The Coast of Ecuador | Montañita, Olón, Puerto López & Isla de la Plata

Updated: May 4

In this article, I will share with you the best beaches in Ecuador for surfing and chilling.


Everything you need to know about the coast of Ecuador.

  1. Montañita

  2. Olón

  3. Puerto López & Isla de la Plata

  4. Salinas and Manta

  5. The most beautiful beaches in Ecuador

  6. The best beaches in Ecuador for surfing

  7. Video

Montañita

If you are planning to visit the coast of Ecuador you definitely have heard of Montañita. Whilst traveling Ecuador locals and international tourists, everyone was recommending us this place and I can see why. It is a perfect party getaway spot. I am more into surfing and some chill time on the beach so Montañita was just too much for me. It is a small beach down offering a great wide beach with water activities but the town is full only of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Occasional pop-up stores and some pharmacies also. Other than that, there is nothing else. The party there though is 24/7, from Monday to Sunday. So if you are looking for a proper party place then Montañita is an ideal place for you.


If you will book your accommodation in the town, then be prepared to listen to music until 4 am. There are a few hotels and hostels 5 minutes outside Montañita town center, so that could be a good alternative if you want to party but not every day. The taxi is around 1 to 2 USD to get to the town from the surrounding areas.


One amazing food place I have to mention in Montanita is Ezzios Pizza. Honestly the best pizza I've ever had! They also do deliveries at +593 93 947 8033.


Also a very cheap and good local Ecuadorian food - Trebol! They serve massive portions.


It is quite hard to find vegetarian and almost impossible vegan options in the town, but there is one amazing breakfast and lunch place - Good Vibes Cafe. They offer gluten and lactose-free options and the food is really good!


For ice cream lovers, I highly recommend Fior Di Latte! They have a brownie taste ice cream which is my absolute favorite!


So if you are more like me and want a chill surf spot, then I have a great alternative to Montañita - Olón!

Olón

Olón is only 5min drive away from Montañita, so you still can have all the parties available to you within 5min drive, but at the same time, you are staying in a chill little town by the beach with some of the best waves for beginners and professionals.


In total, we spent around 10 days in Olón, and every day the waves were great. Some days smaller, some bigger but either way all days beginners and professionals could find some for themselves. There are a few surfboard rentals on the beach. The average price for 1h is 5 USD and for a 1h lesson 25 USD. The beach also has many beach bars for drinks and food.


The town itself is very small, but still, it has some great food places. My favorites are:

A lot of people recommended us the Indian restaurant by the beach so we had to try it and I must admit, the service was terrible. We waited almost 2 hours for our food. I promise it was at least 1 hour and a half and I am not being dramatic. The food was good but nothing outrageous.


Our stay in Olón was extra special because of the place we were staying at - Casa Olonche. The place is away from everything, with a super-chill vibe featuring a pool, hot tub, gym, spa, and amazing bright rooms. The place is an absolute dream. More about my stay there you can read here: https://www.alikitravelblog.com/post/casa-olonche-olon-ecuador


Also, next to the hotel (a 3min walk) is the best Peruvian restaurant we have ever been to - Causa.

Puerto López & Isla de la Plata

If you fancy a nice day out or a boat trip, then I definitely recommend Puerto López. Just an hour away from Montañita it is another beautiful beach town offering various boat trips. The bus from Montañita to Puerto López costs 2.50 USD per person.


The best day trip I can recommend to you is the one to Isla de la Plata. Locals refer to it as the 'mini-Galapagos' but I can assure you it's nowhere near Galapagos. Said that I still think it is a great day out and you will experience something very unique. The island has a very condensed marine bird population, so once you're hiking through the island you will be surrounded by 1000s of birds. I absolutely loved it, being with birds in their natural habitat. If you are lucky, you will also see some seals.

The tours are fairly standard and there are several agencies offering them, so you can just arrive in Puerto Lopez in the evening and book one for the next day, or just be ready, leave your hotel early, around 8 am, and book one on the spot. The tour usually includes a hike around the island with a guide, lunch, and snorkeling equipment. The snorkeling quality depends on the visibility of that day, but you should definitely see some turtles around.


Another very popular tour from Puerto López is a whale watching tour. Again the same system, book the night in advance or early in the morning. Only this tour is only available from June to September, as those are only 3 months whales come from Antarctica. Rest of the year you won't see them.


Salinas and Manta

If you fancy more of a city vibe next to the beach so you have more shopping and food options, then my 2 picks are Salinas and Manta. All the locals always advised us that those 2 towns are the prettiest on the coast and definitely worth a visit.


Salinas is more of a fancy option as many locals are investing in properties around Salinas and there you will find some of the best beach resorts in the whole of Ecuador. There you will also find yacht clubs so you can access Ecuador that way, whereas other little towns do not have that. Salinas has a beautiful promenade and a few museums so definitely more fancy city vibe by the coast than the little towns I mentioned above.


Said that Salinas actually has a very good beach for surfing too - Punta Carnero. Even some international competitions have been held there. So I think Salinas has something for everyone and is only 3h drive away from Guayaquil. It all depends on your preference.


Manta has always been an important point in Ecuador of its port. So this city has been a popular travel destination for a while now. Similar to Salinas it features museums, many different restaurants, and offers some entertainment, so much busier than the small town down the coast.


Manta is famous for fishing and exporting Tuna. So if you are a tuna lover, then here you will find some of the freshest and finest tuna dishes.


The most beautiful beaches in Ecuador

All the above are great places where to settle for a while and then from there travel to other different coastal destinations. But if you are here just to see and experience the best beaches in Ecuador then here is the list of the most beautiful ones:


  1. Ayangue Beach

  2. Playa Los Frailes

  3. Canoa Beach

  4. Puerto López Beach

  5. San Lorenzo Beach


Canoa and San Lorenzo beaches are also good for surfing.




Of course, some of the best beaches in Ecuador are on the Galapagos islands. For example. Tortuga Bay (Turtle Bay) is one of the most recommended ones.

The best beaches in Ecuador for surfing:

  1. Olon - my personal favorite!

  2. Mompiche

  3. Puerto Cayo

  4. Punta Carnero

  5. Ayampe


Get the vibe of the coast of Ecuador in this video:

If you want to get more ideas for your trip to Ecuador, check out my summary of all the best places to visit in Ecuador!