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The Northern Coast and Lowlands

Few that visit Ecuador come solely to see the beach, however, those who find themselves with time to head to the coast will find that the region boasts some of the world's most diverse rain forests and cloud forests, uncrowded beaches, tiny fishing villages, the ruins of ancient civilizations, and a cultural richness much different than the other regions of Ecuador.

The Northern Coast, which is filled with lush green vegetation, is considerably closer to Quito than the cities of the Southern Coast. In addition to this, the drive to the beach goes past some fascinating cities. Mindo, for instance, is internationally renowned for its bird watching. Santo Domingo is a sprawling transportation hub which itself is nothing spectacular, but nearby indigenous sites prove to be very interesting.

Popular destinations on the actual coast include Atacames, which is known for its lively nightlife and Canoa, which has a really chill surfer scene, spectacular sunsets over the ocean and some phenomenal cuisine. If you want surf and sun without the crowds, Mompiche is an excellent choice, offering big waves, beautiful beaches and an ultra-relaxed atmosphere. The larger cities of the area, such as Esmeraldas and Manta are less popular with visitors, mainly due to their dirty industrial feel, but serve as highly important starting points for many travelers due to their airports and bus terminals.









05 Apr 2013

Surfing Hotspots in the Northern Coast

Surfing in Mompiche

121462Those who grew up in Mompiche have surfing ingrained in their blood from an early age. So, don’t feel bad if you decide to try riding the waves and six-year-olds are flying past you looking like ...
Surfing
Mompiche, Ecuador

Canoa

107673Altitude: 12 meters (40 feet)Population: 4,476Phone Code: 05Mompiche may have the surfer’s hearts and Atacames may have the bars, but Canoa is sure to romance almost anyone into a stupor with its ...
City
Canoa, Ecuador

Manta City

102669Altitude: 6 meters (20 feet)Population: 217,553Phone Code: 05Compared to the hippy haven of Montañita, or peaceful unpopulated beach coasts and coves further north, Manta is only better than average ...
City
Manta City, Ecuador

Crucita

Altitude: 23 meters (75 feet)Population: 3,683Phone Code: 05About 30 minutes from Manta, Crucita boasts a pleasant ribbon of dark sand beach, and a MalecĂłn with plenty of seafood restaurants. Quiet ...
City
Crucita, Ecuador

The Northern Coast's Most Beautiful Beaches

Los Frailes

Relaxing and remote, Los Frailes is widely considered one of the most gorgeous beaches along the Pacific coastline, and it's easy to see why:  its lovely landscape includes pristine waters and ...
Other Activity
Ecuador

Portete Beach

Portete is a virtually untouched and uninhabited beach that sits hidden a ways behind the main shore. Palm groves border the beach as far as the eye can see, yielding to green hills on your right and ...
Beach
Mompiche, Ecuador

Canoa

107673Altitude: 12 meters (40 feet)Population: 4,476Phone Code: 05Mompiche may have the surfer’s hearts and Atacames may have the bars, but Canoa is sure to romance almost anyone into a stupor with its ...
City
Canoa, Ecuador

Atacames

Altitude: 5 meters (16 ft)Population: 15,526Phone Code: 06Spread across an expansive stretch of fine gray sand, Atacames is a beachside playground for Ecuadorians. Foreigners are more the exception ...
City
Atacames, Ecuador

Playa Negra

Playa negra, the Black Beach, is located on the north side of Cahuita, the opposite end of the main street from the National Park. Less popular with tourists who prefer the white beach of the park, ...
Beach
Cahuita, Costa Rica

Crucita

Altitude: 23 meters (75 feet)Population: 3,683Phone Code: 05About 30 minutes from Manta, Crucita boasts a pleasant ribbon of dark sand beach, and a MalecĂłn with plenty of seafood restaurants. Quiet ...
City
Crucita, Ecuador

Northern Coast and Lowlands: Trips for Nature Lovers

Parque Nacional Machalilla

Parque Nacional Machalilla (136,000 acres) is a nationally protected area which includes a stretch of beach and dry tropical forest as well as two islands, Isla de la Plata and Isla Salango north of ...
National Park
Ecuador

Mariposas de Mindo

This family-run hotel two kilometers (1.2 mi) from the town of Mindo is surrounded by butterfly gardens and is dedicated to sustainable tourism and education about the surrounding region. Pleasant ...
Hotel
Mindo, Ecuador

Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve & Lodge

Bellavista is a private 700-hectare (1,730-ac) cloud forest reserve and lodge. A variety of clearly-marked trails take you through the forest to hidden canyons and spectacular viewpoints. The reserve ...
Hotel
Mindo, Ecuador

Sainanda Park

Owned by biologist Alfredo Harmsen, Saiananda is a private park situated along the waterfront, just 5 kilometers from BahĂ­a. In addition to striking views of the sea, the park also features an ...
Park
Bahía de Caráquez , Ecuador

Isla Corazon

Located just a stone’s throw from Bahía is Isla Corazon, home to endangered mangroves and numerous bird species. Learn about the local Mangrove Forest and estuary ecosystem, while interacting (and ...
Birdwatching
Bahía de Caráquez , Ecuador

Isla Fragatas

Just a 15-minute boat ride from Bahía, Isla Fragatas is a bird paradise and mangrove haven. Check out this unique island ecosystem, and see La Tortuga Miguelito (the local 93-year old Galápagos ...
Eco-Tour
Bahía de Caráquez , Ecuador

Bosque Seco Lalo Loor

Just 20 minutes south of Pedernales (by bus) and a short jaunt north of Jama is a network of trails winding through unique coastal dry forest, past a stunning variety of flora and fauna and ...
Birdwatching
Jama , Ecuador
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