Salinas is a city in the province of Santa Elena, Ecuador.
Salinas is a beach city close to Guayaquil, so from December to May, it is crowded, especially at weekends.
Salinas is 124 km from Guayaquil. To get in, you have to take Via a la Costa Road. There are some transportation companies (Liberpesa, CLP and Costa Azul) that can take you there. Besides these companies there are other companies that offer the same service for a little bit more, but they take you in a private car with a maximum of 4 persons, so this is another option for the people who don't have their own car, and want to have a very comfortable trip to Salinas.
You can get to Salinas by car, and by plane. Salinas has an airport that is at the air force base. Arriving in Salinas by plane is not common as most people take a car from Guayaquil (because they're very close).
You can rent a car in Guayaquil and then easily drive around Salinas and the Ruta del Sol coastline. Anyone with a drivers license from any country can rent. Prices start at $25 per day.
Salinas is a beach, so everything that has to do with the sea, the beach, and the sun is what you can and should do in Salinas. There are several attractions. One of the biggest is the water park, Aqua Adventure, a good choice for every tourist to spend one of their days. Another biggest attraction is La Chocolatera, a beach that you can only see from above. The nice thing about this beach is the huge waves and the very dangerous water. To enjoy this place you should visit it with high tide.
Punta Carnero is a beach in Salinas County, a 10 minute drive from Salinas. Its name, "Ram Point" in English, stems from the rocky headland at the southeast end of the beach. The beach extends for approximately 2.6 km (1.6 mi) and is relatively wide, with white to gray sand, medium waves, and a prevalent inland breeze. Punta Carnero has warm water temperatures, averaging 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit). It is one of the most popular holiday destinations on the Ecuadorian coast because of the fine beaches and steady weather all year round. Punta Carnero has great appeal. A wide swath of sand topped by low vegetation, spectacular waves, beautiful sunsets, a wonderful breeze. Punta Carnero also has great potential.
Surf & bodyboard
Water sports are the biggest attraction and what most people do in Salinas. Among the most popular water sports that people practice the most are surfing, fishing, and wake boarding. Waves are very consistent and dependable almost every day.
La Chocolatera is on the FAE (Ecuadorian Air Force) base, yet tourists are allowed in. You only need an ID. With low tide there are great waves (left ones). Only for experienced surfers.
The Punta Carnero Beach is 2,500 m long and is 10 minutes from Salinas. It is an international spot for surfing. Other nearby surf spots are Chulluype and Mar Bravo. Punta Carnero has been chosen several times to be the venue for international surf competitions. The sea here is a little rough and many surfers love to embrace the challenge. The sunsets are spectacular. Punta Carnero Beach is not rocky and has fine sand for all of its 2,500 m length. The sun is very strong and SPF 50 sunscreen is recommended.
Parasailing Parasailing is enjoyed by many in Punta Carnero.
Whale watching and sighting of humpback whales during their mating season from June-October is an amazing experience for anyone. It is also a unique experience to hear their songs, which can last up to 20 minutes. There are many boats for hire that specialize in whale-watching tours with expert guides. The waters off Punta Carnero Beach are a national marine sanctuary.
Bird Watching Punta Carnero offers a wide range of birds and other wildlife to view.
There is a lot of art made by hand from natives from Salinas. Natives and tourists from other countries around like Chile and Argentina also come to Salinas to sell their things. Malecon Street is a popular destination for tourists where there are a lot of artesanias making jewelry and lots of South American crafts.
Some of the best seafood you can get along the coast of Ecuador is here. The restaurants are basically specialized in seafood. Typical foods are, for example, the shrimp ceviche and arroz marinero.
Some of the places that you can find all the types of seafood that you will like to try once you are in Salinas are:
- Restaurant Mar Y Tierra: This is one of the most prestigious restaurants in Salinas, because of the time they have been working, and also because the food is delicious, if you go to Salinas you must go to Mar y Tierra to eat.
- Popular places for ceviches are two: Cevichelandia, and la Lojanita. They are located in the second street, one street from the Malecon.
- In the malecon street, you can find a lot of restaurants, that are cheaper but are still good. The seafood is not the only famous food, also the "carne en palito" and the "arroz con menestra" are also really good. One of the best "arroz con menestra" can be found in Carloncho, a restaurant that is in the malecon.
Salinas offers many attractions at night, and the nightlife is diverse. If you just want to relax, you have the opportunity to go the malecon, walk around there, visit the Artesanias, a place where all the natives and some foreign people make jewellery with shells and with many other things, this is a very attractive place. For, the people that want to spend the night with their children and family, 20 minutes from Salinas is El Paseo Shopping Center. And, for young people that are looking for something more exciting and entertaining, Salinas offers a variety of bars and clubs that are all around the city, you can find some of them in the malecon.
- Barcelo Colon Miramar (On the Malecon between St 38 & 40), ☏ . This is a hotel for people who want to splurge.
- Caravel Hotel (Ave Enriquez Gallo and Jose Alberto Estrell), ☏ . One of the cheapest hotels in town, and only a block from the beach. You can get a room without air conditioning or a TV for USD10. Wi-Fi is available at reception.
- Hotel El Marinero (In Chipipe, av 12 October & St Humberto Graces), ☏ . Very luxurious and comfortable. It has 10 rooms.
- Hotel Mediterraneo (9th Ave between St 20 & 21), ☏ . A very comfortable hotel. It has 40 rooms and is affordable.
- Hotel Salinas (Ave General Enrique Gallo & St 27), ☏ . A traditional hotel.
- Hotel Sun Beach (Principal Ave one block from Rubira School), ☏ . This is a hotel for the people who want to be separate from the crowd and relax. Not a luxury hotel, but very comfortable.
You can go back to Guayaquil by bus. The fare is $3.25. You can also go north by the Ruta del Sol all the way to Manta (6 hours by bus).