Home to the Amazon rainforest, the Andes mountains and the Galapagos Islands, it comes as no surprise to learn that Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth – and that’s without even having mentioned its mesmerizing Pacific coastline.
All along the country’s idyllic coast, you’ll find scenic bays, glorious golden sands, and some of the best surfing conditions in the world. As such, its beautiful beaches are incredible to visit, and each has its own unique characteristics. For instance, you can party all night at one beach before basking in the stunning scenery at another, and many of them have amazing whale-watching excursions on offer.
With over 2,200 kilometers of coastline for you to explore, Ecuador’s beaches are just waiting to be discovered.
Sheltered by a picturesque bay that closes in around it, Ayangue Beach is a lovely place to visit; you’ll usually find dozens upon dozens of colorful little fishing boats bobbing about in the bay.
Due to its protected nature, the beach’s inviting waters are perfect for swimming in and it is ideal for families with small children. The sleepy village doesn’t have much going on, so it is really just a place to enjoy a beach holiday and take in the sun, sea and spectacular sunsets.
The village has a good range of hotels on offer, as well as lots of great local restaurants, but you won’t find much in the way of nightlife. With its beautiful setting, however, most people are content to take in the lovely scenery while basking in the glorious sunshine.
Located in Atacames – one of the most popular beach resort towns in the country – Playa Tonsupa is bordered by lots of high-rises, hotels, and restaurants, and is one of the best beaches in Ecuador when it comes to the facilities on offer.
Mainly catering to locals and domestic tourists, it is a laidback and unpretentious place to visit. There are lots of excursions for visitors to choose from, with whale-watching being the most popular.
Atacames has some excellent nightlife for you to explore. Its restaurants and cafes serve up some delicious seafood dishes, which are ideal after a long day spent lounging on Playa Tonsupa.
If you’re looking for a quiet getaway amidst some beautiful scenery, then Canoa Beach is a good option as it is one of the least developed towns along Ecuador’s long coastline. That does, however, mean that you won’t find very much in the way of shops, hotels, restaurants or tourist facilities.
What you do get is a lovely, off the beaten path experience. The impressive cliffs that border the beach only add to its scenic appearance, while the giant waves that pound the coast make for some brilliant surfing.
The beach – which is the longest in Ecuador at over 17 kilometers – is very flat and expansive, which makes it perfect for kicking back and relaxing on; you can also take a surf lesson or yoga class on its golden sands.
Increasingly popular amongst both locals and tourists as word spreads about its delightful features, Olon Beach has vast swathes of golden sands for you to lounge on, as well as some of the best waves in Ecuador if you’re into surfing.
Located just north of Montanita, it offers up a much more relaxed and peaceful experience than its noisy neighbor, and its boardwalk has lots of restaurants and accommodation options that cater to all budgets.
In addition to its lovely scenery and relaxed way of life, Olon Beach has some awesome excursions for visitors to partake in, with whale-watching and hikes to the pretty waterfalls nearby being amongst the most popular.
Surrounded by the wonderful and wild Machalilla National Park, Puerto Lopez is the gateway to its spectacular natural sights; as such, it is a popular destination with tourists to the country.
The sleepy fishing town lies alongside a beautiful beach, and its scenic backdrop only adds to the splendor as rugged hills stretch away into the distance. Little fishing boats lie along the shore and visitors can book to take a trip to the nearby Isla la Plata, or arrange to go scuba diving, snorkeling or even whale-watching along the coast.
Puerto Lopez and its fantastic beach have lots of restaurants, bars, and hotels on offer, and its relaxed pace of life makes it a nice stop before you delve into the wonders of the national park.
5. Montanita Where to Stay
If you want to combine your beach holiday with a pulsating nightlife scene, you can’t beat Montanita, which is particularly popular amongst surfers and backpackers. There is a very welcoming and laidback vibe about the small town, and visitors will find lots of eco-friendly hotels, health food restaurants, and atmospheric beachside cafes.
Located on the ‘route of the sun,’ Montanita’s beach looks amazing and is bordered by verdant hills and the town’s jumble of buildings that spill out along the beachfront. Although it is renowned around the country for its fantastic surf spots, there are also some great activities for visitors to enjoy; many people decide to go paragliding or scuba diving.
With a youthful and lively atmosphere, Montanita has loads of great bars and nightclubs on offer. After a busy day spent surfing or taking in some rays, most people head off to sample some if its intoxicating nightlife.
Meaning ‘beaches’ in English, it should come as no surprise that Playas is blessed with a wide variety of them. The town’s main beach – Playa General Villamil – actually stretches for an impressive 13 kilometers.
Alongside Salinas, it is the most popular resort town in Ecuador; consequently, it has lots of great restaurants, bars, and resorts for visitors to choose from, with loads of shops to boot. Part of its popularity is down to the fact that it is the nearest beach town to Guayaquil. At weekends many of the town’s residents escape the city to lounge on Playas’ lovely beaches.
With some of the best seafood in the country, it is well worth trying out a number of its restaurants and cafes. All the products are very fresh, as the town is home to a thriving community of fisherman.
Very popular amongst surfers, Playas’ beaches offer up some great swells. Alongside swimming and snorkeling, visitors can also opt to take a dolphin watching tour along Ecuador’s coastline.
Appearing very much as if out of a travel catalog, Tortuga Bay Beach is as idyllic as they come and is widely considered to be the best beach in the remote Galapagos Islands.
Lying just a short distance from the port of Puerto Ayora, the sweeping beach stretches endlessly before you, with its white sands sparkling in the sun. Its sparkling Pacific waters are home to a rich variety of marine life. As such, it makes for some excellent swimming and kayaking; you’ll almost certainly come across some marine iguanas, sea turtles, and shoals of colorful fish.
Santa Cruz Island has loads of fantastic wildlife and breathtaking natural scenery for visitors to revel in, and Tortuga Bay Beach is just one of the many highlights that it has to offer.
One of the most popular beach resort towns in Ecuador, Salinas is a delight to visit; it has beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and a host of fun activities for visitors to enjoy.
Playa de San Lorenzo is at the heart of all of this. Its palm tree-lined golden sands are perfect for lounging on, while its welcoming waters offer up a broad range of watersports, with jet skiing, surfing and waterskiing being the most popular. In addition to this, check out the nearby attraction of La Chocolatera Beach, where you can see turtles nesting at certain points in the year.
While the beach can get a bit crowded during the high season, the lively atmosphere is infectious. In the evening, many people head to its fantastic bars and nightclubs after a day spent sunbathing.
With loads of restaurants, shops, and hotels for visitors to choose from, it’s no wonder that Salinas and its gorgeous Playa de San Lorenzo are so popular.
Lying just to the north of Puerto Lopez, the gorgeous Los Frailes is located in Machalilla National Park; this protected and pristine beach is undoubtedly one of the best in Ecuador.
Its golden sands are delightful to peacefully stroll along, and the scenery is astounding; rocky cliffs and tree-covered hills surround the secluded beach. While it is usually pretty deserted, it can get quite busy during the weekends, as the beach is serviced both by bus and water taxi.
The surrounding national park is home to some lovely natural sights. You can wander along some great trails and paths, which will take you to yet more secluded beaches and beautiful viewpoints over the Pacific Ocean.