The Green Province, as it is called, is located on the countrys
northwestern coast. Here, the temperature ranges from 21 to 25 degrees
Celcius. Its main attraction are the beaches in the southern part
of the province as well as the Cayapas-Mataje Ecological Reserve
to the north. The city of Esmeraldas, the provinces capital, is
one of Ecuadors main ports and terminal for the nation's petroleum
pipeline. The city is also equipped with a domestic airport, with
connecting flights available to Cali, Colombia.
Cuisine, and Entertainment
Esmeraldas beaches are undoubtedly one of its main attractions.
Atacames, an all-year-round tourist resort, is just 30 km from the
city Esmeraldas. Atacames well-developed tourist infrastructure
and plethora of seaside restaurants, bars make it a great beach
destination for relaxing. Its markets selling locally made
handicrafts, jewelry, and coral products make Atacames a great place
for an affordable shopping spree, as well.
Five km further south is the quiet fishing village of Súa,
which is also a great destination with comfortable hotels and delicious
Forty eight km to the south lies the island of Muisne, known for
its unspoiled beaches and tranquil waters.
Continuing southeast for another 11km, we arrive in Same, nestled
among palm trees and set along a strip of coast known for its crystal-clear
Other popular beaches include Playa Ancha and Tonsupa, located 20
km from the city of Esmeraldas. There are more beaches to the north,
towards the Colombian border, namely Camarones, Colope, and Río
Verde, all of which are small fishing villages.
- Musical Folklore
Marimba is the typical music of the province of Esmeraldas. Marimba
groups perform local dances and play instruments like bombos,
conunos, and guasá, not to mention
the marimba itself - the genres principle instrument, which
is usually played by two or three people at a time. Marimba groups
perform in various places, such as hotels and restaurants, and are
warmly received wherever the jam. The band members wear hats and
wave handkerchiefs as they dance and sing folk songs.
Lorenzo - Life Among the Mangroves
This settlement is popular amongst adventure-seeking tourists. Travelers
typically reach San Lorenzo by taking a train, known as an autoferro,
from the highlands city of Ibarra, although road travel is also
San Lorenzo is a timber-exporting port that lies 18 km to the south
of the Colombian border. From here, there is easy access to virgin
beaches such as El Chaucal and San Pedro as well as to tropical
forests such as La Chiquita where you can discover unique species
of flora and fauna thriving along hiking trails.
Island - Treasure Just Lying Around
This is an archaeologically interesting area where one of Ecuadors
oldest Pre-Colombian cultures existed. It is believed that the indigenous
population here worked with platinum centuries before it was used
in Europe. The site includes a museum run by locals and it isnt
hard to find archaeological remnants lying around outside. To reach
the island, take a motorized boat from San Lorenzo. The lovely crossing
over the turquoise water beneath a scorching sun provides a great
opportunity to admire the backdrop of mangroves and the seabirds
flying overhead. For more information on La Tolita, please read
our special report, "Time Has Stopped
in a Place Called Tolita."
Ecological Reserve - The World's Tallest Mangrove
This ecological reserve, located in the northern Esmeraldas, is
extensive and exuberant. The main feature of Cayapas-Mataje is El
Majagual Forest, where the worlds tallest mangroves grow.
It is impressive to see their huge roots intertwined in marshland
and creeks. Very close to here lies the small town of San Lorenzo.
This reserve can be reached from the cities of Esmeraldas, Atacames,
Muisne, or Pedernales (in Manabí). It has several attractions
including: tropical rainforests, waterfalls, and various swimming
holes. The total surface area of the Reserve is 70,000 hectares
and it is home to the Cachis ethnic group.
- The delights of Creole Cuisine
Encococado de pescado (fish cooked with coconut) is very
popular both with locals and travelers, alike. Other popular local
dishes include: tapao (a fish- and plantain-based dish);
fried plantains, empanadas, and bolas or bolones
de verde (also made from plantains). Rice with beans, served
with fried or grilled fish is also a staple of the Green Provinces
Map of Esmeraldas, Ecuador
| Esmeraldas Introduction
| Esmeraldas Beaches | Marimba
| San Lorenzo | La
Tolita | Cayapas-Mataje Ecological Reserve
| Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve | Cuisine
| Map of Esmeraldas, Ecuador |