Local endogenous developments have sprouted worldwide under the economy-environment reconciliation premise in response to the sustainable development discourse. Debates on how sustainable development protects the environment tend to idealize and romanticize locals’ interaction with nature in rural areas. However, few discussions focus on how the developmental discourse pervades the local imaginary of progress while preferring ecosystems’ economic and recreational value over their ecological significance. In Ecuador, a Latin American country on the Pacific coast, rural seaside communities navigate between their economic survival and the transformation of pristine beaches into beautified sandy beaches, usually protected by seawalls. Indeed, villagers on the coast of Ecuador promoted the construction of seawalls because they would also afford protection to their tourism-dependent economy.