The Ecuador Vibe: AYAMPE – MANABÍ

Ayampe is a small tropical paradise where the jungle and the sea come together, perfect for nature lovers. Located in Manabí, it is the start of the “Ruta del Sol” o “Spondylus,” and is situated between two popular tourist destinations, Montañita and Puerto López. It’s a perfect destination for those who prefer to relax in nature rather than venture into the busyness of the big city.

The town itself is tiny, with most of the streets unpaved, and a population of around 400 people.

How to get there:

There are a few different transportation options to get to Ayampe. These include personal vehicles, taxis, or buses which are always running on the “Ruta del Sol” and make frequent stops. From Guayaquil to Ayampe the distance is 123.5 miles (199km) and takes about 3 and a half hours driving along La Costa/E40 – Ruta del Spondylus/E15. From Salinas to Ayampe the distance is around 58 miles (93km) and is around 2 hours along the Ruta del Spondylus/E15. Lastly, from Manta to Ayampe the distance is around 80 miles (130km) and takes a little over 2 hours to complete.

Where to stay:

These places are known for their high quality rooms and comfort. They are sure to make your stay magical for a visit, you might even want to move there! The top 5 recommended places to stay in Ayampe are:

  1. El Campito

  2. La Buena Vida

  3. Cabañas La Tortuga

  4. Ayampe Guest House

  5. Ganso & Búho

Where to eat:

The restaurants found in Ayampe are some of the most unique along the “Ruta del Sol.” Each of these places are sure to have something for your tastebuds. The top 5 recommended places to eat are:

  1. La Mulata

  2. Los Orishas

  3. De Jimny’s

  4. Fish House

  5. The Barn (With the best baked goods on the entire “Ruta del Sol!”

What to do:

Out of all the activities to do in Ayampe, surfing is the best choice due to the great waves these beaches offer almost every single day. This is also an ideal spot for beginning surfers because the waves aren’t too big or too small. Additionally, Ayampe offers horseback rides, excursions through the humid jungle called "La Montaña" and walking paths through the gardens located on the banks of the Ayampe River (which runs through the town).

If you are a bird watcher, Ayampe is the place for you. It is known for its great diversity of birds including Hummingbirds and marine species. Also, if you are lucky you can spot a special light show put on at night under the water by the fluorescent plankton. These plankton light up and create a spectacular view which is a great excuse for a late night swim!

Lastly, Ayampe is a well known spot along the “Ruta del Sol” for a relaxing spa day . Mauli Spa, located in the heart of Ayampe, is the perfect spot to relax and rejuvenate for the day. Here you will find tourists and locals alike who come from all over to enjoy the benefits of this hidden gem.


In short, Ayampe is a small community full of happy and helpful people, bringing life to this little area of Ecuador. Always making one feel at home and providing amazing service for both locals and tourists is what has drawn many expats to make this place their home permanently.