Modern Art at the Museum Amantes de Sumpa, Santa Elena, Ecuador

The Museum of Los Amantes de Sumpa was built to protect an ancient burial site. More than 200 skeletons have been discovered here, and one unique grave makes it famous. A pair of bodies, one woman and one man, legs and arms intertwined as if they were embracing one another when they died, gave birth to the myth of the Lovers of Sumpa. Adding to the mystery, the lovers were both young, the man only about 25 and the woman 20. There is a story just waiting to be told.

The burial site has been dated to one of the oldest cultures found on the coast of Ecuador, the Vegas, and the remains could originate from 9000 BC.

The museum also holds a collection of ancient artifacts from more recent cultures, like the Valdivia and the Manteña. The current staff does not allow for photos of any of the ancient remains or artifacts. However, the tour will also include a visit to a home typical of the coastal region. Here you will see the blending of two cultures – the indigenous coastal people and the Spanish conquistadors.

A coastal kitchen of old, Museo Amantes de Sumpa, Santa Elena, Ecuador
Tools from colonial times, Museo Amantes de Sumpa, Santa Elena, Ecuador
Ocean-going Canoe, Museo Amantes de Sumpa, Santa Elena, Ecuador
Locally Grown Cotton; Museo Amantes de Sumpa, Santa Elena, Ecuador

Information For Your Trip

The Museo de Los Amantes de Sumpa is a very short distance off the main road in Santa Elena on Avenida Rafael Balseca y Universo. You need no more than an hour to make a visit. It is easiest to see this museum while staying in nearby Salinas.

Opening hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10am – 3pm, Holidays 11am – 3pm, closed Mondays.

To arrange for a reservation and/or an English speaking guide, please call ahead 088984073 or 042941020.

  • Direction by Car, use WAZE and look for Museo Amantes de Sumpa, Santa Elena, Ecuador.
  • Direction by Public Transportation The main bus terminal in Salinas is at Fidón Tomala y Av 10. Salinas. There should be several buses daily going between Santa Elena and Salinas. The museum is only a block off the main road.

Museo de los Amantes de Sumpa