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Playas means beaches but actually there is just one. A long, wide sandy stretch of beach with enough room for everyone, which means you should get away from the town to find less noise and less rubbish.

Playas always seems to be to be like any other Ecuadorian town only with a few additional restaurants. You approach from the north, pass through a few busy streets and emerge onto an expanse of wasteland. Beyond that lies the beach, neglected and unloved.

This situation may change with the recent boundary changes in the province of Guayas. Salinas, the favoured getaway resort of Guayaquil's rich and coiffured 4x4 set was part of the area which, tired of a lack of investment, decided to form a breakaway province called Santa Elena.

This leaves Playas as the main beach resort in Guayas. Suddenly it has shot from poor, neglected black sheep to the jewel in the Guayas coastline. The political elite have vowed to invest in Playas, as part of a campaign to get people to travel there instead of crossing the border line. Can politics get any pettier?

The ideas for developing Playas so far amount to plans to crazy pave the promenade, tarmac the highway and increase it from 2 to 4 lanes and embrace the decision of Bo Derek to buy the penthouse in a new condominium block shooting up somewhat bizarrely and incongruously along the malecón.

So the best solution is to take the road south-east out of Playas, where you pass a thin line of residential development interspersed by rough tracks providing access to the beach. There are a number of places to stay and lots of beach to enjoy.

Click here to find out Where to Stay or Where to Eat in Playas.



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