Looking for the best places to surf in Ecuador?
If you’re reading this blog, we’re guessing the answer is yes!
As a diverse country with mountains, jungle, and coastline, there’s something for every type of traveler in Ecuador. It’s no different when it comes to the surf scene: this South American country is a fantastic place to catch waves whether you’re a complete beginner or total pro. With over 2,000km of coastline, you can bet there’s a beach that’ll meet your needs and then some!
Ecuador is home to plenty of surf schools and camps, as well as countless beaches where you can surf at your leisure for days on end.
Best places for surfing in Ecuador
Roughly divided into four zones, Northern, Southern, Baja Manabi, and Central, there’s no end of variety when it comes to the different swells and waves types along the Ecuadorian coastline. If you’re at the start of your adventure and looking for inspo, we’ve put together a list of the best places to surf in Ecuador.
Starting with an obvious surfing spot in Ecuador, you can’t beat Montanita. What was once a chilled, hippie community in the ’60s has become a popular haven for backpackers, flashpackers and everyone in between. Montanita is particularly well-known on the surfing circuit and nowadays even hosts a surf competition as part of its annual February carnival celebrations.
Surfers rate Montanita as one of the best places to surf in Ecuador because of its swells from north, south, and west. It has a beautifull point break on the right side of the beach, where you can line up with the other surfers. For beginners, we recommend taking an introduction class with a local instructor to know where to start, then practice practice practice :)..
Montanita has plenty of surf shops where you can purchase boards and other surf equipment, artesanal stuff, cute new clothing brands.. Combine that with a teaming surf community, plenty of affordable backpacker hostels right by the beach, and amazing nightlife with life music, and you’ve got yourself one of the best places to surf in Ecuador!
The drawback of Montanita is the result of its advantages.. over the years, with turism outgrowing the nice little village, it has become an extremely commercial spot. Don’t get scared away by it, though enjoy the good parts. Two or three days is for most of us enough. Stay a bit outside the village: there’s lots of wonderfull hostels and campings around the beach and the woods.
2. The Galapagos Islands
Thought the Galapagos Islands were all about amazing wildlife?
They are, but they’re also home to some of the best surfing beaches in Ecuador!
If you’re looking for an awesome spot to surf, consider Puerto Chino Beach on San Cristobal Island. This surf spot isn’t the best for beginners but it is one of the best places to surf in Ecuador if you already have some experience.
This beautiful remote bay nestled on the south of the island is the perfect place to escape the crowds and soak up Ecuador’s remote beauty – and catch some waves, of course. When you’re not trying your hand surfing in the crystal-clear waters, you might even spy some blue-footed boobies who call the beach home.
Tips for surfing at Puerto Chino: Bring some reef-safe sunscreen because there’s not much shade to be found at Puerto Chino. From the parking lot to the beach is a 15-minute downhill walk so be sure to save some energy for the walk back up. There are no food or drink vendors at Puerto Chino so pack enough water and food for a full day out.
The best time for surfing at Puerto Chino is December through to May.
Friends to make on the beach
3. Ruta del sol
From montañita up north untill Manta, a scenic road travels through the coastal hills and passes one after the other local fishing village.. with great surf :). Ayampe, Puerto Cayo, San Lorenzo, Santa Marianita, La Tiñosa, San Mateo, untill playa Murcielage in the city of Manta itself.
The best way to discover and enjoy the ruta del sol to the fullest is travelling in a van, motorbike, hired car. You can hire a car easily in Manta. There’s a bus line (the green Manglaralto buses) as well doing this rute, though it takes away the spontaneous part that makes this discovery such an adventure. In Santa Marianita, Punta La Barca is a small travellers community that offers a wonderfull alternative: once in a while, they organize themselves to go on surftrips together with their pick-up truck.
Each spot along the ruta del sol (also known as ruta del spondylus, named to the huge shelve found around this area) is different in surf, athmosphere, and activities. While Manta and San Lorenzo are more bodyboard-oriented, Santa Marianita is nice beginner waves and often wind to add a kite to your surfboard. Latiñosa and San Mateo are pointbreaks, while Puerto cayo and Ayampe are beachbreaks. Some don’t have anyone around, like La Tiñosa which might run for the smallest cutest unknown beach, while others like Ayampe are having already a vibrant alternative surfers community installed. Most beaches are quite enough for pelicans and crabs to show themselves. San Lorenzo even has visiting giant sea turtles, and from the hills of Santa Marianita you can see whales jumping out of the water. Check out more about the spots around the ruta del sol here!
Preparing surfboards at Punta La Barca, Santa Marianita, along the Ruta del Sol
This chilled beach town a two-hour drive from Esmereldas is the ultimate escape from big and busy beach resorts. Mompiche is easy on hotel chains and heavy on bamboo huts housing budget backpacker hostels and relaxed surf shacks.
Not only is it the perfect off-the-beaten-track holiday destination but it’s an optimum surf destination for all ability levels. When you’re not relaxing and watching the world drift by from a hammock, you can head to Portete or Bolivar beaches and spend the day catching waves. Mompiche is known for its impressive tube waves which you can ride if you’re feeling brave!
To get to Mompiche, catch a bus from Esmereldas and change in Atacambes. The best time to visit Mompiche is from December to March.
Top tips for surfing in Ecuador:
- Water temperatures vary between the mainland and the Galapagos Islands. In mainland Ecuador the water is warm enough to not use any surf suits -though we do recommend to put on some kind of T-shirt to protect from the burning sun. Due to the Humboldt Current, the waters of the Galapagos are a few degrees colder.
- Surfing season in Ecuador is best December to April, so if you’re and advanced surfer, plan accordingly. If you’re a beginner though you’ll be perfectly satisfied with the surf all year long, don’t worry about timing.
- Ecuador is one of the cheapest places in South America for affordable surf camps. Check out Galapago Surf Camp, Live the Life and Balsa Surf Camp.
Thanks for reading! We hope this has provided some inspo on the best places to surf in Ecuador.