Safety along Ecuador's coast
The aftereffects of the earthquake are still noticeable, with communities that are not directly on the beach most affected. Be careful to stray too far away after sunset. Robberies do occur from time to time.
Make sure to bring your Lifestraw Pro to enjoy cool water while avoiding buying plastic bottles.
Challenges for the conscious traveler
Sunscreen: Protect the unique ecosystem and be extra careful to use reef-friendly sunscreens.
Plastic: To avoid unnecessary plastic pollution, bring your collapsable food container, cutlery, and a Lifestraw Pro
Packing List Ecuador
You’re packing your bags for a trip to Ecuador – congratulations! You’re about to embark on an amazing journey into one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.
Wondering what to pack? Check out our packing list to prepare for all Ecuador has to offer. You’ll find anything from clothing to travel gadgets and eco-friendly toiletries!
Best Eco Lodges in Ecuador
With its lush rainforests, beautiful beaches, and abundance of wildlife, Ecuador is a nature-lover’s dream come true.
But what makes Ecuador truly unique is its commitment to sustainable tourism. From composting toilets at eco-lodges to reforestation projects, Ecuador is working hard to preserve its natural resources.
Places to visit in Ecuador
Dive into a land of contrasts!
Ecuador’s rainforests are some of the most biodiverse in the world, and a visit there is unlike any other wildlife experience. Whereas in Africa you might travel by jeep to see animals in the savannah, or by boat to go whale watching, in Ecuador you have to travel on foot or by small boat.
Quito, the highest capital in the world bursts with diversity. The 65km long Andean capital is a Potpourri of emotions: ethnic diversity, fascinating nature, creative people, architectural masterpieces and stunning views.