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Ecuador's coastal lowlands offer travelers a variety of spectacular scenery, unique culture, and some of the best food in the country. The warm water and relatively unspoiled sandy beaches dotted with coconut palms provide a fun and relaxing environment characteristic of Ecuador's coastal communities.

Efforts are being made to protect Ecuador's important mangrove forests.

Ecuador greets the Pacific Ocean with a breathtaking coastline.

Coastal montane  forest

Afro-Ecuadorian man

Ministry of Tourism, Ecuador

The African and Caribbean influence of coastal populations is reflected in the music, dance and cuisine of the region.

Traditional ceviche d

    Ministry of Tourism, Ecuador


Extending the length of the country and as far inland as 112 miles (180 km), the coast's humidity and warmth give the region incredible diversity and fertility. Plantations of African Palms, bananas, rice, coffee, and the native Cacao (chocolate bean) extend along the fertile inland regions. Mangrove swamps inhabit river estuaries, providing important habitat for many land and marine wildlife. Once abundant, the mangroves now suffer intense deforestation due to agriculture and shrimp farming. National parks and reserves protect many of the remaining coastal dry and humid tropical forests that still exist in the region.

Ecuador's "Panama" Hat  

Ministry of Tourism, Ecuador

The famous Ecuadorian export, the Panama Hat was misnamed by returning gold miners in the 1850's who found the lightweight, wide-brimmed hats excellent protection from the tropical sun. The misnomer remains, but the hats have long been recognized as the cottage industry of the small coastal town of Montescristi for more than a century. Made from the fibers of the paja toquilla plant, true Panama Hats are woven so tightly as to hold water!

Children of Esmeraldas

Ministry of Tourism, Ecuador

Mestizo boy from Pedernales  (Mestizo means the mixed race of Spanish and indigenous)

Musine has mangroves and quiet beaches.

Dancing at a community festival

Ministry of Tourism, Ecuador

Relaxing on the beach in Puerto Lopez

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