Canoa is a small fishing town, popular with surfers, artists, ex-pats, and backpackers who flock to Canoa hostels to laze on the sands of its sun—kissed beach, sip beers from one of its numerous beach bars, or take to the skies with the hugely popular parapenting, the latest popular craze entertaining the tourists, which is a very reasonably priced, professional outfit which can be easily arranged from the popular ex-pat pub, The Surf Shack pub.
The beach is lined with ceviche bars, cocktail shacks, fruit stalls, and seafood cafes, many of which are closed during the day but come to life in the evenings, weekends, and during festivals, when the town is transformed from sleepy fishing village to raucous party town with an influx of campesinos coming for day trips down from the mountains or escaping to Canoa hostels from the capital city, Quito, to soak up the sea air and hot sun.
There is a host of Canoa hostels and boutique hotels catering to every budget, including a number of basic campsites, home to the many traveling hippies who sell their jewelry from morning until night along the main road fronting the beach. The vacant rooms quickly fill up at weekends and during festivals when the prices rise steeply. Canoa hostels are mainly to be found fronting the beach, or lining the two streets behind. The main thoroughfare perpendicular to the beach is home to a number of small grocery shops and souvenir shops and is the pick-up point for the buses heading either South to Bahia or North to Pedernales, the connection for Quito.