If you’re a geography nut, you need to know about La Chocolatera. It is the point of land that sticks furthest out into the Pacific Ocean from Ecuador (the second furthest point on the continent). It is a famous place, not just because it is a geographical oddity but for its dangerous reputation. The name supposedly comes from the tool used to beat hot chocolate into foamy, rich goodness. The waves here crash against the rocks with a ferocity little known along the Ecuadorian coast and create a white foam that rarely leaves the surface of the ocean. Those same crashing waves make this area difficult to navigate and fisherman and surfers give it wide berth.
The location is also stunning for the stark contrast between the brilliant blue of the sky, the darker blue of the ocean, and the golden yellows and tans of the desert soil. Salinas sees very little rain during the year and the land surrounding La Chocolatera gives evidence to the super dry conditions. You’re likely to see a lizard or two during your visit and you’re guaranteed to see many a cactus. On our visits, we have been lucky to see several different varieties of sea birds, including a flock of Blue-Footed Boobies and a couple of small terns dodging and diving along the cliff edge.
Until recently, it was difficult to visit La Chocolatera without a military ID card. But President Correa declared it a national tourist treasure and said that all Ecuadorians should have access. Today, though you still have to enter via the Salinas Air Force Base or the Salinas Navy Base, tourist access is common. If you decide to come out this way, plan on a couple of hours so that you have time for La Chocolatera, La Lobería, and the small visitors center high on the hill overlooking the entire area. Although there are places to buy water and snacks, it would be better to plan for a meal back in Salinas or to carry along a picnic lunch.
La Chocolatera, Salinas
Mirador Puntilla de Santa Elena
Information For Your Trip
There is little shade so come prepared for lots of sunshine. During the weekends and holidays, there may be vendors selling water, ice cream, and food.
- Direction by Car, use WAZE and look for La Chocolatera, Salinas, Provincia de Santa Elena
- Direction by Public Transportation - on our last visit, it was not possible to enter the military base by bus but it was affordable to hire a taxi.
Hi Angie, interesting to read your piece about La Chocolatera in Salinas, Ecuador. My family lived on the Santa Elena peninsular for 25 years, from the early 60s through to 1985. During that period La Chocolatera had another, much more sinister reputation. Particularly during the frequent military coups of that period is was known for the wealth of sharks in the area, largely due to the practice of disposing of both living and dead/mutilated political prisoners from the rocks. The FAE and Army base on the Salinas headland (less so the Naval base) were reputed to be centres of interrogation, detention and torture of political prisoners and other “disapareceridos”. Something perhaps to reflect upon as one admires the rough season and rocky outcrops there?
This is a side of La Chocolatera that I have never heard about… and yes, it is definitely something to contemplate. In fact, it would make a very interesting documentary. Have you ever considered writing a book?