Northern Pacific Lowlands

The coastal region covers a third of Ecuador's total area. Although overlooked by some foreign visitors, the Northern Pacific Lowlands offer great natural beauty, diversity and a rich cultural heritage. Quiteños and Guayaquileños know better and come here in droves for weekends and holidays.

You can surf, watch whales at play, visit ancient archaeological sites, or just relax and enjoy the best food that this country has to offer. The jewel in the coastal crown, Parque Nacional Machalilla, protects an important area of primary tropical dry forest, pre-Columbian ruins, coral reef and a wide variety of wildlife. Further north, in the province of Esmeraldas, are unique ecosystems and the Afro-Ecuadorean way of life.

Even if your time is limited, the coast is easily accessible from Quito, making it the ideal short break from the Andean chill. The water is warm for bathing and the beaches, many of them deserted, are generally attractive.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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