15 Best Things to do in Salinas, Ecuador

Looking to spend a vacation on beaches. Then your search stops at Salinas. Salinas, the name itself suggests vicinity to the saline waters. It is a coastal city located at the westernmost tip of the Republic of Ecuador in Santa Elena province where it is enfolded in the palms of Pacific Ocean. It is a grand coastal resort drawing its attention to every tourist looking forward to spending an adventurous vacation, doing a lot of leisure activities by the seaside. Its luxurious beach lifestyle appeals the affluent tourists. 

I too decided to visit Salinas for its vibrant beaches and leisure activities. I want to share my experience with you so that when you plan to visit Salinas, you have your guide in this article. 

For adventure loving people, Salinas is a must-visit. Let’s have a deep insight into what Salinas has in its basket to offer to tourists.

Discover the best things to do in Salinas, Ecuador

1. Natural Beauty

Whether it is your love for crazy waves or amazing views, La Chocolatera is the perfect place to have beach access. If you are visiting with the family, this is an excellent point to start your tour. The Plus point is that access is free of cost. What can be better to receive something for free in the most luxurious city? Many more panoramic views of the Pacific ocean for your eyes to capture and cameras to paint. Being located inside the military base, it allows you to have a glance at its history.

For the lovers of Sunset, La Loberia offers a lovely view of the sunset. Waves crashing while you wait for the sunset will add to the spectacular sight. Being a military base, it is open to the public only during the day time and is free to visit.

Natural beauty in Salinas
Credit pixabay

2. Marine geyser

Have you ever experienced water shooting up in the air through a crevice in the volcanic rock along the coast? If yes, you have a chance of capturing this scene again in La Chocolatera. With the right side that can match with the wave timings, you can experience an astonishing picturesque view of this blowhole. Only a natural place to contact with an ocean. Do not forget to take your jacket along.

3. Exotic sea animals

Just a few miles from the shore of La Chocolatera, you can access Punta Brava, an area of rocks emerging from the sea where you can expect to see are the exotic sea animals, whales, dolphins, and sea lions. The migratory humpback whales pass jumping through the coastal rocks. If you are visiting here in the months between June to September, you can expect the view of migratory humpback whales. They can be seen in La Chocolatera and Chipipe. They come here from Antarctica for mating and procreation. You can also watch the whales at Punta Carnero while you enjoy maritime sports here.

Exotic sea animals
Credit pixabay

For the want of majestic view of sea lions lounging on the rocks or swimming or mating, La Loberia is the ideal place to visit. Big waves, cool wind and the seal colony on the stones can be seen through a specially crafted wooden viewpoint.

For love for nature, you can always climb up the salt hills of Punta Carnero.

sea lion
Credit Unsplash

4. Playa del Mar Bravo 

It has a curved shoreline having small rocky outcrops. It’s the spot to witness the beautiful sunset, and the view is excellent during the summers. The waves are violent, but they fade as they contact the shore. You can get sight of the sea lions also. It is a clean and quiet place. The water is crystal clear. If you want to relax, this is the perfect place. Surfing and kiteboarding can be experienced here, but be careful with the sea and its strong waves.

Playa del Mar Bravo
Credit Unsplash

5. Punta Carner 

It is the least touched beach of Ecuador. Access by bus is not available. One has to drive by car. The sand is unspoiled, and the spectacular views are a must-watch. Local restaurants are there to cater to your hunger. But, the place is not ideal for swimming due to back-wash.

Punta Carner
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6. Sea Surfing, Diving, and Jet Skiing

Nautical sports are one of the best reasons one can head for a coastal vacation. Punta Carnero, located at the southeast end of the beach, is a pointed rocky island. The waves here are neither too high nor too low. The cool breeze prevails the inland. The sand is white to grey. It is one of the best spots for surfing in Ecuador owing to the quality of the surf from the rocks to the dock. It has been the venue for various surfing competitions both at national as well as international levels. Another surface water sport, Bodyboarding is also very popular here. Bird watching, whale watching, and parasailing are other activities that attract sailors.

sea surfing
Credit Unsplash

For newlywed couples and best wedding shoots, the place offers lovely and romantic spots. Thick coastal vegetation surrounds the island.

The calm waters of Chipipe offer maritime sports like sea diving, surfing, jet skiing, and sailing. You can also enjoy surfing if you are at Malecón salinas or in La Loberia.

7. Swimming in seawater

Owing to the rough waters of La chocolatera, swimming and other leisure activities are what you cannot expect there. Chipipe and Malecón salinas have calm and transparent waters which offer absolutely the right seawater for suitable for swimming. Pier is free from waves and swimming can be done there. Swimming in the sea, catching up fishes, sunbathing and lot more for pleasure can be done in Punta Carnero.

Swimming in seawater
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San Lorenzo Beach is a lively and crowded city beach. Boating, jet-skiing, swimming are to name a few activities. But access to this beach depends on the tide. It has a dock and is a beautiful place to walk. It is a beach with a blue sea. Many small restaurants are there to feed your hunger. Avoid getting close to water; the sea rises very abruptly in the afternoon.

8. Talk while you walk

While you take a walk on the Chipipe sands, the local merchants will spot you to sell the waffles, ice creams, slushies, hammocks, lamps, artifacts, and hand-made local jewelry. The highest building in Salinas consisting of 24-stories is also located here in Chipipe. Besides all this, you can also offer your prayers in a local church surrounded by a park. A craft shop selling local crafts, jewelry, clothes, and music is also there. La Chocolatera sands are usually crowded, while Chipipe has fewer masses coming in.

walking on the beach
Credit pixabay

Monumento a Vicente Rocafuerte is a cozy place in Ecuador to visit with family and friends. It has a great park with beautiful fountains.

Not much popular among the visitors, but for an early morning walk along the beach, Chulluype is a recommended place. The water is warm and calm with peaceful scenery. What adds on is the convenience since everything is available. Seafood, tents, chairs, restaurants, public bars, and most importantly, toilets are all available. It serves the purpose of a private family beach.  

9. Bird watching

Ecuasal Pools were created to market the sea salt. It is the best spot for the bird watchers. They can watch the birds migrating from both Northern and Southern Hemispheres all year round.

Bird watching
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Punta Brava is the place you can watch exotic animals as well as alien species of birds too. You can find frigate birds, pelicans, terns, and blue-footed boobies. Another site for bird watching is the Punta Carnero.

10. Fresh coastal food

Incredible coastal food points, gift shops, and public restrooms are all installed to cater to the needs of the visitors at all the tourist locations in Salinas. With fresh, exotic, and delicious coastal food, you can go all gourmet to delight your taste buds. A lively city with tons of visitors and the number of restaurants to add on to gastronomy is what you can experience in Malecón salinas. Empanadas, corn with cheese and meat pies are the best food picks. Another place to expect fresh food at all times is the Playa De Santa Elena.

Coastal Food
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11. Sunbathing

An ideal place to enjoy the three S’s; the sun, sand, and the sea are the Malecón salinas. Sitting on the sand by the seaside under the sun, what a splendid way to stay away from the stress. : Next place to relax on the beach and enjoy during the vacation is Playa San Lorenzo. Playa De Santa Elena is a calm and clean, beautiful place with less crowd. You can always relax by the shore of the sea. The waves are also not very strong. So, if you are visiting with small children, you can still take advantage.

sunbath on the beach
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A calm, relaxed, and splendid beach is what comes to mind thinking of La Diablica. Being an oceanfront land, it offers the raw beauty of the ocean and the sand.

12. Yacht club

Visiting a coastal region, you may not want to miss the yacht club. One of them is in Malecón salinas. Playa San Lorenzo has a yacht club due to which the flow of water is blocked, giving an appearance of still-water. Down halfway, the beach is divided into two halves by a Pier.

13. Love for art

For the love of art and to acknowledge the hospitality at its best, my best recommendation to visit is Museo Casa León. It is a privately owned (Sara, the owner) art exhibition and archaeological museum made in the house located on a small cliff above the Pacific Ocean. All the walls of the building are covered by the owner’s late husband’s excellent works in art. Every single piece of work is a delight to the eyes, and you cannot get tired walking around the beautiful house.

Love for art
Credit Unsplash

Centuries-old skeletons and utensils are also displayed in the house. The garden is just tranquilizing. She offers rooms on rent in the house. You can expect a very nice and clean room with excellent salient features. Above all, Sara is an excellent host. The sight at night from the house is just magnificent. The house faces right into the ocean. Even the kitchen is perfect. Built with a contemporary aesthetic style, a home is absolutely a mystical place both inside and out. It is a must recommend the site for a visit during your tour to Ecuador.

14. Archaeological research and ecosystem reserves

El Museo De Las Ballenas is the Whale Museum, a place to witness a large variety of marine mammals. Not just a place to visit for fun, but it offers education and training programs for spreading the knowledge and contributing to the same with the intention of conservation of the marine mammals. Any student, professional or any interested volunteers can register in the programs like courses on cetaceans for biology students, universities and schools to arrange a talk about cetaceans. The guide talks are also arranged for Whale and bird watchers and local guides. Training courses for sailors and guides to take up to respective professions in Ecuador are also available. Despite the educational programs, the museum appeals the visitors with its exclusive and private collection of specimens of marine mammals collected by the constant efforts of Ben Haase and Fernando Félix since more than two decades. The museum also offers a great platform to research biology as well as ecology. Every skeleton speaks a story, and this place has unique and hundreds of stories for you to know and learn about.

lizard skull
Credit Unsplash

Paleontological Museum Megaterio is the first paleontological Museum of Ecuador with the vision of combining scientific and educational exposure. It exhibits about 17000 years old archaeological and cultural artifacts. Also displayed are the Late Pleistocene megafauna like the Megatherium and Eremotherium genera.

Puntilla de Santa Elena is a protected area in the viewpoint of ecosystem reserve. It protects the beach, the dry forest, rocky and marine reef ecosystems.  

15. Peaceful Prayers

If you are seeking a quiet place to offer your prayers, the perfect point in Salinas is Iglesia Cristo del Consuelo. A welcoming church with an excellent priest, Father Antonio. Awakening Catholic faith is what to expect here.

Iglesia Cristo del Consuelo
Credit flickr


Getting known to so many beaches, the sea life and sea sports are the things to name that can make you visit this splendid Salinas, Ecuador. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the sea, the sand, the splendid Salinas.

See Also: 26 Best Things to do in Loja, Ecuador


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