Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, yet it has a lot to offer. From jungle, to mountains and volcanos, to the coast and the Galapagos Islands. With so much variety it is hard to chose.
But today we are going to focus on the Ecuadorian coast. And to be more precise in the Ruta del Spondylus. This is the name that the highway around the coast is known for.
The Ecuadorian coast is located in the Pacific ocean. The water here is usually pretty warm all year around. In some beaches you will find a lot of waves, making swimming sometimes dangerous, but other beaches will be really calm.
La ruta del Spondylus
La ruta del Sopondylus goes from the north of Ecuador until the south, all along the coast. The beauty about this highway is that you will be driving along the coast all the time, so you will have always a view of the water.
Inside la ruta del Spondylus, we find la ruta del Sol, which is the most famous. This one goes from the south of the Manabí province until Salinas.
With about 640 km of coastline, this route can be done all at once in 1 or 2 days, or you can take it slowly and take as long as you want to complete it. The best option is to rent a car and do it as fast as you want. But if you don’t want to drive there are always buses that can take you from one stop the next one, or taxi.
The Spondylus route takes its name from the Spondylus shell. This shell was sacred and venerated as a symbol of richness by the inhabitants of the pre-columbian South America.
This route shows the history and archeology of the pre-columbian cultures, the flora and fauna, allows you to relax in the beautiful beaches and taste the excellent food.
It is a big city on the north of Ecuador and one of the first on the route. It is always busy since is one of the biggest cities on the route. Here you can find the afro-ecuadorian culture, a very active community with great music.
The legend says that a boat full of slaves sunk in front of the coasts of Esmeraldas. The slaves found freedom in the Ecuadorian city and settled there.
It has also beautiful beaches and a lot of sleeping opportunities, from hostels to big resorts.
Mompiche is one of the best beach spots in the north of Ecuador. It has beautiful beaches with fine sand and big waves. That makes it also a perfect spot for surfers. It is surrounded by an amazing tropical forest. It also has an exotic beach with black sand. Definitely worth a stop.
Canoa has a big line of coast, so it allows you to enjoy the beaches. It is also a great spot for surfers due to its big waves.
The city is not known for being very nice, but it has beautiful beaches in and around the city. In Manta you can visit the playa del Murciélago, which is in the city. It has a nice boardwalk along the beach, with a lot of restaurants. The beach here is very wide. From here you can also visit the beaches of San Mateo and San Lorenzo.
Playa Los Frailes
It is located in the Machalilla National Park. This beach is pretty much untouched with beautiful flora and fauna. Here you can do some snorkelling too.
Isla de la Plata
Isla de la plata is located about a 1 hour boat ride from the Ecuadorian coast. Boat tours start in Puerto Lopez. Here you will find flora and fauna very similar to the Galapagos Islands. Between the species you can see there you will find the blue-footed booby and big sea turtles. The underwater life is also amazing, so snorkelling is a must.
From Puerto Lopez you can also go on whale watching form June to October.
Olón is a small town by the coast. It is a rustical town, growing slowly. Here you can find very nice accommodation and quite beaches. On the beach there are nice restaurants to enjoy some typical seafood. It is really close to Montañita, so you can stay here if you want to be in a more relaxed environment.
Montañita is probably the most known town in the Spondylus route. It is a very common destination for everyone looking to have a good time. It has great waves so it attracts many surfers from all around the world. But it is also known for its parties and hippie lifestyle which makes it also a common destination.
These town is full of hostels, shops and bars and restaurants. The streets are always packed with tourist looking to have a good time.
It is a small traditional Ecuadorian beach. The beach is very quiet, with no waves. It is also a fishermans town so you will see a lot of boats on the beach. Here you can also enjoy traditional meals and get nice cocktails by the beach.
This beach is known because the sand has a bit of a pinkish colour. It is a very quiet beach to enjoy with your family and friends when you want to relax. It is a private beach nowadays so you have to pay 2$ for the parking. It has a restaurant where you can eat and drink something.
It is a very common destination for Ecuadorian people. Here the beaches are packed during high season, which is from January to April. It is a modern beach town that offers a lot of resort options along the beach.
Here you have La Chocolatera, which is located inside the military station found in Salinas. This is the point of land in Ecuador that sticks the furthest out in the pacific ocean. Here the waves crash with huge intensity. On the other side of the Chocolatera you can find La Loberia, where you can find sea lions.
Playas is one of the most southern beaches in Ecuador. This place has one of the best climates in the world. Here you can enjoy about 14km of beach. It has really nice little restaurants all along the beach where you can eat fresh fish and typical dishes. It has really nice accommodation places, most of them just a couple of steps away from the beach.