Canoa – Sun, Surf and Sand

The fishing village of Canoa, located on the Pacific coastline in the Manabi Province of Ecuador, is a superb destination for travelers who enjoy an off-the-beaten-track holiday experience. Although Canoa is becoming more well-known with tourists, it still retains its small town charm where visitors can mingle with locals in a laid-back atmosphere. Located along the main highway between the northern beaches of Esmeraldas and Bahía de Caráquez, a bus service runs between San Vicente and Canoa with frequent trips being made between 6am and 9pm daily, making it a popular option for traveling to and from the village.

The main attractions of Canoa are the sand, surf and the steep wall of cliffs behind the town which offer adventure-seekers the opportunity to hang-glide or parasail. Surfboards and boogie boards can be hired when visiting Canoa and surfers will find the waves to be perfect for brushing up on their surfing skills, while beginners can be assured of assistance from locals in learning to ride the waves.

At a height of around 150 meters, the bluff behind the town is a popular spot for parasailing and hang-gliding as it has frequent updrafts and thermals, with a large expanse of vacant beach being perfect for safe landings. This is one of Ecuador’s most popular destinations for these sports, with some pilots offering tandem flights to visitors. The Surf Shak at the beachfront offers a wealth of information regarding excursions and activities in and around Canoa, including kayaking, surf lessons, rentals, whale watching, paragliding and more.

With beautiful tropical sea shells washing up on the shores of Canoa, beachcombing is another popular activity among visitors, and the nearby Rio Muchacho Organic Farm offers tours and activities, as well as volunteer programs. Visitors can go horse riding, hiking through the forest to the waterfall, or learn to make necklaces, bowls, rings and other items from natural materials, while gaining insight into organic farming and sustainable living.

Visitors who want to add an educational aspect to their vacation in Ecuador, can learn to speak the local language at the Canoa Spanish School, located at the Sundown Inn south of the town. Basic accommodation in and around Canoa is plentiful, pubs and restaurants serve the best in local cuisine and the nightlife is lively. Certainly, the village of Canoa has plenty to offer visitors who enjoy the simple pleasures of life.