The present research is a first attempt to study the hyperbenthic fauna of the surf zone of Valdivia Bay (South East Pacific - Ecuador), an exposed low tide terrace - rip beach. The aims of the study were to contribute to the inventory of the surf zone fauna of the tropical southeast Pacific coast, to investigate spatial distribution patterns along the bay and to search for possible tidal effects on the hyperbenthic composition. Samples were taken during daylight with a hyperbenthic sledge on 6 consecutive days in August 1999 at high tide, low tide and mid tide. The hyperbenthic community was characterized by quantifying the higher taxa, their density and the relative composition of the dominant groups. No tidal effect could be observed, but two main geographically distinct hyperbenthic assemblages were distinguished along the bay, related to hydrodynamic factors (local current velocity, intertidal beach slope and suspended particulate matter). In the turbulent northern part of the bay the highest densities were encountered and hyperbenthos was, next to the dominant mysid Metamysidopsis sp., mainly composed of planktonic organisms (calanoid copepods, chaetognaths and fish eggs). In the calmer southern part of the bay Metamysidopsis sp. dominated as well, but the community was completed with other mysid species, and early life stages of Brachyura and fish. Most striking was the general dominance of the mysid Metamysidopsis sp. in all the samples (97%, max. density of 62000 ind. 100 m-2) and the high amount of unknown species. Penaeid shrimp larvae, important for the local shrimp industry, were only found in very low densities during the sampling period (˜1%). Compared to other studies on the whole surf zone hyperbenthic community of sandy beaches, the average densities encountered in Valdivia Bay can be considered to be relatively high (2500-6000 ind. 100 m-2). Although limited in time and performed with a limited taxonomic resolution, the results indicate a high contribution of early life stages of invertebrate and fish species to the biodiversity of the intertidal hyperbenthic community in comparison with temperate regions.