Ecuador on the Map
While Peru has quite a reputation for great surf, Ecuador is grossly under recognized. Although the sport is nowhere near as popular here, the water is warm, surf conditions are excellent, and there are loads of beaches where you can surf, all the way up the Ecuador coastline.
Many of the surf spots are quite deserted too, so local surfers are a lot less territorial than in other places! On many beaches, you’ll find individual surf instructors or schools right on the beach and can rent a board easily. With its warm waters, Ecuador is an excellent place to learn to surf, without an immobilizing wet suit.
Near the best surf spots you will also find hostals and hosterias that cater specifically to the surfer community. The best known surf town is of course Montanita, where thousands of travelers and surfers flock to enjoy the consistent surf year round.
But this is far from the only place. Playas, Ayampe, Canoa and many other beaches have surf camps. In fact almost any beach with decent surf has a surf hotel, hostal or maybe just a shack nearby, where you rent a board, get lessons and can chill out with like-minded people after ripping some waves.
Surf in warm waters without a suit, almost anywhere, practically any time of the year. Mostly onto sandy beaches, and few rocks.
Montañita is the best known surfing destination along the Ruta Spondylus and is a thriving hub for backpackers and surfers. Each year, Montañita is host for the ISA World Masters Surf Championships which goes on for about 8 days. There are several surf camps and hostals dedicated to the sport, and you can even learn Spanish at some of them, at the same time!
Nearby Olón has great waves too, and further south at Playas there are no less than seven point breaks dotted along the coast from Playas to Engabao. Up north, in Manabi and Esmeraldas provinces, there are plenty of decent surf beaches too, including Canoa.
From December thru May, during El Niño season, the waters of the coast of Ecuador warm up, and this suppresses the colder Humboldt current from the north. During this time there are big swells from north and south. Later in the year, the Humboldt current dominates, bringing slightly colder water and more wind along the coastline. Colder, but not cold. Really, you can surf without a suit year round.
In all, there are about 60 documented spots on the Ecuador mainland, many of them being nice safe beach breaks onto soft golden sand, which are great for beginners. For the ultimate Ecuador surf trip, try the crystal clear waters of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s answer to Hawaii, where you’ll find another nine or ten great surf spots spread among several islands.