When we decided to move to Ecuador we needed to make a choice between the mountains or the coast. “Why?” you may ask. It was a fresh start in every aspect, including our surroundings.
Our family is from a mountainous region in California, and I have to say, I love the mountains. In our move however, we were going for different. For us different meant heading to the coast. So, now we are settled into Manta, Ecuador.
While living here, we have had the opportunity to travel up and down the coast. I’m going to introduce you to the beautiful coastline of Ecuador.
The closest beach is, of course, here in Manta. This is Playa Murciélago. It is a pretty popular spot to visit. Even though it is a big beach it fills up with people from all over Ecuador on the weekends. Most are just in Manta for the day, but some stay for the entire weekend. The boardwalk area is lined with restaurants of local cuisine, which means lots of seafood. On the beach you will find chairs with shade cover for rent as well as vendors walking the beach with snack items or trinkets. Because Manta sits in a bay the ocean waves are relatively calm, so you will also see lots of people frolicking in the waves.
Just twenty minutes south of Manta you will come to Playa San Mateo. It is located in a small fishing village, but if you are a surfer you may like this beach. It can get crowded on the weekends, since it is such a short beach, but some of the locals from Manta say that this beach is their favorite.
Another 10 minutes of travel time and you will find yourself in Playa Santa Marianita. This beach is famous here in Ecuador for its kite surfing, and there are a couple of operations that offer lessons in kitesurfing. There are also places that offer accommodations if you fall in love with this new found sport and want to stay awhile. You can also choose where you want to eat lunch among the many small restaurants along the beach. They are not as fancy as the restaurants you find in Manta but the food is good. This is the beach we will head off to if we want a morning away from the city and a great seafood lunch on the beach.
Playa San Lorenzo is the next beach you will discover on the coastline south of Manta.
This beach is about 30 minutes from Manta. The road you travel on from Manta to San Lorenzo is beautiful since you will travel through a mini rainforest area. As you leave this mini rainforest you catch sight of the pacific ocean below and you are struck by its beauty. Playa San Lorenzo is also a small fishing village, but foreigners are starting to fall in love with it, so you may find a few there if you visit. This is the beach where the turtles nest, and if you are lucky you can see them make their way to the ocean. There is also a hike to the lighthouse with fabulous views at the top.
These are the beaches that are closest to our home in Manta, and the beaches that we frequent the most. It is a toss up which one could be called my favorite. I like each beach for different reasons. I like Playa Murciélago, since it is a 10 minute walk from my home. I like Playa Santa Marianita for the food, and Playa San Lorenzo is a great beach to get away from it all for the day.
Stay tuned for the next stretch of the southern beaches. Another day I will post part 2 of going South, and then, I will take you to the beaches to the north of Manta.
written by deborah