Altitude: 21 feet (69 meters)
Phone Code: 06
A well-guarded secret among surf enthusiasts, Mompiche is quite possibly the nicest spot to drop your bags, grab a beer, and bum around for a few days. Located in a sheltered bay, this once-sleepy fishing village has awakened to a burgeoning tourist industry, leading to a number of beach bungalows and even all-inclusive resorts popping up in recent years. And it's not hard to see why: a backdrop of emerald green hills encircles the stunning seven-kilometer stretch of dark sand beach. Surf gurus say this is the best break in Ecuador, but even those who would rather hang out than hang ten will find the surf and sand of Mompiche agreeable.
Considering its mythic status in the travel community, it should come of no surprise that Mompiche harbors a secret of its own: ask around town for boat rides to a nearby, even more remote (and from what we hear, more beautiful) island off the coast. We'd love to tell you more, but travel to such a spot seems to be a rite of passage granted only to those adventurous enough to ask.