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Locals shredding in Playas, Ecuador

For those who don’t know by now, Ecuador is one of the hottest surf destinations in Latin America becoming more popular every year with the rise of surf tourism. Surfing in Ecuador is a way of life, and the coastal communities love, protect, and honour their waves. From a traveling surfer’s perspective, Ecuador is the perfect surf trip destination since it’s one of the few places left that still has uncrowded waves, the locals are wonderful, and the entire coastline is filled with surf spots for all levels to choose from.  

On your next trip to Ecuador, you will fall in love with Ecuadorian surf culture, we promise! It is nothing but friendly, welcoming, and rooted in a deep love for “pachamama”, and the surfers are always happy to share their waters with you.

There’s an endless list of places we could recommend, but for starters, we’ve picked the top 10 surf spots that cover all levels and interests to help you start planning your dream surf trip up the coast of Ecuador. 

Beginner-friendly spots

1. Olón

a new surfer surfing in Ecuador

Levels: Beginner – Advanced
Break Type: Beach Break
Size: up to 3 meters

Besides being one of Ecuador’s top tourist destinations, Olón is also widely renowned for having ideal surf for all levels. And for people who have never surfed before and are itching to try, Olón is the perfect place to start! Its extensive beach is perfect for learning about currents and wave dynamics, and it’s a very safe spot for beginners to learn since your surf instructors will have you in waist-high water practicing your pop-up near the shore.

If you’re an intermediate surfer, Olón is a perfect place to practice and play around with some bigger swell, either during rising or lowering tide when the waves start to hollow, or during peak high tide when the waves are a bit more forgiving.

If you’re an advanced surfer head out back to the lineup and enjoy the big sets between November and May when the North and South swells come through. Expect more crowded lineups here between December and March as locals and travelers all come to enjoy the bigger swells that reach up to 2-3 meters.

While you’re in Olón, get set up with board rentals, lessons and organized surf trips at Outdoor Ecuador Surf & Spanish School, we’ll show you the ultimate local surf experience!

2. Canoa

surfer in Canoa ecuador
@fotografoencanoa

Levels: Beginner – Advanced
Break Type: Beach Break
Size: up to 3 meters

Canoa is a peaceful beach town farther North in the province of Manabí famous for having kilometres of beach and perfect surf for all levels. The whitewash on low tide is a great place for beginners to learn or practice their pop-up, and when the tide comes in you can practice your skills in some slightly punchier waves. 

The waves range from small to big and even in larger swells the wall is never too steep making it a great transition spot for intermediates and a fun wave for advanced surfers to practice some tricks. 

It’s easy to find rentals and surf lessons along the beach, the locals are always stoked, and it’s a fishing town so you’ll find amazing fresh seafood all around. Oh and the best part? Always uncrowded waves!

3. Montañita

a surfer on a sunny day in Montañita Ecuador

Levels: Beginner – Advanced
Break Type: Beach Break & Point Break
Size: up to 3 meters

Montañita is the mecca of surfing in Ecuador. It’s a popular vacation spot and surf town known internationally for its long beautiful beach, its food and nightlife, and its famous point break “La Punta”.

It has two spots to surf: the main beach break on Playa Montañita which is a great place for beginners to learn and practice, and the right-breaking point at the far North end of the beach which is ideal for intermediate to advanced surfers, where you can always find the national pros practicing their aerials. Expect lineup rules to be in full effect and more of a crowd at La Punta than at the beach break.

Montañita has wave activity for all levels year-round, with the biggest and most consistent swells from the North rolling through from November-May, and the rest of the year having a combination of swells big and small bringing conditions for everyone to enjoy. There’s plenty of rentals and surf schools to choose from right on the beach, and don’t miss the sunset at La Punta!

Intermediate spots

4. Mompiche

@antonyfilms

Levels: Intermediate – Advanced
Break Type: Point Break
Size: up to 3 meters

Mompiche is a small surf town tucked away in nature in the Northern province of Esmeraldas. This little jungle hideout has two points to surf, a more mellow longboard wave closer to shore that’s nice and easy for intermediates and even for beginners to try when the swells are small, and a beautiful point break for intermediate and advanced surfers that produces a massive and majestic long peeling left when the big swells come.

The point breaks over rocks and when the swells are big Mompiche is extremely powerful, so on big days it’s usually reserved for surfers who know what they’re doing, and when it’s not huge it’s perfect for a fun session.

Other than being one of the most legendary spots for surfing in Ecuador it’s completely unique because the jungle comes up and hangs right over the water, giving you a breathtaking view from the lineup. It’s worth the trip up North!

5. La Rinconada

Levels: Intermediate – Advanced
Break Type: Beach Break
Size: up to 3 meters

Located in between La Entrada and Ayampe, La Rinconada is a beautiful spot tucked away by the high coastal cliffs. As soon as you pull up in your car the view of the waves will get you absolutely stoked for the drive down. The right-breaking point is definitely reserved for advanced surfers who can handle 1.5-2 meter barrels, but intermediate surfers can still enjoy the mellower waves on the left side breaking closer to shore. Just be mindful of the rocky bottom, especially during low tide.

La Rinco is very quiet other than the surf, but before you leave make sure you stop for a post-surf ceviche and enjoy the incredible views from the winding cliff road.

6. Ayampe

Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Break Type: Beach Break
Size: up to 3 meters

Ayampe is a tiny tropical paradise that has a powerful beach break with steep lefts and rights. It works in all conditions but works best between November and May when the big swells come, and when the swells do come the waves are perfection.

Ayampe has days that work for all levels but when the swell is big there isn’t much whitewash for beginners to safely practice in, so it’s ideal for intermediate to advanced surfers who know how to paddle out through hollow waves. The wave in Ayampe is also very different during high and low tide so we always recommend spending some time watching from the beach before heading in.

Since it works in all conditions, we always say if there are no waves anywhere else, go to Ayampe! And everyone who lives in Ayampe is there because they love to surf, so if you want an authentic experience surfing in Ecuador, spend a quiet couple of days there surfing, eating amazing food, and vibing out with the locals. You’ll love it there.

7. Las Tunas

Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Break Type: Beach Break
Size: up to 3 meters

Las Tunas is the perfect place for a peaceful stay and a good session. And if you’re a skater, even better! Don’t miss out on a session at the new skatepark. It’s a quiet local town a few minutes North of Ayampe with a long-stretching beach break that offers great waves in both directions. 

During the high season, the swells break heavy in Las Tunas, so beginners should avoid this spot when the swells come, but surfers who are comfortable with rips and strong waves will be able to comfortably send Las Tunas. 

For beginners who are frothing to try it out, Las Tunas is similar to Ayampe and is always working when the waves in other spots are small; on these days with no swell, the size in Las Tunas is perfect for a fun session with the friends.

Advanced spots

8. La Lobería (la FAE)

A surfer catching a left hand wave in La Loberia Ecuador

Level: Advanced
Break Type: Point Break
Size: up to 3 meters

La Lobería is a rocky point break named after the seals (lobos marinos) you can always find lying across the rock jetty. This spot is almost always firing due to strong winds and its location on the Santa Elena peninsula. In La Lobería you’ll always have a fun session, with waves getting up to 3 metres.

La Lobería is located in La FAE, a military base where you have to show your ID to get through. This isn’t anything to be concerned about, you just have a time limit and need to respect the rules of the spot, which they’ll clearly outline for you when you get there.

9. Rio Chico

a big wave in Rio Chico Ecuador

Level: Advanced
Break Type: Beach Break
Size: up to 3 meters

15 minutes from Ayampe and Las Tunas, this hidden little spot gives surfers who love reef breaks a perfect long hollow left, what more could you ask for?

Rio Chico isn’t a well-known beach, since it’s not safe for swimming and you need to leave your car and take a little hike to get to it, but the hike is beautiful and the wave is legendary!

The best time to surf here is in low tide during the Southern swells when the waves get anywhere from 1.5 to 3 meters, and you should only go if you are comfortable with reef and heavy surf.

10. Punta Carnero & Mar Bravo

Level: Advanced
Break Type: Point Break & Beach Break
Size: up to 2 meters

Punta Carnero is a legendary rocky point along the Southeastern part of the Salinas peninsula. This break is not for beginners or most intermediate surfers, but if you’re comfortable with 2+ meter barrels, this is the wave for you. A bit farther North is beach break Mar Bravo, frequented by bodyboarders and pro big wave surfers. Neither of these spots are for the faint of heart!

Carnero always works on the North and South swells that come between November and May, but if you want to go just to watch, grab some food and enjoy the show. Surf photographers and fans of big wave surf frequently travel to this spot to marvel at the legendary beauty of big wave surfing in Ecuador. 

Want to learn Spanish while surfing in Ecuador? Check out our language packages here.