Along the coast of Ecuador you’ll find smaller towns catering to backpackers, surfers, beachgoers and adventure seekers.
Esmereldas is a popular weekend escape destination for people from Quito. It is a bit further north along the coast, so temperatures are slightly cooler here than the popular beach towns further south.
Manta is a beach and water sport paradise. People from Ecuador, and foreign tourists, flock here to enjoy one of the many big beaches, or to take up surfing, kitesurfing or diving. Expect hot, sunny days here with year-round temperatures always hitting 84F / 28C, and often hotter.
Montanita is another coastal town that lures in surfers from around the world. It is a backpacker hangout more than anything, with the beach life and Spanish learning classes taking center stage. For some, the party vibe of Montanita is too much.
Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador, with more than 2 million people. It is an interesting mix of industry and tourism highlights. Spending some time at the quirky “Iguana Park”, home to a big population of tame iguanas that enjoy being fed bread, fruit and vegetables. The malecon of Guayaquil is also very impressive and worth visiting. For people flying to the Galapagos, planes generally take off in Quito, stopover in Guayaquil, then head to the islands. It can sometimes be cheaper to fly from here instead of Quito.