Perhaps you are still dazzled by the cultural and natural wealth of the Ecuadorian highlands and the Amazon that you have not yet considered taking a trip to the Ecuadorian coast before you make the jump to the Galapagos Islands. If that is so, reconsider! There’s so much to see in the coast, so much to eat, and definitely so much room for potential refreshing naps by the sea. From laid back hideaways, swell surf towns, snug beach resorts, and colorful fishing villages the Ecuadorian coast is still yet to be discovered — by you.
Our trip begins in the northern coast of Ecuador in the Province of Esmeraldas. While you can certainly choose more crowded beaches Mompiche offers the exquisite balance between having enough visitors to make it entertaining and being hidden enough to still remain a quiet and relaxing hideout. Upon a tropical and lush backdrop Mompiche is a beach for the visitor who is comfortable in their own skin, rubbing against the golden sands book in hand and welcoming of the soothing sea sounds. Laid back and cozy, it is a place to sit back and let life unfurl in each wave while just… taking it slow.
Those who want adventure, but family friendly adventure will fare excellently at Puerto Lopez. Heading south by the coastline we leave the northernmost Esmeraldas to meet the next coastal jewel, Puerto Lopez beach, in the ever sun-kissed province of Manabí. As the starting point to Machalilla National Park, Puerto Lopez is at the privileged position to offer visitors a tropical and cozy getaway. After a good-day’s-work visiting the nearby Plata island with its adorable blue-footed boobies, Salango island for quick snorkeling session, and Los Frailes beach with its jaw-dropping beauty. Seafood in Puerto Lopez is as succulent as it can get in a charming fishing town and the beach is gifted with calm waters perfect for the youngest ones.
Of course different personalities have different needs and some of us prefer a bit more of a spark. And of course by that I mean some delux spark. If this is so then Salinas is the place to go. Traveling south across the pacific coast of Ecuador we find ourselves arriving at the province of Santa Elena. A true holiday resort, hotels and apartment buildings line the iconic Malecón of Salinas. Here, a variety of restaurants and bars offer visitors high-quality gastronomy while the sea provides a warm and relaxing sight. Salinas is a popular city and Punta Carnero (Ram Point) is its surfer’s beach by definition. One of the absolute best things to do in Salinas is welcoming a new year there, besides the parties the city is known for having one of the best New Year’s Eve fireworks displays of the entire country.
These are but a few wonderful stops along the Route of the Sun, but what exactly is this sunny route? If you have the spark of the explorer and the itch of the curious then this trip is an absolute must for you and your family. The Ruta del Sol is the name given to the picturesque route along the Ecuadorian coastline starting in Salinas and stretching to Esmeraldas. It crosses scenic villages, runs along the sea offering fantastic views, cuts across the majestic coastal mountain range, and passes by many must-see, must-stay beaches and foodie stops. Unless you speak spanish the best way to profit the most from your visit to the Ecuadorian coast is with a guided tour that will ensure a safe trip for you and your family and the freedom to sightsee instead of driving.
A tick off the bucket list is an absolute necessity, the Galapagos Islands is that bucket list requirement. But what is not a necessity but is instead a privilege of those with unhurried souls is to get to know, to really get to know, the ground they are currently standing on. Therefore, those easygoing explorers will take the time to visit the Ecuadorian coast and know for sure that they really became acquainted with this wonderfully diverse country.