Surfing in Ecuador
Ecuador is located in South America and as the name says it's crossed by the Equator Line. With a coastline of approximately 1,400 miles (2,250km) along the Pacific Ocean, the country has many beacher offering quality surf conditions. With warm water and good swells all year round, Ecuador has some amazing beach breaks making it the perfect place to catch waves without having to use a wetsuit on sandy beaches. Surf tourism is starting to be very important to the local economy. No matter what you budget is, most of the beaches in the country offer top quality waves combined with affordable prices for lodging and food compared to other surf destinations in South America. Another feature of the country is Galapagos, a national marine reserve off the coast, which has a large whale population and fickle but impressive surf breaks.The best time to surf is from November to March being the primary swell season. The best areas to surf are around the northern part of the country and the famous surf town of Atacames. Ecuador is famous for the perfect right point breaks, but the country also has a variety of waves, offering up hollow beach breaks and reef breaks as well.
Climate in Ecuador
Ecuador straddles by the Equator therefore has an equatorial climate, hot and humid with year-round rains. The central part of the country is crossed by the Andes and experiences a different weather pattern depending on altitude. Almost all of the western part of Ecuador is affected by a cold ocean current that lowers the temperature and makes the climate more arid. The prime surf season is from December to April. This is when the northwest swells arrive at the coast of the country produced by the north pacific winter storms. The winds at this time of the year are prevailing glassy or offshore resulting in good to epic conditions. Ecuador is one of the most consistent surf destinations to score tropical waves during the northern hemisphere winter. May to November register lots of onshore winds although it is still possible to have glassy conditions in the mornings.
Best surf spots in Ecuador
Ecuador has four main surf areas in the country: Northern, Central, Baja Manabi and Southern zone. These areas have many surf spots scattered along the coast. Here is a list of the most popular breaks: Atacames, Salinas, Punta Carnero, Playas, Puerto Chino (Galapagos), Tortuga Bay (Galapagos), Mompiche, Montañita, Playa de la FAE, Ayampe, Canoa and San Mateo.
Meal price range
Simple meals start at $2.50 USD. Mid-range meals start at $10 USD. Dining & drinking at high-end restaurants can cost anywhere from $40-70 USD
There are places where you can rent gear. Boards start at $12 USD a day.
Prepaid SIM cards
Movistar is a good choice. SIM cards can be purchased from the Quito airport. Or the old town has plenty of shops where you can purchase a SIM card.
Prepaid packages start at $25 USD.
The comprehensive bus service is an inexpensive way to travel around Ecuador and is the country’s preferred form of public transport.
In most of the towns you’ll have plenty of yellow taxis to get around in. Minimum fares are around $2 USD, a little higher at night. You can also rent a taxi and driver for around $80 USD a day.
For rental cars expect to pay around $35 USD a day for a non 4WD car and $80 USD a day for a 4WD vehicle. Note, only 20% of the roads in Ecuador are paved, 4WD is recommended.
$0.49 USD a liter.
Types of risks
Rip tides and big waves are common here.
How to prepare
Only citizens from 30 countries are required to get a visa in advance. All other nationals, including the EU, US, and Australia, can enter Ecuador visa free for up to 90 days. Passport must be valid for 6 months at time of entry.
Although it's not mandatory, it’s recommended that you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, yellow fever, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, Tdap, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella. You’ll be asked to show proof of your yellow fever vaccination if you come from a country with a risk of yellow fever.
Things to know
Language & Currency
Spanish is the official language. You’ll find some English speakers around the tourist areas.
The currency used in Ecuador is US Dollar ($)
Best time to go
The best time to surf in Ecuador is during the wet season, from November to May. But the prime surf season is from December to April.
Checking Surf forecast
Checking the forecast about a week before your trip is always a good idea. Understanding what the waves will be like and knowing what gear to pack is essential. You can check the forecast for the waves here.
Do I need pack a pharmacy kit
You should bring a basic kit. Including ear drops, eye drops, bandaids, ear plugs, gaze, alcohol, mosquito repellent and broad spectrum antibiotic ointment.
World Nomads has great travel insurance packages that are not super expensive and they cover surfing.
101 for police, 131 for an ambulance.
Check surf pictures of Ecuador at #surfingecuador.