Nothing beats hanging out on a beautiful beach for a few days. And Ecuador boasts a long stretch of Pacific coastline and countless beautiful beaches offering golden sands, blue waters, isolated bays, beachside parties and some great surf spots. Here are 7 of the best beaches in Ecuador.

1. Mompiche

Mompiche beach in Ecuador — © David Ceballos / Flickr.
Mompiche beach in Ecuador — © David Ceballos / Flickr.

Mompiche is one of those postcard-perfect places that you don’t want to leave. It’s a quaint little fishing village just south of the city of Esmeraldas that’s perfect for beach bums looking for some nature and an authentic, local beach experience. You’ve got over 4 miles of beach to explore so it’s easy to lose the other beach goers and find just the right secluded spot to chill with a good book and watch the sun setting over the wide sandy beach. The village is also famous for its fresh seafood and you might even catch sight of the fisherman bringing in your fish before you eat it.

2. Playa Escondida

Playa Escondida is just what the name suggests. Tucked away in around 100 acres of lush protected rainforest, it’s one of those hidden beach paradises for those looking to switch off their cellphone and go off the grid for a few days, immersing themselves in nature. It doesn’t offer the powdery white sands that you might expect but it’s a more rugged beach paradise with striking black sands and lots of caves and rocks to explore.

3. Canoa

Canoa beach in Ecuador — © descubriendoelmundo / Flickr.
Canoa beach in Ecuador — © descubriendoelmundo / Flickr.

If you love long strolls along expansive sandy beaches pondering the universe then this is Ecuador’s longest stretch of idyllic beach extending over 10 miles. It’s also got some giant waves for surfing enthusiasts and some very Zen spots for keen yogis. The impressive cliffs that border the beach and rows of colorful fishing boats further add to its charm and make it a very instagrammable spot. While the beach is stunning, the small town, although still quite underdeveloped and off-the-beaten-track, attracts a lot of tourists and expats and can get very crowded on the weekends.

4. Atacames

For those looking for a bit more action and better amenities, Atacames is a popular resort town with the Ecuadoreans. There are bars and clubs aplenty blaring loud music and neon lights along with stalls selling tourist tat. That said it has a certain charm about it and is a good starting point before you move on to other neighboring coastal spots such as Same and Sua whose idyllic beaches are clean and quiet and attract a wealthier crowd. Playa Tonsupa is also another hot spot close by with a fun, happening vibe.

5. Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez beach resort in Ecuador — © Alejandro Miranda / Pixabay.
Puerto Lopez beach resort in Ecuador — © Alejandro Miranda / Pixabay.

Puerto Lopez has a gritty Latino vibe about it that, if you’re new to that part of the world, you might find it appealing. The fishing town sits next to a beautiful beach and a scenic backdrop of rugged hills and it’s a great place for scuba diving, snorkeling and whale watching, with day trips to the nearby Isla La Plata. It also acts as the gateway into the enchanting Machalilla National Park that with its abundant wildlife, untouched beaches and lush forests is the closest thing you’ll get to the Galapagos Islands if your budget won’t stretch to visit the real thing. Within the park, Playa Los Frailes is arguably one of Ecuador’s finest beaches with those pristine golden sands and turquoise waters that you dream of. Sadly the word is out and it can get quite busy on the weekends so pick your day and time wisely.

6. Montañita

Montañita — Known as best surfing spot in Ecuador — © Charly Torres / Pixabay.
Montañita — Known as best surfing spot in Ecuador — © Charly Torres / Pixabay.

You either love Montañita or you hate it. It’s considered THE nightlife town so if you’re a party animal that enjoys strong cocktails and late nights then it’s the perfect beach holiday destination. Montañita’s beach is also one of the prettiest surrounded by verdant hills and a quaint cluster of buildings that reach the beachfront. It attracts lots of backpackers and surfers and has a welcoming, laidback, youthful vibe. If you’re looking for some quiet beach time, head there in the morning before the nighttime revelers have woken up. It’s also a good place for paragliding or scuba diving.

7. Playas

As you might guess, this town is built around the playa. It is one of the most popular resort towns in Ecuador with a slew of great seafood restaurants supplied by the local fishermen on a daily basis. The main beach Playa General Villamil is 8 miles long and is great for swimming and snorkeling. It’s also a prime spot for dolphin watching and there are various tours available.

Discovered any other great beaches in Ecuador? Share them with our readers in the comments section below.

Originally published on Ailola by Sophie Lloyd on July 9, 2019.