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The Pacific coast along Ecuador is less populated with tourists but rather with nature, wildlife and biodiversity. There are great places to surf along the country’s 1,398 mi of coastline, its hot and humid climate makes for steady waves year-round. Montañita is the surfing capital of the country, and it attracts a stream of party-loving travelers throughout the year. The popular Ruta del Sol (Sun Route) north of Guayaquil will guide you through a number of beautiful resorts with stretches of white sandy beaches. Continue to discover the wealth of fishing villages, harbours, tropical forests and deserts offering endless adventure. Be sure not to miss out on the local seafood cuisine, for which the southern coast is especially renowned.
The territory between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean is considered the Ecuadorian coast. It is a prime agricultural spot, benefiting from the water, fertile soil, and wide plains. Most of the coast is humid, except for the dry southern region close to Peru. You can travel in between major cities and sleepy fishing villages, pausing to admire the fascinating wildlife on land or on sea.
You can start your journey along the Ruta del Sol traveling north from Guayaquil, passing banana and oil-palm plantations that bask in the South American sun. The small town of Santa Elena is worth a stop to see Los Amantes de Sumpa, an archeological site named after two skeletons preserved in a loving embrace. While there are mostly peaceful villages dotting the coast, the party town of Montañita interrupts the tranquility with a bustling variety of cultures and languages. Not too far off shore, the warm El Niño current collides with the cold Humbolt, making this hipster locale the prime surfing spot in Ecuador.
Heading north brings you to Puerto Lopez, a true fishing port bustling with commerce. This village lies on the doorstep of Machalilla National Park, which includes beaches, cloud forests, and dry forests, not to mention monkeys, armadillos and albatrosses. Off the coast, the lesser visited yet still abundant Isla de la Plata is considered the poor man’s Galápagos. The island keeps legends alive of the infamous pirate Sir Francis Drake and his buried treasure.
Manta is the second largest port city after Guayquil, and it was originally inhabited by seven separate civilizations over the centuries who used its strategic location as a major trading hub. If you need a break from modern-day Manta, explore the coastal waters by snorkeling and booking a whale-watching tour.
The last must-see stop along the Ruta del Sol is Esmeraldas, also called the “Green Province” for its stunning display of vegetation in its mangrove forests, estuaries and tropical forests. It is easy to hire a canoe for an intimate look up one of its nearby rivers.
Ecuador’s coast holds rich treasures of life, whether it be a sheltered mangrove forest, flamboyantly colored fish, or hoards of beachcombers at the most popular beaches. To get close to the surf and sand, come visit Ecuador’s sun drenched coast, which offers enough variety to make sure you are never bored.