The beaches of Ecuador are some of the best kept secrets in the Latin Tropics. These oceanside destinations are rapidly gaining the attention of expats looking for a life filled with sun, sand, and water as well as foreign investors who are recognizing the potential for strong returns on investment in these communities.
Sprinkled along Ecuador’s Emerald Coast, each of these locations has a unique character that ranges from vibrant party and surfing towns to more sedate, higher end resort communities. The five locations listed below can truly be said to be the gems of Esmeralda.
What Makes Ecuador Beaches Special?
What makes the top beaches of Ecuador special is the fact that they aren’t as well known as other beach communities in the Latin Tropics. In a real sense, expats have the opportunity to explore and discover new and exciting locations that they may not have been previously aware of.
What follows, in no particular order, is a list of the best of these seaside destinations.
Perhaps the best known beach town in Ecuador, Salinas offers the high-rise modern lifestyle that many expats enjoy. The combination of modern amenities, combined with a wide variety of outdoor activities, and great weather, have made Salinas the “go-to” spot for foreigners and expats alike.
Whale watching, surfing, parasailing, and even skydiving as well as a vibrant nightlife are just some of the many activities that Salinas offers. For those seeking more tranquil alternatives, the nearby thermal baths and spas are a powerful draw.
For those looking for something a little less crowded, nearby Libertad is a commercial hub that is working to build up its beachfront as well as the pier areas to make it more attractive. For those looking for single family homes, the quiet community of Ballenita has some outstanding bargains for ownership and/or investment.
Montañita has long had the reputation for being the most lively beach town in Ecuador. Native Ecuadorians travel here to enjoy the surf and the party atmosphere – particularly during high season (January to April).
The nearby community of Olón has a growing expat population and is far more serene than its more boisterous neighbor. With stunning beach vistas all its own, living in Olón offers the best of both worlds–a quiet home close to a bustling and energetic entertainment center.
Canoa/Bahía de Caráquez
Two of the most up and coming beach towns in Ecuador are Canoa and Bahia de Caráquez. Canoa is a small village favored by surfers and backpackers but rapidly expanding into a more dynamic tourist and expat destination.
Bahia, just a short distance away, has grown into a mecca for expats looking for high-rise living. Being located on a peninsula between the Rio Chrone and the Pacific Ocean, Bahia has also become a favorite port-of-call for world-class yachtsmen (and women) from around the globe.
This dynamic combination promises to increase property values and development. The modern infrastructure makes it especially attractive to retirees and investors desiring tropical charm with the promise of a good return on initial outlay of investment funds.
Crucita has been favorably compared to Jaco, Costa Rica. Like Jaco, Crucita first gained attention as a destination for adrenaline junkies – in this case paragliding and hang gliding, while Jaco focused on surfing.
This has lead to a growing expat community and a continually improving and developing infrastructure. Crucita’s location, close to both Manta and Portoviejo, makes it an ideal spot to access the benefits of major urban centers while still be removed from the more frantic pace of those cities.
While Crucita continues to grow, it still retains much of its small, fishing village vibe. This quality is what is luring many retirees and expats who want a quieter pace but still within easy distance of larger expat communities.
At the opposite end of the scale from high-energy locations like Montañita and Salinas, is the quiet fishing village of Mompiche. It is the most rustic place on the list and is a perfect destination for those looking to disconnect from the 24/7/365 world and just enjoy the tranquility of living by the ocean.
Owning a Part of the Top Hidden Beaches of Ecuador
The allure of these Ecuadorian destinations has increased the interest level of those seeking a tropical destination close to the ocean. The real estate market, while still feeling effects of the 2008 recession, has a number of real jewels that can be had for a surprising affordable price.
A prime example of what you can find in these ocean side communities is this new 2 bedroom, 2 bath house overlooking the ocean for $85,000. Located in Ballenita, it could be the perfect seaside retreat or investment property in a growing area.
Some Beach, Somewhere
As can be seen from the above list, the top beaches of Ecuador provide a range of opportunities from rustic to high-end modern. Exploring them for yourself is the best way to find the sun and sand location that is right for you.
Expats choosing to retire to Ecuador are taking the “road less traveled’ and enjoying it. Though not as well-known as other popular Latin America destinations, Ecuador has an untapped potential that could make it the most popular retirement destination in the region.
There are more options for retirees in Ecuador today than ever before. Improvements in the country’s infrastructure have opened more areas for expats looking for a less cluttered existence.
Retire to Ecuador, Save Money, Live the Life You Want
Ecuador’s cost of living is certainly one of the most affordable in Latin America. It is important to remember, however, that some online claims about living there for practically nothing are overblown. Like anyplace else, how much you spend will depend on the choices you make concerning location, amenities, and luxuries.
The fact that the U.S. dollar is the currency of Ecuador is an important plus. Knowing the cost of things and not having to deal with currency exchange rates certainly makes budgeting for your retirement much easier – especially for those on fixed incomes.
Being able to buy or rent your retirement retreat at reasonable prices is one of the biggest draws of Ecuador. Even in the larger cities like Quito or Guayaquil, a spacious three-bedroom apartment can rent for under $1,500 per month. Rental and sale prices in smaller towns make finding a home much less stressful.
The lower health care costs that are offered in Ecuador certainly make living a healthy lifestyle much easier. Modern state-of-the art facilities provide high quality care at a fraction of the expense for the same procedures in the U.S. Dental care and dental tourism is another area where retiree dollars can go farther and enhance the quality of living for years to come.
An important and intangible benefit to retiring in Ecuador is the more relaxed pace of daily living. Being able to appreciate the natural beauty of the country, without the hectic approach to living found in the U.S., can make those retirement years truly “golden.”
Investment Potential Continues to Grow
A decision to retire to Ecuador may also provide the potential for a strong return on investments. There are a number of areas that are primed for new projects as expats continue to arrive seeking new housing and commercial options. In addition to already built properties, there is a growing number of undeveloped lots that are available in a variety of locations; both urban and rural.
The beach towns of Canoa and Ancon have a great deal of undeveloped and underdeveloped property that can be purchased quite reasonably. Crucita has become a world-class destination for paragliders and hang gliders. This increase in the tourist trade makes investing in rental properties a viable and potentially profitable action to consider. Along with San Clemente, this area is well on the way to becoming the next Pacific “Gold Coast.”
The beach is not the only part of Ecuador that is an attractive investment option. Cuenca, a World Heritage city in the foothills of the Andes and the Yunguilla Valley are becoming increasingly popular as expat destinations and potential retirement meccas that combine a moderate climate, rich cultural history, and affordable prices.
The Beauty of Ecuador – So Many Diverse Locations
One of the most unique features of Ecuador is the wide diversity of regions that can be your retirement destination.
For those whose idea of a tropical paradise is a cosmopolitan city with attractions and entertainments, Quito and Guayaquil are both modern and filled with the kind of amenities one might find in any major city in the U.S. These cities also are the locations of the two international airports in Ecuador; Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre in Quito and Simon Bolivar in Guayaquil.
Cuenca captures the flavor of the Andean Highlands and retains the essence of its rich colonial heritage. The coastal villages of Canoa, Ancon, San Clemente are rustic, laid-back beach communities just perfect for those looking for a more authentic Ecuadorian experience.
For those truly seeking to ‘”get away from it all,” Ecuador also has a number of island communities that could be your retirement paradise. Santa Cruz, Isla Isabella, Pena and San Cristobal are just some of the places expats are beginning to pay attention to.
The continued growth in the number of expats and retirees coming to Ecuador will increase the options available. Some of the small jungle towns, such as Banos, are in the earliest stages of moving from tourist attraction to a destination for expat arrivals to settle and develop.
Even beyond the possibilities of places to live, there are stunning natural wonders suddenly much closer if you are living in Ecuador. The Galapagos Archipelago, the Andes, and the Amazon Basin become more accessible and easier to explore; adding another dimension to the desirability of this Latin American gem.
So Many Positives to Choose Ecuador and Things to Consider
For retirees, expats looking for a tropical escape, and investors exploring new options, Ecuador has many features to commend it. Constantly improving infrastructure, growing communities of North Americans and Europeans, and affordable properties are all important reasons to retire to Ecuador.
However, even in a tropical paradise, there are a number of factors that you should examine as part of your decision-making process. First and foremost is that English, while growing in usage, is not the dominant day-to-day language – particularly in the smaller rural villages and towns. An honest appraisal of your comfort level of living someplace where communications may be challenging at times is truly an important step to a happy relocation.
A second consideration is the fact that the more rustic communities also have fewer of the modern amenities of major cities such as Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. If having ready access to high speed internet, cable television, etc. is a necessity, this could limit the potential Ecuadorian locations that might be right for you.
Patience is an important facet of expat life throughout Latin America and Ecuador is no exception. Travel, particularly where the only option is driving, can take significantly longer; repairs and improvements to infrastructure items such as roads, electricity, and even water, may involve much more time than one might find in the U.S. or Europe.
In the end, the best way to truly know if Ecuador is right for you (and if you are a good fit for Ecuador) is to talk to others who have made the decision. Do your research and, most importantly, visit this unique land of potential and promise and see if it resonates within you and makes you want to retire to Ecuador.
Do you ever feel like your dream of living on a tropical coast is just another one that’s far beyond your reach? Maybe you long for a permanent vacation from the never-ending hamster wheel, but you’re afraid you just can’t afford to make those dreams a reality.
If that’s the case, then you can’t afford not to look at Ecuador’s seven best budget beaches.
You can scale down (or up) for less.
Despite its reputation as a budget destination, Ecuador also has plenty of popular upscale beaches. Atacames and Salinas are two. If you’re looking for Miami on a budget, then look at real estate here. You’ll be surprised how much you get for your money.
You can salsa your night away with well-heeled partiers at the yacht club. Or dine in a luxurious high-rise with five-star accommodations. You’ll love the crowded umbrella-lined beaches, glamorous vibe, and South American prices.
But if you’re looking to scale down, then one of Ecuador’s seven best budget beaches can easily accommodate your lifestyle. Ecuador has one of the lowest costs of living in Latin America, and its real estate market offers many of the same bargains you’ll find across the board in this destination that’s long been a favorite among North American expats.
Another great selling point is that much of Ecuador is experiencing rapid growth in its expat communities. So much so, that in many cases, the available services and consumer offerings can’t keep up.
So if the lower price tag still isn’t enough to help you realize your goal of starting a new life in Ecuador, there’s always the opportunity to parlay the opportunity to move abroad into twice the adventure by starting an expat business.
Here are 7 of the best budget beaches in Ecuador where you can enjoy paradise without breaking the bank.
You can live in Ecuador on a budget. It’s not just a dream.
1. Olon has many treasures for you. Settle in for an up-tempo, yet tranquil lifestyle. Tropical jungle flows to the sea. Hike trails and swim in waterfalls. Watch hummingbirds, iguanas, and even wild horses.
Surf conditions are excellent. Olon’s wide, long and sandy beaches host a myriad of restaurants and kiosks. One drawback (or potential opportunity, depending on how you look at it) is that convenience shopping doesn’t exist here. Residents of Olon travel far for shopping, groceries, and services.
This gap in consumer offerings equates to the perfect place for entrepreneuring expats to open an apparel shop or maybe a convenience store for food items and sundries.
2. Canoa has a quaint, laid-back character. It’s small, but solitude is never hard to find. The long, wide beach stretches for miles.
Canoa is becoming more and more popular with foreign travelers, but it’s still mostly a small fishing village. As a result, accommodations are still limited here. So now could be the perfect time to open a guest house or lodge.
3. Ayampe is the place to go for complete serenity and tranquility. It’s essentially a wildlife sanctuary – a divine spot for yoga and meditation. From your rainforest or seaside perch, you’ll love the picturesque Los Ahorcados Islands views.
Picture a large, inviting family home made of cane and wood in a jungle setting. Or a rustic cabin with a straw roof. Ayampe is the ideal spot for building your holistic retreat. Your health-conscious customers won’t be able to resist organic fruit jams, natural soaps, and fruit-infused herbal teas.
4. Montanita (Guayas Province) means action-packed days and nights. Get ready to live it up in this multicultural party town. Picture “Little Amsterdam.”
When you’ve relaxed and people watched enough, go surf. With some of the region’s best conditions, Montanita even plays host to international surfing competitions.
If residents and visitors want to sleep soundly, they’ll most likely have to get out of town. As a result, the even more affordable areas around Montanita might be a great place for an adventure-based resort away from the noisy beach crowd.
5. Mompiche (Esmeraldas Province) Beach thrives on ecotourism. Backpackers and surfers trek to this black sand beach for one of the best surf breaks in Ecuador. But that’s not the only attraction.
Mompiche’s proximity to Mache Chindul National Reserve opens a whole new world of adventures. Whale watching is a favorite pastime. Canoe or kayak the mangroves and Rio Verde River for bird and monkey watching. Head to the jungle for a hike or horseback ride.
Like most other budget destinations, Mompiche still lacks an abundance of variety in its accommodations and services, including restaurants. As a result it’s a great up-and-coming spot where expats could get a steal on their dream property or savvy investors could find the perfect niche for launching a successful business.
6. Salango (Manabi Province) is for history, culture, art enthusiasts and conservationists. You can stay busy attending artisan workshops or spending time at the Pre-Columbian Archaeological Museum. If that’s not enough to keep you busy, Machalilla National Park outings will.
There’s always scuba diving, whale watching and endless snorkeling. You’ll adore the shallow natural aquarium and sea excursions. But your experience won’t be complete until you hit the trails on foot, horseback, or bicycle.
An outdoor outfitter store could be your calling. Everyone in Salango is hooked on nature. Stock quality hiking and biking gear, camping accessories, cameras, and binoculars.
7. Sua (Esmeraldas Province) Sua is a super tranquil setting surrounded by hills and cliffs. If you like calm water sports and little wind, Sua is the location for you.
You’ll have fun sunbathing, swimming, rowing, stand up paddle boarding, and walks around the beachfront promenade. Aside from that, there’s not much else to do.
You can always take a quick boat ride to Bird Island or the Cave of Love. Or jaunt on over to party down in nearby Atacames.
Restaurants are limited in Sua. So are activities. As a result, properties are incredibly affordable. It’s a great place for expats seeking a simple, relaxed lifestyle.
You Can Live Your Dream in Ecuador
Now you know Ecuador offers many beach communities where you can afford to simplify your life. But you can’t just dream about it. You have to dive in. Pick a spot (or two) that sparked your interest. Explore the real estate opportunities there. Your dream home (and your escape route) will suddenly become clearer. And if you still need to earn a living, there are plenty of niches ready to be filled.
Most up-and-coming tropical hotspots go through various stages of development. They’re relatively unheard of. They get discovered and developed. Expats and tourists arrive in droves from all over the globe. Prices skyrocket. And suddenly everyone is looking for the next up-and-coming destination.
Not so with Salinas, Ecuador real estate.
Unlike many of its coastal counterparts, Salinas is neither primed for or coming off some big real estate or tourism boom. It hasn’t experienced any sudden growth or development. Well, at least not in the past few decades.
When it comes to the Salinas real estate market, what you see is what you get. And what you get is a whole lot of bang for your buck in terms of beautiful beaches, great weather, modern amenities, and incredible bargains.
Salinas Has Been Growing Steadily for At Least 7 Decades
Like most popular coastal destinations, Salinas began as a quiet fishing village. However even in the early 20th century it was a popular vacation spot due to its warm, calm waters and abundance of sunshine.
While most of those visitors arrived mainly for the summer months (December to April), the establishment of a U.S. naval base in 1943 opened the door for even more tourists, particularly young women. Since that time, Salinas has steadily grown as it’s been frequented by more tourists and settled by more residents with each passing year.
The only real spike in population occurred about a decade ago when many Ecuadorians working in the shrimping business began to move their families to Salinas, turning it even more from a seasonal destination into a bustling city year-round. Today around 50,000 people call Salinas home.
Salinas, Ecuador Has All the Makings of a Dream Destination
The factors that have historically made the town popular as a vacation destination are the same ones that make Salinas, Ecuador real estate an ideal choice for many expats and investors. For starters there’s the weather.
Despite its proximity to the equator, Salinas enjoys a surprisingly mild climate, especially as tropical beach towns go. During the summer (December to April), which is the peak season, temps range from daytime highs in the mid 90s to evening lows near 70. And it’s sunny almost every single day.
From May to November an almost daily cloud cover leads to much cooler temperatures (low 70s down to low 50s). There’s also an occasional rain. In both seasons there’s a nice breeze that blows in from the sea.
The entire area boasts beautiful white to gray sand beaches and warm, clear waters. There’s also a wealth of aquatic adventures to enjoy. You can charter a boat for whale watching or game fishing or give surfing or wakeboarding a try. There are also a number of adventure companies offering activities such as parasailing, banana rides, and jetski rentals.
Does Salinas Live Up to Its Nickname?
Salinas has been dubbed by some as a “Little Miami” due to its popularity among locals and its highly developed tourist infrastructure. Can this South American beach town really compare to the glitz and glitter of South Beach? In some ways, yes. In others, heck no. And in one aspect, it blows Miami out of the water.
At first glance, yes, Salinas on a busy summer weekend could easily be confused with Miami’s crowded shore. The beach is a sea of umbrellas and oil-slicked sunbathers lined towel to towel. There are vendors and marketers crammed in everywhere, hawking their wares and plastering their logo on every exposed surface.
Stereos thump by day and discos by night (and into the wee hours of the morning). Beyond the malecon are rows of glistening high rise condo and apartment buildings. There are first-class resorts, restaurants, bars, and even a yacht club.
A Closer Look Reveals Some of the Town’s Flaws
While it does resemble Miami from a distance, there are stark differences once you come in a little closer to the Salinas crowd. For instance, even though Salinas is a highly developed city (and one of Ecuador’s only well-developed beach towns), it still isn’t a first world lifestyle.
You won’t find the same brand names and status symbols of South Beach. There are two supermarkets, a movie theater, and some small shopping centers. But you’ll have to drive a little farther to find much more than that.
Also, due to its appeal as a vacation haven and its close proximity to Guayaquil (just over an hour away), it’s extremely popular among Ecuadorians as a weekend getaway spot. (Read: It’s crowded.)
Many of these vacationers also have concern for little more than their own enjoyment. As a result, common courtesies like reasonable stereo volumes, use of trash receptacles, politeness, and other considerations are often lost on them.
Note: This kind of atmosphere obviously isn’t for everyone, for those who want a more laid-back vibe there’s Chipipe Beach which is located just on the other side of the jetty and the yacht club. It’s much quieter and more family-oriented. The beach is also wider, giving sunbathers and swimmers much more room to move around.
Why the Town’s Biggest Downside Could Be an Investor’s Greatest Advantage
If Salinas was sounding like a great place to own property right up until that last part about the throngs of loud, rude, vacationing Ecuadorians, then you’ll like this next little tidbit.
Those weekenders from Guayaquil? They pack up and leave on Sunday evening and head back to their normal lives. Salinas remains a much quieter and calmer place Monday morning through Friday afternoon.
So, perhaps a better way to look at those incoming weekenders is how an investor would see them: as a fantastic pool of potential renters. They’re the second biggest reason that Salinas, Ecuador real estate is such a smart investment.
In addition to peak season weekends, they’re also eager to visit the coast around big holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, as well as Carnival which takes place in February. Even during the off season, many Ecuadorians like to vacation in Salinas while their kids are out of school. It’s also popular with newlyweds, as it’s sort of like the Ecuadorian equivalent of a Hawaiian honeymoon.
The Number One Reason Salinas, Ecuador Real Estate Is a Great Investment
Were you wondering where on earth you would go if you decided to rent your apartment or condo in Salinas and spend your time elsewhere during parts of the year? Well, if you’re like many natives and expats who own property there, you could go to your city flat for a few days or spend a week enjoying your mountain hideaway.
Due to the unbelievably low cost of real estate in Salinas (not to mention the equally low cost of living), it’s entirely possible–and quite common–for its residents to own two or even three homes in several of Ecuador’s diverse regions and climates.
Just how cheap is it? Well, relatively speaking, Salinas, Ecuador real estate represents one of the lowest priced real estate markets in the single lowest-priced country in the world, according to real estate giant Coldwell Banker (as of 2011).
I say “relatively,” because there a lot of places in the world where you can buy property for rock-bottom prices. But there are hardly any where you can enjoy top-notch amenities in an incredible setting the way you can in Salinas.
Its incredibly low real estate prices are the one area where Miami doesn’t hold a candle to Salinas.
On top of the affordable properties, things like entertainment, food, and other consumer goods are also extremely cheap in Salinas, as they are throughout Ecuador. You can eat a delicious meal of freshly caught seafood, including oysters and shrimp ceviche, for $8 or less and wash it down with a 20 ounce beer for a buck.
Just How Much Salinas, Ecuador Real Estate Will Your Money Buy?
So, that’s how much it costs to eat and drink in Salinas, but it’s time to get down to brass tacks. To give you an idea of what kind of real bargains are out there, here are a few of the actual listings currently on the market in Salinas.
A mere $70,000 buys you 4 bedrooms/4 baths spread out over a whopping 2,690 square feet with a city view that comes fully furnished.
For $120,000 you get a brand new home in a small gated community with a modern American-style kitchen, a shared pool, and a view of the beach a half block away.
With $200,000 you can have a 3/3 in a brand new beachfront development that’s centrally located and boasts the finest amenities and high-end finishes.
With prices like these it’s easy to see why Salinas, Ecuador real estate is such a tempting purchase. It offers almost everything there is to love about a South Florida beach town, but at a fraction of the cost.
And, if you’re willing to overlook the influx of rowdy weekenders, or even use them to your benefit, then it could be the ideal place for you to own the beachfront property of your dreams. The only way to know is to try the place on for size. Just make sure to experience both seasons before you decide.
Map of Salinas, Ecuador
Salinas, Ecuador Fast Facts
There are many things you could say about Salinas, Ecuador. And comments from first-time visitors often fall all over the spectrum, from fabulous to formidable. And everything in between.
Indeed, to say this resort town is polarizing would be a gross understatement. It’s a place of stark contrasts, from its reception by travelers to its weather to its varying influx of tourists as the seasons change.
We’ll give you the lowdown about what there is to love and hate about this South American beach community, but first here are the facts about Salinas, Ecuador Real Estate.
Salinas is located 90 miles from Guayaquil, a bustling port city and Ecuador’s largest. The beach is divided in half by a jetty, which houses the Salinas Yacht Club. To the north is Salinas Beach, and south of the jetty lies Chipipe Beach which has a little bit more of a family atmosphere.
It’s visited mostly by Ecuadorian families who come down for the weekend. However it also draws some of Ecuador’s elite, particularly those who come to the yacht club. It’s also popular among newlyweds and could be equated to a Hawaiian honeymoon for an American couple.
First things first. There are some really great things about Salinas, Ecuador. Best of all would have to be the price tag. Salinas offers some decent amenities at a lower cost than you’ll find almost anywhere.
You can get a hotel room for $30 per night, a steak dinner for $6, and as much fish or shrimp as you can eat–prepared any way you want it–for $3 at the market. Even property prices are reasonable, as a 3-bedroom/3-bath condo (with a maid’s quarters) in one of the impressive high-rise buildings will only set you back about $130,000.
Note, you’ll probably only want to use that condo during November through January when the weather is gorgeous. Not so much the rest of the year. But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves…
The good news is that you shouldn’t have any trouble renting your place out to some Ecuadorians who live in the surrounding areas. Many like to visit Salinas in June to September, when their kids are out of school.
Rounding out the “good” list, Salinas also offers a lot of water sports and activities. At least during the peak season, which is generally December through April. You can charter a boat for game fishing or whale watching. Adventure companies offer skydiving and parasailing. You can also try surfing or wakeboarding.
As we mentioned, the weather in Salinas, Ecuador is really, really nice during the high season. As a result, tourists flock to it in droves. It looks like Miami in that sunbathers literally line every square inch of the beach. Well, except the part just off the promenade that’s littered with millions of painful, sharp broken seashells.
In addition to the crowdedness, or as a result of it, it’s incredibly noisy. And dirty. Cars crawl along the crowded streets, bringing in even more tourists. Street vendors line the malecon, the beachfront esplanade, hawking everything from souvenirs to shrimp on a stick.
Hosts of businesses and brands also line up to capitalize on the opportunity to market to thousands of visitors all crammed into one place. Inflatables and advertisements are everywhere, and virtually every exposed surface in town has someone’s logo plastered on it.
So, that’s Salinas, Ecuador in the peak season. What’s the off-season like?
The crowded, bustling beach is virtually empty, and the place turns into a ghost town. And all for good reason. The beautiful weather of the busy season is replaced by chilly temperatures, and the sky is overcast almost every day. This often comes as quite a shock to unsuspecting tourists, many of whom have gone so far as to describe the scene as “depressing.”
Many visitors to Salinas are also disappointed in the availability and quality of shopping and dining. This sparseness is even more exaggerated during the off-season when a lot of businesses that cater to tourists don’t operate.
There isn’t even a decent supermarket in Salinas, as the nearest one is 10 minutes away in La Libertad. This presents a bit of a problem, since safety can be a bit of a concern the farther you venture from the beachfront resort area.
During the peak season, the tourist area is patrolled by a whole battalion of police officers and private security guards. But the area farther from the coast is industrial and impoverished-looking. Again, quite the contrast from the glitz and glitter of the coast.
Then again, much of Ecuador’s coast is undeveloped. So, the amenities and infrastructure are about what can be expected for a city this size.
Salinas, Ecuador Summary
Salinas is a really great deal. But it’s only a great deal if you’re prepared to deal with overcrowded beaches, underwhelming food options, and nothing but tumbleweeds blowing down the street in the off-season.
If you’re looking for a serene, tropical paradise where you can lie undisturbed on the beach and enjoy the scenery year-round, this isn’t it.
There is plenty of sun and sand on the coasts of Ecuador, where some of the region’s most pristine and undeveloped beaches can be found. We’ve rounded out the top five Ecuador beaches to get you started.
1. Atacames, Province of Esmeraldas
If you want to escape the typical foreign tourist locations, Atacames offers a long strip of wide, sandy beach and a lively party atmosphere. Be warned; it is very popular with the locals who flock there on holidays and weekends. Probably one of the Ecuador beaches to avoid if you’re looking for more off the beat and path.
2. Muisne, Province of Esmeraldas
If you want a quieter, more relaxing experience, Muisne is an ideal location. The beach is a long, quiet strip of sand on an island just off the coast and requires a short boat ride.
3. Montanita, Province of Guayas
Montanita is where the surfers go, with large waves, best attempted by intermediate to expert surfers. The easiest way to get to Montanita is by bus from Guayaquil.
4. Salinas, Province of Guayas
If you are looking for a developed beach town with a great deal of activities, then choose Salinas. Two hours from the busy port city of Guayaquil, Salinas is one of the most upscale beaches in the country, with many high-end resorts and five-star hotels towering along the shore.
5. Canoa, Province of Manabí
This picturesque, sleepy fishing town is ideal for a relaxing getaway. Although popular with foreigners, it is not as crowded as some of the more well-known beaches in Ecuador. The beach is long and wide, and often empty, stretching on for miles. Canoa Ecuador is one of our pics up and coming spots.
Which Ecuador beaches are your favorites?