<Where to go, What to do <Places <Southern Coast and Lowlands

On this page you can read about some of the places to visit along the Ruta del Sol (AKA Ruta del Spondylus) between Salinas and Manta. You can also read about the whole scenic journey along the route here.

Travelling north, the first place of interest is
San Pablo where there is a lovely stretch of beach, lined with rustic wooden restaurants which serve delicious seafood at good prices. Many have showers and hammocks. In August you can sometimes see whales frolicking out to sea.

Further on, a paved road takes you down to
Ayangue, a nice fishing village with a huge bay. Although it is often filled with boats there is room to swim in the calm waters. Ayangue is a popular place for diving. You can also go out on a pedalo or banana. There is accommodation and excellent, cheap food in a simple restaurant on the beach.

is named after the culture that lived in this region in the 4th century BC and were the first in the continent to produce pottery. Nowadays Valdivia is a poor village but does have one little museum (established by a local man) which exhibits a few original ceramics and produces replicas in an adjoining workshop.

Libertador (Simon) Bolivar, cabaña restaurants again line the beach. A number of families operate small hotels or rent rooms in their houses. You can also go horse riding, trekking or take a boat ride. The street here is clean and has a pavement, so people can take their evening stroll in relative safety. A number of shops sell good quality hammocks, handicrafts and one sells beautiful wooden furniture. A little way out of the village a large sign directs you slightly off the road to the Pro-Pueblo handicrafts shop.

Manglaralto is the next village and is well-organised, attractive and quiet. It has a nice beach and is a good place to stay and relax. There is a hotel and some cabanas and a restaurant that serves excellent cazuela just off the main square. From here a track leads inland to Dos Mangas from where you can organise trips through the forest into the hills. There’s not much else to do in Manglaralto – there is one bar open at weekends but for nightlife it’s better to head into Montañita.

Beyond Montañita is
Olón, which is very small but has a great beach and a few places to stay. The road continues to La Entrada and crosses a range of hills. On the other side is Ayampe which is another small village, not very pretty and not much going on, but with some lovely places to stay and a great beach. It’s possible to walk along the beach for about 4km to the next cliff and the village of Puerto Rico, which has an interesting bamboo church. You pass an ugly fishing village called Las Tunas and several nice looking hostels which front the sea. The last one is Alandaluz which is a beautifully designed hostería where we had our wedding reception.

There are more places to stay before and after
Salango, where there is a little archaeology museum and you can also take boat trips out to the islands just off the coast, which are part of Machalilla National Park

From Puerto Lopez it’s a winding 34km to
Puerto Cayo where there is another long beach and places to stay.

From Puerto Cayo a road heads inland to Jipijapa. The Ruta del Sol continues to follow the coastline, sometimes inland, sometimes returning to the sea, through several little villages,
San Lorenzo (where there is a lovely beach and a lighthouse on top of a hill), Santa Marianita and past a few small stretches of beach before entering the larger town of Manta.

Click here to find out where to stay or where to eat along the Ruta del Sol.

You can read more about Montañita, Puerto Lopez and Machalilla National Park at their individual pages.


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