Explore the Pacific Coast of Ecuador
With sparkling clear waters, soft sandy beaches, verdant mangroves and lush green jungles, the Pacific coast of Ecuador has much to offer visitors who take the time to explore it. Those who are looking for big city hustle and bustle can head for Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and the country’s largest port, while those who are looking for a more laid-back eco-friendly atmosphere may want to spend some time in Bahia de Caraqauez, and partygoers are likely to appreciate the seaside town of Atacames. Traveling slightly inland, travelers can explore Portoviejo and discover why it is called the “City of the Royal Tamarind Trees”, or travel north to the historical gold mining town of Huaquillas.
Located in the Costa Region of Ecuador, on the western bank of the Guayas River, Guayaquil is the economic capital of Ecuador and a treasure trove of culture and history. Unfortunately, a number of the city’s historic buildings were damaged or destroyed by invaders in the distant past, but among those that survived are the 15th century Church of Santo Domingo and the Cathedral – the former with a water fountain believed to have therapeutic properties, and the latter boasting spectacular stained glass windows. Other notable places in Guayaquil include the Malecón 2000 – a pier overlooking the Guayas River which includes several plazas and water fountains, as well as a number of historical landmarks, shops, play areas for children, restaurants and more.
With tourism as its primary industry, Atacames is known for its party atmosphere and nightlife. The temperate climate, warm waters and excellent waves make Atacames a popular surfing spot. Although it is a relatively small town, there are plenty of hotels and other accommodation choices. The culture of Atacames is also interesting, in that a large percentage of the population is Afro-Ecuadorean, having descended from slaves who escaped from ships in the mid-16th century.
Bahia de Caraquez is the perfect destination for eco-conscious tourists. The city has numerous recycling projects, organic vegetable gardens and even an organic shrimp farm. Visitors have the option of touring the dry forests, wetlands and other natural attractions by bicycle and adventure-loving tourists can get a bird’s eye view of the area while hang-gliding. Surfing is a popular activity and accommodation and places to eat are plentiful. Bahia de Caraquez is a worthwhile addition to any itinerary when exploring the Pacific coast of Ecuador.