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Ruta Spondylus

Formerly known as the Ruta del Sol, this coastline has much more to offer than just sun and sand. The area’s geography runs the gamut from dry scrub and cactus to lush mountainous cloud forests, beautiful beaches and offshore islands teeming with unique flora and fauna. It's easily accessed by buses from Guayaquil in the south to Puerto López and Manta in the north.

The name derives from the spondylus mollusk, commonly known in English as the spiny oyster. Now endangered, Ecuadorian law prohibits their collection and consumption. The shells were used extensively in trade and ceremony by the country's pre-Colombian people.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ruta Spondylus.