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A hotspot for the Guayaquil elite, Salinas is an overpriced and often overcrowded beach town that most adventurous travelers tend to avoid. If you come here, bring plenty of money, as cheap accommodation is thin on the ground and restaurants are more expensive than other resorts. Note that Salinas is very seasonally-based; it's heaving with young couples and families between Christmas and Easter, particularly weekends, but often dead after June. However, that’s not to say that the largest of Santa Elena’s resorts has nothing to offer.

The long stretches of white sand beach in Salinas and its sister town Chipipe to the south are the main attraction, but get there early in the morning or visit out of season because the beaches get extremely busy and the charm of the place can be lost. If you don’t mind spending an extra couple dollars for a good meal, then the upscale restaurants that line the Malecón are well worth sampling. Most have outside seating and are a good vantage point to watch the fashion-conscious Guayaquil rich set strolling beachside. Beyond the attractive Malecón, however, most of the town differs little from the characteristic dusty streets and aged concrete buildings found elsewhere along the coast and it’s surprisingly ugly in places.

As the sun sinks behind the high rises, Salinas nightlife gets going and the town’s discos and bars are another reason to stick around for a night or so. From July to September, another traveler makes its way to the shores off of Salinas: the Humpback Whale. Whale-watching tours can be arranged at offices in Salinas. If you miss whale season, you can also organize fishing and boat tours, water sports activities or city tours.


Other places nearby Salinas: Puerto López, Guayaquil, Machala, Montañita, Ayampe, Manglaralto, Palmar, Las Tunas, La Ruta del Sol and Salango.

17 Sep 2012

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