3 Great Beaches in Ecuador

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A friend who just got back from Ecuador reminded me the other day how brilliant the beaches are here. You might not think of Ecuador as being the sort of place for hitting the sand but there are actually some amazing beaches around the country and I went to three of them.

If you love beaches then there are plenty more to explore but these are the ones I got to.

Atacames

If you like a gritty, built-up and lively feel to your beach resorts then Atacames (pictured above) on the North Coast is a good choice. When I travelled here it was packed with tourists and had a buzzing nightlife. There are some great bars down on the beach where you can drink an exotic cocktail while feeling the sand between your toes. Surfing is popular here, although apparently there is the risk of shark attacks to think about. This town feels a bit edgier and potentially more dangerous than anywhere else I went to in Ecuador, so you will want to keep your wits about you if you stay here. This place will always live long in my memory for the game of barefoot multi-national soccer I joined on the beach. I ended up with a sunburned back and blistered feet but after I have had a few drinks I have been known to tell the tale of the great goal I scored. It isn’t the most relaxing beach in the world but if you want a party and to have some fun then it is a nice spot. Getting here from Quito is reasonably easy and cheap. Expect to travel for about 6 and a half hours for under $10.

Canoa

canoabeachAt the completely opposite end of the scale, Canoa is about as peaceful and laidback a beach resort as you can find anywhere. We stayed in beach cabins here, while the nearby restaurant was fantastic for lounging around in and around for a few hours. At night time, the locals appear to have a habit of parking outside the bars in pickup trucks and just dancing in the back of their trucks rather than going in to the bar. It makes for a weird sort of atmosphere and turns it into a unique kind of destination. Despite appearing to be fairly well off the beaten track, Canoa is relatively popular with adventurous travelers and surfers. It is the kind of cool place where you can unwind and let a few days glide past while you enjoy relaxing on the beach. From Quito you need to change buses in Bahia de Caraquez or find the one daily bus that goes directly there (I couldn’t find it). One word of warning for all of the Pacific Coast is that the waves are incredibly powerful here.

Coco Solo

filename-dsc-5949-jpgIt is hard to find any information on the internet about this quiet, remote beach. I am not even sure if that photo is of the right place. My memories are of walking along the long, deserted beach while a pickup truck drove alongside us, before watching the sun set over the palm trees on the beach. I went here with a group of other voluntary workers while working in a nearby jungle resort. The local workers took us, so I don’t even really know where it is. I think that it is somewhere near the town of San Vicente, or maybe not. I genuinely have no idea whether I could ever find this place again but I loved it. I just need to close my eyes and I can recall how we sat at the edge of the water singing La Bamba while the day came to a spectacular end with the sun dipping behind the horizon.

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2 Responses to 3 Great Beaches in Ecuador

  1. That’s funny that the locals dance in the back of their pick-ups at Canoa Beach :-). You’re right, though, about not equating Ecuador with beaches. Ecuador for us means the Galapagos (and there are some brilliant beaches there).
    Sand In My Suitcase recently posted…The “Temple Whisperer”: Turning love for Indonesian art into Hotel Tugu LombokMy Profile

  2. I haven’t been to any beaches in Ecuador but some of the Galapagos Island beaches were truly stunning!

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