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Surfing is a popular activity along the Ecuadorian coast. The most popular surf destinations are Montañita and Canoa which have a number of shops where you can hire a board (and wet suit if you feel it is necessary) and also take lessons. They also have the party scene. Salinas was host to the World Surfing Games in 2004. They are good places to surf but by no means the only options.

Conditions vary during the year. Waves come from the south-west from June to October and can reach 1.5m. In December and January there are often strong waves from the north-west. Swells (oleajes) are common and caused by storms in the North Pacific – the waves take 6 days to reach the Galápagos and 7 days to reach the coast. From December to April it tends to be extremely hot and sunny whereas May to November conditions are overcast.

Where are the best places to surf in Ecuador?
Here is a guide to the best places to surf from north to south based on recommendations by the Federación Ecuatoriana de Surf. You can also consult their website for more information on clubs and events. You can find surf reports for Ecuador at www.magicseaweed.com

Esmeraldas province

A 300m long wave and the possibility to ride a tube attracts surfers to this little village which is growing in popularity as a beach resort.

Manabi province

A long wide beach and several places to hire boards and get classes.

La Bellaca
This isolated point is 20 minutes south of Bahía de Caráquez but noted for its fast, long waves, best when there is a swell to the south-east.

There are several surf clubs and events during the year. Manta is a fair-sized town with more infrastructure but the bigger waves are further west near the village of San Mateo which can reach 1km.

La Tiñosa
San Lorenzo

There is a long stretch of beach with good surf all the way from this village south to Las Piñas where there is a dedicated surf lodge and some cabin restaurants.
Puerto Cayo

Rio Chico

This tiny village has a beautiful setting and there are some great places to stay and surf including Bungalows Buena Vida where the owner can rent boards and gives classes.

Santa Elena province
La Rinconada
There is a reef break which can be surfed at high tide at this spot located at the foot of the Chongon –Colonche hills. There is road access from the highway in the hills or you can walk along from La Entrada to the south.

The most famous surf destination in the country. Various international competitions have been held here and it is easy to hire a board or organize classes. A right breaking wave with a tube can be surfed in the mornings.

Visitors to this village can surf near Chulluype beach.


There are several points around the peninsula close to Salinas including Shit Bay and La Chocolatera on the very tip (take ID to enter the naval base), Miramar and Paco Illescas close to Chipipe beach and Punta Carnero to the south. The shit probably refers to the sewage which used to be pumped out from the naval base nearby.

Another location a few kilometres south-east of Punta Carnero.

Guayas province
Puerto Engabao
This fishing village to the west of Playas has long been popular with surfers. Recently Fundación Nobis, the charitable arm of a big Ecuadorian company has helped to set up the Casa Surf project through which local residents have obtained loans to refurbish their properties and offer rooms for visitors to stay and boards to rent. Read my impressions of the place here.

El Pelado
Along the Playas –Engabao road a rough track leads down to the beach at El Pelado.

Also known as General de Villamil, this is the closest beach resort to Guayaquil but there are plenty of surf spots for everyone. Apart from the two just mentioned, other places close by are known as El Faro, Mal Paso, Los Patios, El Humboldt, La Posada, Los Picos, Chavela, Olas Verdes and Shark Bay

GalÁpagos Islands
They are actually a province as well but a little bit harder to get to. Not that many people go for surfing but there are some excellent spots and where else do you get to share the waves with sea lions and iguanas. The biggest waves can be found on San Cristóbal from November to March (coming from the north) and Santa Cruz.

From April to August (coming from the south).

San Cristóbal

Carola – a right breaking tube that can get to over 4m

Punta Cañon – left break with a fast tubular section – near the airport in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

Tango Reef – a left break near some rocks, 20 mins from PBM on foot

La Lobería – a powerful and fast wave from the south , near rocks
Santa Cruz

Tortuga Bay – Aside from the beautiful beach, you can also surf these left and right breaking waves. It is a good spot to learn as the waves are smaller close to shore but you can find bigger ones further out with tubes up to 2m.

Angermeyer Point – left break near Puerto Ayora, can be surfed at high tide.

Ratonera – left break near Charles Darwin Station, can be surfed at high tide.

Bajo Bazon – right break, short but fast, can be surfed at low tide.

Cerro Gallina and Las Palmas – the former has 3 sections and can get up to 5m and be surfed at 3m. You need a launch to get to both - 40 minutes from Puerto Ayora.



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