Atacames’ rolling cobalt waves set the stage for Ecuador’s most popular beach, crowded with thatched bars and sarong shops. If you enjoy the accoutrements of urban beaches, this place is for you. The strip is the lively haunt of all-night revelers with blaring music and coconuts waiting to be split, spiked with rum and served up with a Chinese umbrella. Revelry thrives during high season (July to mid-September, Christmas through New Year, Carnaval and Easter) when serranos (highlanders) pour into town to party. In low season it drops dead and becomes a cloudy, brooding refuge.
For those who want a quiet getaway, the nearby villages of Súa and Same offer open, empty expanses of sun and sea.