Manabi, Ecuador

This isn’t somewhere that gets a lot of tourist traffic, but those that make it are rewarded with forests to trek, dinky fishing villages to explore, and beautiful beaches to loaf about on. It’s a perfect palate cleanser if you’re hopping from the Andes to the Galápagos, with Machalilla National Park and its rich biodiversity. See rare white-tailed deer, howler monkeys and abundant birdlife in the forests, or spend your days by, in or under the water.

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When to go

The coast can get much warmer than the highlands, and December to April are a good time to visit, with clear blue skies, some showers and temperatures in the high 20s centigrade. May to November can be cool and grey.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Eloy Alfaro International Airport (www.aeropuertomanta.com) is the main hub here. European flights connect via Quito and there are direct links from major US airports.
  • Automobiles

    If you hire a car, get a good GPS, as signage is sparse.