5 amazing beaches in Ecuador (that are not Montañita)
The beaches in Ecuador are some of the most lovely in South America. Their year-round warm waters, great waves and snorkelling locations means there is something for everyone.
Why explore other beaches in Ecuador, beyond Montañita
Just to make clear, we absolutely adore Montañita and we have plenty of advice for your visit there. But, if you are not a party animal and are looking for some alternatives beyond it, you’re in the right place.
Canoa is a laid back village on a beautiful never-ending beach. It’s kind of similar to Montañita, but smaller and less crowded. With a direct night bus from Quito, nice hotels, and great surfing, Canoa is a perfect retreat. You can find plenty of beach bars along the main part of town, but also escape to nearby hotels where you can’t hear the music. Hotel Bambu is one of our favorite places to stay, with lovely staff, amaaazing food (the breakfast bolon is to die for) and sea views.
Cheaper options include Hostal Rutamar, a beautiful wooden structure just off the main road, or Hostal CasAmigo for those on a really tight budget. Once you’re settled in make sure to have a fresh juice or ice cold coconut, and grab the best shrimp “al ajillo” – a coconut and garlic sauce – in the world at Saboreame 2 a delightful food hut on the beach itself. Surfing here is amazing, along with horse riding, paragliding, and great yoga classes it will never get boring here! Which is one it is one of our favorites beaches in Ecuador.
Mompiche is a unique little fishing village located in the region of Esmeraldas, quite different from other beaches in Ecuador. Possibly the most stunning thing about this beach is that it’s cradled by tropical forest, where howler monkeys and other species live. A 20 minute walk from the village will take you to Playa Negra, the black beach. This breathtaking alcove is a beach where minerals make the sand black sparkly like the night sky. The definition of #instagood. Also, food and accommodation are cheap, with a set lunch meal including fresh fish costing about $3, and hostels offering a bed in a dorm from $8. If you can, try and get a room with a view to make the most out of this gorgeous landscape. And just like Montañita, it has amazing waves for surfers.
Puerto Lopez, Poor Man’s Galapagos and Los Frailes
Puerto Lopez is a larger town well worth visiting for the surrounding attractions. A short boat ride away is Isla de la Plata, commonly known as poor man’s Galapagos, where you can find blue footed boobies, sharks, and, if you’re lucky, albatrosses. Whales also migrate here and you can see them from June to October on the way to the island. A typical tour will take you by boat, on a walking tour of the island and finally snorkelling on its beautiful rocks. If you are diver this is one of the best spots in the country to jump in the water.
Another reason to come to Puerto Lopez is Los Frailes, one of the most stunning beaches in Ecuador. This beach is part of a protected area and is kept beautifully clean. A short walk to the end of the beach will take you to Tortugas, a great location to snorkel. While you visit, make sure to eat at Bellitalia, probably the best Italian food in all of Ecuador.
Ayampe is only a short distance from Puerto Lopez and Montañita, but it deserves a mention of its own. If you are looking to get away from loud music, Ayampe is the destination for you. Very much a fishing village, Ayampe has lovely fresh food available, beautiful sunsets and good surfing. Try Hostal Las Orishas for a laid back stay and great food. If you want to escape the chaos in Montañita, this is the ideal place.
Known amongst Quiteños as a popular holiday location, Atacames is a larger town on the coast of Esmeraldas province and one of the most crowded beaches in Ecuador. Atacames caters for those looking for loud reggaeton, cheap drinks and ceviche. Cabañas Isla del Sol is perfect for backpackers, but generally speaking the tourists here are mostly Ecuadorians. Atacames is a great starting point to explore nearby beaches like Sua and Same, which are short bus rides away.