Known as the “Heart of the Earth,” Ecuador is home to a diverse landscape that includes towering mountain peaks, dense jungle, tropical beaches, and some of the best waves on the planet. Our Ecuador surf school is located in the tiny, charming town of Ayampe, where lively tropical waters collide with stunning beaches, a dense jungle, and friendly locals and ex-pats. If you’re considering taking a surf trip soon, why not venture down to South America for the adventure of a lifetime in Ecuador? With over 1,400 miles of coastline, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, the team at Safari Surf has put together the ultimate guide. Continue reading below for Everything You Need to Know About Surfing in Ecuador.
Ecuador Surf Regions
Travelers planning on going surfing in Ecuador can choose from four surf regions: North (Mompiche to Bahia de Caraquez), Central (Manta Zone), Baja Manabi, and South (Las Salinas to Montanita). Our Ecuador surf school is located in the Baja Manabi Zone, just south of Parque Nacional Machalilla. When it comes to waves, Ecuador has a bit of everything, from world-class beach breaks and reef passes to left and right point breaks.
The Northern zone stretches from Bahia de Caraquez to Mompiche in the Esmereldas province. Bahia takes a large southwest swell to work. The Canoa area, on the other hand, has a series of fun river mouth and sand bottom points perfect for beginner and intermediate surfers. The Northern Zone is also home to Mompiche, Ecuador’s most famous left-hand point break.
The Central Zone extends from the north-facing coast in Manta to San Lorenzo Cape. Thanks to the north-facing direction of the coast near Manta, waves in the region are extremely exposed to winter Northwest swells. San Lorenzo Cape offers several remote points and reef breaks that work well in a variety of swell conditions. The south end of the cape is home to one of Ecuador’s best barreling beach breaks and river mouth waves. The Central Zone possesses some of Ecuador’s most isolated waves; however, many are hard to access and take a high level of local knowledge.
The Baja Manabi Zone
The Baja Manabi Zone, located between the Central And South Zones, sits on a remote stretch of coast that’s home to charming beach towns and world-class waves for all levels of surfers. During north swells, you can expect to find a plethora of quality rights. If you’re traveling during a south or west swell, you’ll find more than a handful of lefts. The region has a variety of setups that work with virtually any swell condition. So, it’s easy to find surfable waves most of the year. Our home break in Ayampe has one of the best beginner to intermediate beach breaks in the country that breaks over 300 days a year.
The Southern Zone
Travelers surfing in Ecuador’s Southern Zone will find popular breaks like Las Salinas and Montanita that work best during southwest swells but still produce surf during northern swells. Surfers based in Guayaquil travel to Las Salinas for most significant swell events. The area contains a variety of points, reefs, jetties, and beach breaks. Montanita is a bohemian beach town with a lively party scene that is a popular stop for most backpackers in the region. Beyond partying, Montanita has some of the best waves in the country, with a well-established surf infrastructure of guides and surf schools.
Best Time of Year for Surfing in Ecuador
While Ecuador has year-round surf, the primary season for surfing in Ecuador falls between December and April, when northwest swells are abundant in the Pacific. Winds during the swell season are predominately light or offshore, making it the ideal time of year for clean conditions.
Winds during this time of year are predominantly glassy to offshore along most of the coast.
Ayampe, the Ultimate Ecuador Surf Town
Ayampe is an idyllic laid-back surf town in the Baja Manabi Zone that is home to one of the country’s most consistent beach breaks. Ayampe is by no means a hustling and bustling tourist destination, it’s a quiet town with a certain coastal charm that’s hard to put into words. Ayampe reminds us a lot of how Nosara was 20 years ago. There are good waves, nice people, good food, and breathtaking natural beauty. The wave at Ayampe works well during both north and south swells, making it the ideal destination for surfing in Ecuador at any time of year.
If you’re considering taking a trip to South America, visit our Ecuador surf school in Ayampe for a once-in-a-lifetime surfing experience. Head to our website for more information.