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For other places with the same name, see Canoa (disambiguation).

Canoa is a pleasant, laid-back fishing village on the Pacific coast of Ecuador in the Manabi Province. Popular with travellers and yet not overrun by them, it's an excellent place to chill-out for a few days on the beach or practice your surfing skills.

Understand[edit]

Canoa suffered serious physical and financial damage in the April 2016 earthquake and the subsequent period of reconstruction and reduced tourism. The hospitality industry is still recovering with some businesses having closed and new ones opening.

The area of interest to voyagers is eight blocks long and two or three blocks wide west of the main road. Buses from the south travel along Román Centenio for most of the town, turn east on Xavier Santos for two blocks to Parque Central then continue to the north. Xavier Santos runs westward to the beach ending at the Malecón and a large 3D CANOA sign. Street names are hardly used and street signs are rare.

Canoa beach

Get in[edit]

Every 30 minutes there is a bus connection with San Vicente or Bahía de Caráquez. From Bahia 4 buses daily leave to Quito (two in the morning (06:30, 09:00) and two in the evening). There are now direct buses to Quito and Guayaquil to and from Canoa.

There is also a bus route up the coast to Pedernales. The Sundown Inn has excellent maps of Canoa and the region.

There are direct buses between Canoa and Montañita and Manta. For Puerto López take a bus to Jipijapa and change busses.

Bus companies have offices along Xavier Santos in the three blocks before Parque Central. For buses to San Vicente, Bahía de Caráquez and other areas to the nearby south, buses can be hailed along the main road.

See[edit]

Do[edit]

  • Surfing: Canoa has some nice surf to learn or perfect your skills. 16 km (10 mi) of beach break with no rocks, no reef and no riptide means nice conditions for beginners and moderate waves in peak surf season which is from January through April.
Surf lessons on the beach of Canoa
  • 1 Adicto Surf School (at lifeguard tower and juice stand on beach in front of the base of pedestrian bridge, one block north of CANOA sign). Stand up paddle lessons, SUP yoga, surf and surfboard rental and surfing lessons run by Ecuador's top SUP surf and SUP race athlete. Also has a vegan cafe. Surfboards $3.00/hour (update Jan 2020).
  • 2 Canoa Surf Academy (on the Malecón one-and-a-half blocks south of the CANOA sign), +593 96 055 9066. Board rental and surf lessons boards $3.50/hour, Body boards $2.50/hour. (update Jan 2020).
  • 3 Volunteer at Algarrobos Bilingual School (135 m north of the highway bridge on the right; look for highway sign), . A USA 501(c)(3) bilingual grammar school. Short-term volunteers and semester-long interns to teach or participate in major subject areas are crucial for the exposure of the young students to the global community “to facilitate children becoming global citizens through language and knowledge”. Email Rachael (above) or ask at The Surf Shak. (update Jan 2020).
Beautiful Canoa Beach
  • Beachcombing The mostly pristine, mostly deserted beach runs for ten miles. At low tide it is very flat and wide. Walking along the beautiful beach at Canoa can be quite rewarding as some beautiful tropical sea shells wash up. Canoa is known for its ecological pride, but rubbish does wash up from other coastal areas. Even if you are not staying at Hotel Bambu, they will give you one free cocktail if you fill a bag up with rubbish - you can fill a bag quite quickly and it's a free drink and a great way to keep the beach clean, so everybody wins.
  • Take a trip to Rio Muchacho Organic Farm. They offer 1-3 day tours with activities including horse trek to howler monkey forest and waterfall, making chocolate and coffee from the bean, making necklaces, bowls, and rings from natural materials, and lots more. They also offer volunteer programs for the farm and eco-schools. You can get more information on Rio Muchacho or other tours in Ecuador at their office in Canoa which also sells fair trade items.

Learn[edit]

  • The Canoa Spanish School is a great place to learn Spanish while enjoying the beach. It is located at the Sundown Inn on the beach just south of town. You can get a 4-week program with private beachfront room, all meals and 80 hours of private tutoring for around $800.

Buy[edit]

  • There are several tourist shops in Canoa.
  • There is no bank or ATM in Canoa. There is an ATM and bank in San Vicente.

Eat[edit]

  • 1 Restaurante Costa Azul (on the corner of Xavier Santos Street and the Malecón across from the CANOA sign). Staff seems genuinely apathetic about the presence or needs of customers. No wifi. seafood and chicken $5-12. Breakfast $3-4. Almuerzos $3.50.
  • 2 Surf Shak (on the Malecón one-half block south of CANOA sign), +593 52 588 107. North American style restaurant and expat hangout that offers burgers, pizza, etc. French press coffee. The food is the best non-Ecuadorian in the area and the prices are quite reasonable. English spoken. NFL football nights; poker & trivia nights. Breakfast $2.50-5.50, burgers & sandwiches $4.00-6.50. Vegetarian options.
  • 3 Samay Restaurant and Hostel (on the Malecón, one and a half blocks south of the CANOA sign), +593 52 588 031, +593 99 078 9157, . Fish, shrimp, chicken and vegetarian meals. Elevated deck with view of town, beach and sunsets. $5-7.
  • Restaurante Genesis, Javier Santos #306 (main road), has cheap and decent fish dishes. They may try to get more money out of you by bringing more (or more expensive) dishes than what you ordered.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 Cabinas Ruta Del Sol (Xavier Santos street three blocks east of CANOA sign across the street from the minimart), +593 52588063, +593 999633141. Double bed, en-suite hot-water bathroom, wardrobe, A/C. Swimming pool. $10 per person (update Jan 2020).
  • 2 Hostel Coco Loco (on the Malacon four blocks south of CANOA sign), +593 99 225 5299, . Check-in: 11:00 a, check-out: flexable. Hot water, fan, wifi throughout, mosquito nets, shared kitchen. Restaurant (except lunch) and bar. Dorm=$12; shared bath s/d=$16/$28 (Ensuite add $4). (update Jan 2020).
  • 3 Hosteria Canoa (400 m south of the gasoline station on the south end of town), +593 52588180, . Has hotel style rooms with A/C as well as individual cabins with fans and a mini-refrigerator and with three single beds and a seprate bedroom with a queen. The nice pool is in the center of this hosteria with the beautiful and somewhat secluded beach a short walk. Wifi and TV (includes CNN-International). 12% IVA added. Breakfast included. Low season — Hotel rooms s/d= $35/$67, cabanas $125 for up to 4 people. High season — Hotel rooms= $95 single or double, Cabanas up to 4 people $160. (update Jan 2020).
  • 4 Hotel Baloo (on the Malecón at the last street on the south end of town), +593 52-588-244, +593 985-56592. It is probably the quietest and most laid back place in town, away from all the obnoxious loud music that you will find on the beach closer to the busy end of the town. Great steaks on Saturday night, also pork ribs and langostinos (lobster). Free Wi-Fi and pool table as well as reasonably priced laundry service. $7-15 per person.
  • 5 Hotel Bambú, +593 52588017, . It is right on the beach. It rents out cabins or hotel rooms or you can pitch your own tent. Besides accommodation there is a busy restaurant (breakfast $3.50-8. Crepes $3.50-5. meals mostly $8-15). If you fill one of their large (not small!) bags with trash from the beach you get a free cocktail. Furthermore there is a pool table, table tennis, free Wi-Fi, laundry service, and surfboard rental. The happy hour (17:00-18:30) is a good time to meet other travellers. The mood is very relaxed and during this time you get a "2 for 1" deal on cocktails. $4-20.
  • 6 Camping Iguana (one block from the beach, four blocks south of the CANOA sign, on the corner). Quiet little campsite with small kitchen, BBQ, hammocks, Wi-Fi. $3.50 per person in your own tent. (update Jan 2020).
  • Sundown Beach Hostel (about 2 km south of town). A great place to stay and relax outside the noise of main town. Nice beachfront rooms, some with balconies, for $5-8 per person. They also offer Spanish lessons.
  • Coconut Hotel. The Coconut Hotel is a hostel with private rooms available from $10-25 a night. Food and drink service available, as well as board and bike rentals.

Stay safe[edit]

Thefts are very common on the beach, especially at night. Do not leave valuables on the shore when you are in the water and be very careful if camping on the beach at night.

Apply insect repellent to feet, ankles and lower legs when going to the beach around dawn and dusk as a precaution against sand flies (Lutzomyia spp.).

Go next[edit]

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