Stretching alongside the Pacific coastline of Ecuador, the Spondylus Route embraces some of the country’s most beautiful coastal natural areas, as well as features of its culture, history and pre-Columbian archeology.
Formerly known as the Ruta del Sol, the Spondylus Route starts in Esmeraldas on the north and journeys all the way into Peru on the south end of the country, crossing six provinces on the way: Esmeraldas, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas, El Oro and Loja.
Visiting this route implies getting to know about the customs, cultures and history it protects, as well as about its gastronomy and development, closely linked to community tourism and the fishing industry. You can also enjoy practicing adventure sports, unique music, religious customs, delightful cuisine and expertly made handicrafts along the beautiful beaches.
Where does the name “Spondylus” come from?
The route takes its name from the impressive Spondylus shell which was seen as a sacred and venerated symbol of the wealth of the cultures that inhabited the pre-Columbian South America. It was also the emblem of the ritual practiced to promote soil fertility and agricultural prosperity, it was an icon of ceremonial offerings, and later on in time, it even became a type of currency exchange.
Different archaeological excavations featured along the route have shown evidence of the presence of the Valdivia culture, La Tolita Pampa de Oro, and Agua Blanca, among other cultures. Additionally, this route presents spectacular beaches, relaxing nature reserves, wildlife, magnificent mountains, and breathtaking scenery along the entire way.
Want to know more about the touristic activities that take place along the route?
The Spondylus Route offers a wide range of adventures such as watching the humpback whales that visit the Ecuadorian coast during the summer months (roughly from June to September). Furthermore, it offers opportunities for hang-gliding, paragliding, hiking, canyoning, mountain biking, sailing, surfing, diving, snorkeling, hot springs, dancing, and the list goes on.
The gastronomy found along the route is characterized by the use of seafood. Among the most popular local dishes you will find are garlic shrimp, seafood casserole (plantain soup with spices and a variety of seafood), and fish stew (fish soup with cassava and green plantain). However, you can also find a variety of ceviche and fish prepared in different ways.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most important tourist scenarios in the country. For an unforgettable Ecuadorian coastal experience the Spondylus Route has it all.
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