Of Ecuador’s vast coastal region, the South is safe to visit. The northern coast, bordering Colombia has been unsafe for decades. The area around Machalilla National Park offers the most opportunities for relaxation and nature observation. Also in the Park is the island of Isla de la Plata, a surrogate for those not visiting Galapagos.
It is a 3-hour drive from Guayaquil to Puerto Lopez (the coastal village from which Machalilla National Park is governed). But there are other ways to get there, e.g. from Chimborazo or from Quito and Cotopaxi.
More info on hotels and possible excursions in the coastal region can be found below.