The Bahía culture was named by the Ecuadorian archaeologist Francisco Huerta Rendón. It was located in the province of Manabí, extending from Bahía de Caráquez to Isla de Plata, where it occupied areas that were suited to agriculture due to the influence of the Humboldt Current. This sea current defined a climate and geographical boundary that also marked its border with the Jama Coaque culture.
Its pottery was very strongly influenced by the Chorrera culture. The Bahía culture made use of stone, bone, metal and clay for the production of artistic, ritual and functional objects. In the case of ceramic artefacts, painting after firing and embroidered clay were common techniques used in the creation of pieces.
Its social organization is thought to have been based on an elite dominated by shamans and prominent traders. The remains and vestiges found on the Isla de la Plata suggest that the island was a center of worship and pilgrimage. Its objects focus on a predominant worship of water, with representations of fish, molluscs, amphibious reptiles and, to a lesser extent, birds and mammals.