Some call it a “little Miami,” but except for the sun, sand and surf, it’s really nothing like Miami. Then again, I was here during the off season.
During high season, I’m told, the beaches of Salinas are so jam packed with people that virtually every inch of sand is covered by towel, umbrella, or oil-slicked body. Streets are clogged by cruising cars bringing even more sand fans, and the malecon is wall-to-wall with vendors hawking everything from ice cream to eyeshades and shark-tooth earrings to shrimp on a stick, hot off the grill.
Salinas; Ecuadoreans Vacation Destination
About 90 miles from Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, Salinas has long been a vacation home destination for Ecuadoreans. Glittering high-rise condos line the beach road. Fashionable seafood restaurants and trendy clubs come alive at night. (Even in slow season, the nighttime streets are thronged with young people out to see and be seen.)
Unlike Miami, though, Salinas Ecuador is a relatively small town. The beach is divided almost perfectly in half by a jetty where you’ll find the docks of the Salinas Yacht Club. The sandy half-moon bay on the north side, where the abundance of action takes place, is Salinas Beach. To the south is Chipipe Beach, quieter and more family oriented.
As you’d expect, most of the activities here center around watersports: game fishing, whale watching, wake-boarding, water skiing, yachting, sky diving, parasailing, and surfing—the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship was held here his past Spring.
Despite the flurry of activity that is Salinas, though, it may be one of the world’s least-expensive beach resorts. A nice private room in a sweet boutique hotel just one block off the malecon can be had for $30/night for a single. A steak or seafood dinner in one of those trendy restaurants will set you back just $5 or $6. Or chow down on fish or shrimp, cooked any way you like, at the local mercado—more than you can eat for about $2.50.
Salinas Ecuador Condos
And those condos I mentioned? I found a brand-new one on the eighth floor with a floor-to-ceiling view of that gorgeous half-moon bay. With three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a maid’s quarters, it’s priced at just $130,000.
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