Some call it a “little Miami,” but except for the sun, sand, and surf, it doesn’t really look anything like Miami. On the other hand, I was here during the low season.
During the high season, I was told, the beaches of Salinas are so crowded with people that practically every inch of sand is covered by a towel, an umbrella or an oil-stained body. The streets are clogged with cruise cars bringing even more sand fans, and the boardwalk is wall-to-wall with vendors selling everything from ice cream to shark tooth visors and earrings to shrimp on a stick, fresh off the beaten track. Grill.
If you are a bit agoraphobic, then the low season, from mid-May to December, is the time to go to Salinas, the most popular beach resort on the Pacific coast of Ecuador.
About 90 miles from Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, Salinas has long been a vacation destination for Ecuadorians. Resplendent high-rise condos line the beach road. Trendy seafood restaurants and trendy clubs come alive at night. (Even in the off-season, the night streets are packed with young people wanting to see and be seen.)
However, unlike Miami, Salinas is a relatively small city. The beach is divided almost perfectly in half by a jetty where the docks of the Club Náutico de Salinas are located. The crescent-shaped sandy bay on the north side, where the abundance of action takes place, is Salinas Beach. To the south is the beach of Chipipe, quieter and more familiar.
Unsurprisingly, most of the activities here focus on water sports: sport fishing, whale watching, wakeboarding, waterskiing, sailing, skydiving, parasailing, and surfing. The Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship was held here last spring. .
Yet despite how busy Salinas is, it may be one of the least expensive beach resorts in the world. A nice private room in a sweet boutique hotel just a block from the boardwalk can be had for $ 30 a night for just one. A steak or seafood dinner at one of those trendy restaurants will cost you just $ 5 or $ 6. Or eat fish or shrimp, cooked however you like, at the local market, more than you can eat for around $ 2.50.
And those condos I mentioned? Found a new one on the eighth floor with a floor-to-ceiling view of that beautiful crescent shaped bay. With three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a utility room, it is priced at just $ 130,000.