THE ECUADOR VIBE - The Ecuador Vibe: SALINAS – SANTA ELENA
Salinas is a coastal town located on the western tip of the province of Santa Elena in Ecuador. It is known for its popular beaches, San Lorenzo, Chipipe, Punta Carnero and Mar Bravo. Salinas’ well known tourist attraction is the Malecon, which is lined with palm trees, beaches, and amazing restaurants. Near the Malecon is also a Whale Museum, which houses a collection of whales, dolphins and sea lions. Starting in June the whales begin to migrate to the coast of Ecuador and during this time you can see them as they pass through the rocky area of ‘La Chocolatera.’ ‘La Chocolatera’ offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and you may even be able to see a few sea lions there as well!
How to get there:
There are a few different transportation options to get to Salinas. These include personal vehicles, taxis, or buses which are always running on the “Ruta del Sol” through Ayampe, Olon and Manta. The distance from Guayaquil to Salinas is 88 miles (142 km) along the Vía a la Costa/E40 and takes around 2 hours. From Olon to Salinas the drive takes around an hour and a half with a distance of 45 miles (72 km) along the Ruta del Spondylus/E15. If you want to get to Salinas from Manta the distance is 193 miles (223 km) along the Ruta del Spondylus / E15 with a time of around 4 hours. There is also an option to pass through the city of Guayaquil on your way from Manta to Salinas. This route takes a different highway (E482 y Vía a la Costa/E40) and gives you a chance to visit the city of Guayaquil. This trip takes approximately 5 hours.
Where to stay:
In Salinas you can find several lodging options with different types of prices and commodities. These options are cozy, comfortable, modern and luxurious, offering quality service and open availability. Salinas has become one of the most popular cities for tourists and expats on the coast due to its close proximity to Guayaquil and the comfort and ease it offers. The most highly recommended stays in Salinas are:
Hotel Boutique Playa Canela
Hostería Ecológica El Faro
Hotel Casa Blanca Chipipe
Blue Bay Hotel
Where to eat:
There are many places to enjoy excellent food in Salinas. The most recommended places to grab a bite to eat are:
Luv N Oven - The owners are from the province of Esmeralda and their menu is filled with a fusion of foods at an incredible price with great service.
Casa Rabotti (Highly recommended Italian food)
Chilli Peppers (Highly recommended Mexican food)
Mariscos Azul (Highly recommended for the freshest seafood)
Jhimy's Food from Peru
Salinas also offers a range of great breakfast options! The most recommended breakfast restaurants are:
Common Grounds Restaurant
Cafe Jazz (A Russion cafe that offers the best desserts, coffee and breakfast foods)
Chicho's (A more traditional Ecuadorian breakfast cafe with many options made with ‘verde’ or green plantain)
What to do:
The activities available in Salinas are varied, including both indoor and outdoor options. If you are a person who prefers to have fun outdoors Salinas offers many outdoor sports such as surfing, running, or sailing. La Fae, Punta Carnero, Mar Bravo are highly recommended beaches for runners. Surfing is also a predominant water sport on the Ecuadorian coast but it is more common to see practices and competitions between sailing clubs in Salinas. There are two internationally recognized Yacht clubs in Salinas, Salinas Yacht Club and Puerto Lucia Yacht Club, but it should be noted that access to these clubs are required through a partner company or membership.
La Chocolatera is the most popular tourist spot located within the Salinas Naval Base, at the most salient point of the Santa Elena Peninsula, 163 kilometers from the city of Guayaquil. It is the second farthest point on the South American coast where you can observe the migration of humpback whales and birds.
If you would like to enjoy a quiet day at the beach, sunbathe and spend with the family we suggest Chipipe or San Lorenzo beach, where children can swim in the ocean and you can relax on the beach without a care in the world!
There are also lots of options for day and night entertainment in Salinas. The plaza, Local’s Point, is located on the boardwalk (Malecon) in Salinas and has a variety of small food places, games and playgrounds for children, bicycle rentals and a ramp for those who enjoy skateboarding. Later into the day there is a popular bar called Thirsty Shark which opens at 6pm, or an expat favorite, La Casa De Madera, both which have good cocktails, drinks, and snacks.
If you are interested in museums, Salinas also has plenty to offer. At the entrance of Santa Elena, the Museum of the Lovers of Sumpa, can be found. This museum has a clay oven where ancestral cooking classes are taught. It is the oldest archaeological site on the Ecuadorian coast, where the remains of a pre-ceramic settlement were discovered with evidence of dwellings, a garbage dump, and a cemetery.
Close by in Ballenita, passing Santa Elena before reaching Salinas is the Farallon Dillon Museum. A beautiful Mediterranean style building with marine decorations and a mini chapel. Lastly, in Salinas itself you can’t miss the popular Whale Museum.
Since the railroad was built in 1920 in Salinas, and the English who arrived through the company ANGLO Ecuadorian Oil Fields in 1928, tourism has become a main source of income for the locals here.
The arrival of the English encouraged education and health, which was well received by the native people of Salinas. The people of Salinas are very friendly and are willing to welcome tourists with kindness while providing the best possible service available.
Salinas survives off of the economic stimulation from the Libertad State Oil Refinery and work done in the salt wells. Sea fishing is also a significant economic resource for the people of Salinas, the peninsula, and the rest of the coast. Tourism and commerce are also significant economic sources of revenue in Salinas which has allowed for the construction of some of the most beautiful seaside resorts in Ecuador. This attracts not only national, but international tourism to the peninsula as well.
Adapting to a new way of life
The lifestyle in Salinas is very easy to get adjusted to because it is safe, fun, and cheap!
This gem on the Ecuadorian coast has everything that you would need including two of the largest supermarket chains in the country, pharmacies and a large shopping center with a movie theater.
People who settle down in Salinas live a simple and comfortable life with everything they need at their fingertips. Not to mention the ability to live steps away from the ocean is what makes Salinas a popular place for both foreigners and locals to invest in property and business.
Lastly, Salinas is considered to have the most highly renowned beaches in Ecuador and is one of the 8 best places to retire in the world. Salinas has an amazing location, with a temperate and dry climate, close proximity to the airport, first class hospitals and immediate medical attention if needed. This is what makes Ecuador, and specifically Salinas, among the 22 most popular countries for U.S. retirees.
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The EcuaAssist Team
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.