In my first post about the beaches of Ecuador, “The Southern Route From Manta”, we stopped in San Lorenzo. It has a beautiful beach and amazing views. In this post I would like to take you further down the coast to the next beautiful beach.
This beach is a desolate one; it is Playa San Jose. If you are traveling southward from San Lorenzo, it is only about twenty minutes. If you are traveling from Manta, it is about an hour. You will first see a gated community bearing the same name. After that, you will look for a dirt road that goes off to the right. There is a sign for the beach, so when you start down this dirt road and think that perhaps you are heading in the wrong direction, don’t worry; the beach is there. Just keep going. When you get there you won’t believe that you have this beautiful area all to yourself. This beach goes for miles and miles, as far as the eye can see.
Another 10 minutes down the main road will bring you to Puerto Cayo. This is a neat and clean town with a neat and clean beach. Again, on the weekends it will fill up with visitors, but during the week you will have it to yourself. There are also places here in Puerto Cayo that have some great seafood. You will find a busier beach if you continue down the road twenty more minutes to Puerto Lopez. As you travel down the highway towards Puerto Lopez, the highway passes Los Frailes beach, set in Machalillia’s national park, one of Ecuador’s prettiest beaches. Los Frailes has clear warm waters that are great for swimming.
Playa Puerto Lopez has a newly remodeled boardwalk with restaurants and souvenir shops. It is also the hot spot during Whale season. Whale season is July, August and September, and here you can hire a boat to take you whale watching. They also offer trips to Isla de la Plata, otherwise known as the poor man’s galapagos. There are lots of things to do here, so, if you choose to stay, there are accommodations.
Back on the road, you will pass many more beautiful beaches as you head to the next stop, Montanita, a popular surf destination. Montanita is a quaint little town with shops and hostels that dot the small town streets. This town has a hippie twist that draws foreigners from all over the world. Montanita is also considered one of the most appealing beaches in Ecuador. If you like lounging on the beach all day and partying at night this is the beach for you.
Another hour south from Montanita you will come to Salinas, Ecuador’s largest coastal resort. This is the last beach I will write about on the southern route, even though it is not the southernmost beach. Salinas is a popular tourist spot for people who live in Guayaquil. Salinas is the most popular upscale beach in Ecuador with high-rise condo’s and hotels that clutter the coastline. It has a lot to offer for the beach goer.
On the beach in Salinas, shaded chairs are offered for a low price, and the water is warm and calm. There are restaurants, upscale or modest, shops with souvenirs and more. If you enjoy the night scene there are a variety of clubs.
Of these beaches, Los Frailes is my favorite. It is quiet, but not too quiet. The waters are warm and calm. I like to walk the beach, check out the sea life, or make the hike to the top of the hill for the view. Then, at the end of the day, it is a short drive to Playa Puerto Lopez where there is food and shopping. The perfect combination, quiet beach, then food, and shopping to end the day.
Next, I will cover the beaches to the north of Manta in a different post. My all time favorite beach is to the North. Even though it is almost a two hour drive from Manta, it is well worth the drive.
Written by Deborah