Ecuador Beaches: Pedernales to Manta 

Pristine Beaches, Sand and Sun

by Jason Murphy

I especially like the Ecuador beaches of Manabi from Pedernales south to Manta.  First, many of them are stunning.  Second, both the water and the weather are warm. Third, it’s neither well-developed nor heavily populated.  

Beach real estate in Ecuador is still an incredible value in many areas.  Those who invest have an opportunity to influence development in the surrounding community, improve infrastructure and buy knowing that as demand increases for beach property values will increase.

Several major infrastructure projects are in development that will greatly increase the demand for Ecuador beaches in this area.  

Different Beaches for Different People

Don’t let anyone sell you on one specific Ecuador beach.  There are some great ones, depending upon your personal tastes, so explore to your heart's content until you find the perfect one for you.

There are quiet, lonely beaches with great expanses of sand and very little infrastructure. There are noisy beaches crammed with vacationers on holidays and weekends, drinking, carousing and partying.   

Pedernales to Jama

The 46 km stretch of beach from Pedernales to Jama is almost completely undeveloped.  Pedernales is a typical dusty Ecuadorian beach town with a growing tourism industry.

Editor's note: There is now a new highway from Santo Domingo, which connects to Quito. The once day-long drive from Quito is now about 3.5 hours.

Two kilometers west of Jama, in the beach community of Matal, Gary and Larry Swenson from Ecuador Beachfront Properties are developing an idyllic community with private access to the sandy beach. 

This property is an example of sustainable beachfront development that will rise in value as Ecuador Beaches continue to develop.

Who will like this area?

Full-time residents with a pioneer spirit can find great property to develop.  Also, land speculators can find great property deals.  The area is not well developed so creature comforts are limited.  


Nineteen kilometers north of San Vicente is Canoa, a growing beach community popular with adventure tourists and surfers.  The laid-back surf atmosphere is supported by several local business operated by foreigners.  These foreigners are not just operating businesses, they are working with the local government to make sure Canoa’s growth is sustainable.  

If you pass by Canoa make sure to have breakfast at the Coco Loco and visit Frans Paulus at the Surf Shak.  See, you already have friends at the beach! 

Who will like this area?

The area around Canoa is great for full-time residents who want to participate in a growing beach community.  The infrastructure is improving.  You can find plenty of creature comforts and good real estate deals in and around Canoa.

Bahia de Caraquez

Bahia de Caraquez is a charming beach city located on a peninsula.  Condo buildings are more common than private homes and the views are stunning.

The city is almost never busy, except on Ecuadorian holiday weekends.  Bahia de Caraquez is the home of Puerto Amistad, a yacht club run by a North American. 

Growth in Bahia has was stalled for several years due to its location far from Quito and Guayaquil.  However, infrastructure development has greatly increased growth in this area.  

A long bridge completed across the river in 2011 has replaced the old ferry, and new highways all up and down the coast have made the city even better and more alive. A few years ago, many of the condo buildings were vacant. Now it is difficult to find a condo for sale. 

Bahia suffered a strong earthquake in 1998 and some of the city was destroyed.  But in 1999, Bahia declared itself an “Eco-City” initiating plans to recycle most of the city’s waste and to turn itself into a green city.  

Out of the rubble of the earthquake, a new and vibrant city is emerging.  What started as a small port city is transforming itself into one of the most pleasant cities on Ecuador’s coast. 

We recommend hotel La Piedra located along the waterfront.  For food we highly recommend the restaurant at Puerto Amistad. This is a yacht club so if you get hungry in Bahia, just look for the sailboats.

Who will like this area?

This area is great for anyone who likes a small city rather than a town.  The beach is not as nice as Canoa but the views are excellent and restaurants and shopping are more convenient.  Buyers can find the occasional condo deal in Bahia that would be perfect and safe for part time residents.

San Clemente

Twenty-four kilometers south of Bahia is San Clemente and San Jacinto, two communities with a 12km stretch of sandy beach.  This area is much more populated than the beaches north of Bahia and offers limited creature comforts.

The town is not well developed but the beach and views are outstanding.  If you are planning to buy real estate in San Clemente make sure to visit first.

San Clemente is home to Palm Azul, a beach development with a hotel, pool and condos.

Who will like this area?

Full-time residents with a pioneer spirit will do well in this area.  The 12 km stretch of beach is full of old wooden homes with beach views.  There is plenty of room for beach development but scarcity found in places like Canoa and Bahia will never be an issue.  This is a good place for large development projects such as hotels and condos because the land is still relatively cheap.


Manta is an important shipping and industrial center with a deep-water port, a large airport being transformed into an international air cargo center, hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers with everything you could need. Manta’s cultural and tourism offerings are limited and the beach is average. Many Ecuador residents, including expats, are finding that two homes in Ecuador serve as a nice variation, migrating to the highlands as the seasonal weather on the coast get hot.

The views are still spectacular and if views are your thing you may be happy with Manta. The coast south of Manta is rugged with cliffs and several homes are available with beautiful views. Your Ecuador beach selection highly depends on individual requirements. 

This bustling port city of about 250,000 people has good shopping, great restaurants, shopping malls and lots of real estate to choose from, including many condos for expats.

There have been some reports that beaches are not always safe and robberies of tourists have taken place, but you'll need to check this out for yourself.

Who will like this area?

Full- or part-time Ecuador residents who desire the convenience of a mid-sized city but still want to experience the low-cost lifestyle offered by Ecuador beaches.  

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