Orientation

Olon, Ruta del Sol, Santa Elena, Ecuador

On Olon Beach
Photo by: Emily Cousins

You will likely hear and see a lot of promotion for the ‘Ruta del Sol’ – a string of towns and activities on the western coast of Ecuador. You will also probably hear mostly about the towns of Salinas, Playas, Montanita, and Puerto Lopez. Thing is, there are many small, chill beach towns on this route that are undeservedly overlooked. If you want to party – go to the towns listed above. If you want a more local, authentic, relaxed look at the coast, check out the towns listed here.

San Pablo and Mujeres Cambia

Mujeres Cambia

Mujeres Cambia, San Pablo, Ecuador, Santa Elena

Photo by: Emily Cousins

The biggest highlight of San Pablo is the women’s artisan group, Mujeres Cambia (‘Women Change’). This group of women makes and sells jewelry and accessories made from post-consumer waste paper. A varnish finish makes the products durable and water resistant and painstaking attention to details makes them intricate and beautiful. Read about the artisan process and the women’s stories on their excellent website:

http://www.mujerescambia.com/

Contact: 098-996-7313, or Elba (secretary of the group): 098-674-9785

Palmar

Palmar, Ruta del Sol, Ecuador

Photo by: Paul Wilson

Palmar is a fishing village located 35 km north of Santa Elena. Set back from the highway, Palmar boasts a mangrove forest, undeveloped beach and sanctuary atop a hill. It is a place where you will experience local coastal life and practice your Spanish. Sleep in one of the two hostels that are directly on the beach or with a host family. In the morning, after breakfast, head out to the beach to take pictures of the local fishermen unloading their cargo and then take a short taxi ride to a pristine, secluded beach called Playa Rosada (named for its pink sands) where you can rent beach chair and umbrella and enjoy locally caught fish for lunch. Or, schedule a guided tour in Spanish to one of the only surviving mangrove forests in the province by kayak. After, take a taxi up to the Santuario to get a bird’s eye view of the area and hike down the path back into town. Pass by the main soccer field and join a pickup soccer game with the area kids.

To read more and plan your trip to Palmar, read its Keteka page right here.

Ayangue

This is already a popular spot for Ecuadorians, but is skipped over by most foreigners. The beach sits in a bay and is lined with restaurants selling Ecuadorian food. There is a PADI dive shop right on the beach – one of the most

Ayangue, Santa Elena, Ruta del Sol, Ecuador

Ayangue Beach

popular dives goes down to a submerged statue of Jesus, another reaches a sunken ship.

Where to Stay: If you decide to stay the night, we recommend a hostel called Pangora – it has a chill outdoor patio, a rustic design, hot water, and is about ten seconds from the beach.

How to Get There: From Guayaquil, take the Maglaralto or CITUP bus lines and tell the driver you are getting off at Ayangue. From the crossroads, you can take a collective cab into town (there should be some waiting there). If you are already in another town on the Ruta del Sol, wait on the highway for these same buses, going north (the ocean to your left). Use the following website to check bus schedules for the Ruta and anywhere else in Ecuador:

http://www.viajerocontento.com/

Libertador Bolivar

Libertador Bolivar, Santa Elena, Ecuador, Ruta del Sol

Artisan Store in Libertador

Libertador Bolivar is famous for its artisans, so definitely stop here if you are looking for an authentic souvenir or gift. There are multiple shops with hand-made kitchen-ware and furniture, as well as hammocks and hats.

How to Get There: From Guayaquil, take the Maglaralto or CITUP bus lines and tell the driver you are getting off at Libertador Bolivar. If you are already in another town on the Ruta del Sol, wait on the highway for these same buses, going north (the ocean to your left). Use the following website to check bus schedules for the Ruta and anywhere else in Ecuador:

http://www.viajerocontento.com/

Olón

Olon, Ruta del Sol, Santa Elena, Ecuador

Photo by: Emily Cousins

This might be the most chill beach on the entire coast. The beach is sandy right down to the water, and at low tide, it takes several minutes to reach the ocean. Just five minutes by bus from Montanita, but separated by a mountain, Olon has all the beach benefits of Montanita, with none of the chaos and partying. Allegedly, Montanita has better surf, but we still highly recommend staying the night in Olon if you are surfing in Montanita – for all the time you’re not surfing, you’re much more likely to have a beach to yourself.

How to Get There: From Guayaquil, take the Maglaralto or CITUP bus lines and tell the driver you are getting off at Montanita. From Montanita, wait on the road for any bus continuing past Montanita and take it five minutes up the road to the next town (past the little mountain on your left) – this is Olon. If you are already in another town on the Ruta del Sol, wait on the highway for these same buses, going north (the ocean to your left). Use the following website to check bus schedules for the Ruta and anywhere else in Ecuador:

http://www.viajerocontento.com/

La Entrada

La Entrada, Ruta del Sol, Santa Elena, Ecuador

La Entrada
Photo by: Emily Cousins

Almost no tourists stop at La Entrada, but is locally famous for having the best bakery on the coast. We haven’t been to all of the bakeries on the coast, but we can’t see any of them making better cheesecake than Benito’s Bakery. Additionally, La Entrada boasts a circuit of artisans that are each worth visiting.

A group of local women hand-weave purses and bags out of recycled plastic and plastic bags, meticulously folding and sewing the recycled material. Read exactly to make them here.

Another group of women make many beautiful products out of recycled paper, including: photo albums, greeting cards, folders, business cards, and notebooks. Read about the process here.

A group of men works with gold and silver, turning the raw rock into rings, bracelets, earrings, and other jewelry in their own autonomous workshop in town. If you call ahead, they can arrange to be ready to show you the entire process, from raw stone, to melting, shaping, and forming into a final product. Prices are lower than you’ll find in the U.S., so definitely consider bringing some extra cash for a ring or pair of earrings for your loved ones.

Contact: Dario Baque at 099-365-2650; Dayana Malabe at 095-924-6919; Armando Asuncion at 096-920-8787; email – tallerorfebresajafe@hotmail.com

Ecuador, Ruta del Sol

Get off here

How to Get There: From Montanita, take the blue bus going north (ocean to your left) to La Entrada and get off at the last stop. Where the bus stops, you should see a store called Tienda Juliana (big sign up above) – ask whoever is working there about artesania and they should be able to show you some products.

Map

(Map shows the bottom of the Ruta del Sol)

icon-car.pngKML-LogoFullscreen-LogoQR-code-logoGeoJSON-LogoGeoRSS-LogoWikitude-Logo
Alternative Ruta del Sol

loading map - please wait...

Alternative Ruta del Sol -2.216700, -80.950067 You will likely hear and see a lot of promotion for the \'Ruta del Sol\' – a string of towns and activities on the western coast of Ecuador. You will also probably hear mostly about the towns of Salinas, Playas, Montanita, and Puerto Lopez. Thing is, there are many small, chill beach towns on this route that are undeservedly overlooked. If you want to party – go to the towns listed above. If you want a more local, authentic, relaxed look at the coast, check out the towns listed here.