My-Quito.com : coastal regions
- The Coast: Guayas, Manabi,
Esmeraldas and El Oro
is an intense rivalry between the people of the high Andes and
those that live on the coastal lowlands. While Quito is the capital
of Ecuador, Guayaquil is the largest city. Quito is the administrative
capital and Guayaquil the commercial centre. The character of
the regions is very different too. The Sierra is mountainous,
with a moderate climate, whereas the coastal lowlands range from
dry to humid subtropical, with an average temperature of 25°C.
- And while Quiteños may
espress their disdain for the Costeños in abusive chants
at football matches, this is where many Quiteños choose
to take their holidays, and with good reason.
- For 2000 km the coast is made
up of beautiful sand covered beaches, mangrove swamps and fishing
- The Pacific coast is made up
of four provinces -Esmeraldas, Manabí, Guayas, and El
Oro and the inland province of Los Rìos.
known as the "Green Province", the Esmeraldas occupy
the North West corner of the country. It is a region of lush
flooded forest and mangrove swamp that form an ideal setting
for river tours. However it is best known for the stunning pacific
beaches, with Atacames being the leading resort, but you will
probably want to move on to the less populated beaches at Sua
and Same. In the north, the Cayapas-Mataje Ecological Reserve
contains the world's tallest mangroves in El Majagual forest.
Wherever you go you are likely to come across Marimba groups
performing local dances and folk songs.
- Probably the best know hotel
in the region is the exclusive Club
Casablanca in Same -a bit too expensive for us, but last
time we were there we had an excellent time just down the beach
at El Acantilado, where we stayed in one of the thatched cabins
overlooking the Pacific. Having arrived at night from Quito,
the morning sunrise over the ocean was both unexpected and spectacular.
- The city of Esmeraldas, with
120,000 occupants, acts as the centre of the region's lumber
trade and is the terminus of the trans Ecuadorean oil pipeline.
- Naturally with the coastal situation,
the sea food is excellent, and the Creole cuisine includes fish
cooked with coconut (Encococado de pescado), with plantain (tapao)
or simply grilled, as well as ceviches and empanadas.
- Precautions against malaria
are necessary in this and other coastal regions.
- Further information:
- Esmeraldas -more information from the ministry
of Esmeraldas, lies the province of Manabí. On the coast
here are the beach towns of Puerto López, Montañita,
and Bahía de Caráquez, and the city of Manta, Ecuador's
second largest port.
- The region also boasts Machalilla
National Park, famous for its perfect beach at Los Frailes and.
Machalilla, with some 130,000 acres, is the only coastal national
park in Ecuador and also encompasses Isla de la Plata, a small
island with inhabited by many of the animals found on the Galapagos,
including Blue Footed Boobies, and pelicans. It is also a great
place to go snorkelling and to watch hump back whales and dolphins.
You could even stumble upon Drake's treasure- the island is said
to have been one of the places where Drake stashed his loot...
- Elsewhere, the town of Montecristi
is the original place of manufacture of the famous Panama Hats,
and is a great place to buy all kinds of straw ware.
- Manta, the country's second
largest port, is a major holiday resort centre. With its lively
atmosphere, it is a popular destination for partygoers as well
as visiting cruise liners from the Caribbean and other ships
(it is also a US military base). At the main beach of Murciélago,
you will find a good choice of restaurants and bars serving excellent
seafood and local drinks. In particular you should try the seafood
- Further information:
- Manabi -information from the ministry of tourism.
- Ruta del Sol -tourist site with information on the coastal
peninsula of Santa Elena from Salinas to Puerto Cayo in Manabí.
and the Ruta del Sol
-more about the area from our 2007 trip to Machalilla and Hosteria
- Guayaquil and Southern
- This is the heart of Ecuador's
commerce with the huge port of Guayaquil at its centre. Guayaquil
is Ecuador's largest city and handles over half of the country's
exports. The bustling city is often avoided by tourists, although
it has undergone substantial improvements in the last few years.
Like Quito, it is possible to stay in world class hotels, and
shop for the latest fashions in modern indoor shopping centres.
Malecón Avenue on the riverside is worth a visit with
its parks, restaurants, museums and theatre. Las Peñas
is a beautiful colonial area, also worth seeing.
- Elsewhere in the province there
are many beaches, interspersed with shrimp farms. Needless to
say the seafood is very good.
- Some 150km north of Guayaquil
is Salinas, a modern beachfront city that is a great place for
watersports -fishing, wind surfing, jet skiing, or snorkeling
are all popular.
of Guayaquil -official
website for the City government.
- Guayas -more information from the ministry
- InGuayaquil -comprehensive guide to Ecuador's largest
- Portal Web Cámara de Turismo del
Guayas -official tourism
portal of Guayas region.
- Hostels -budget accommodation Guayaquil.
- El Oro
from Guayaquil to the border with Peru, the southernmost province
of El Oro is the banana capital of Ecuador. It is also a major
producer of shrimp from the mangrove backed beaches. The climate
is humid and hot. The region's capital is Machala, a lively town
offering good accomodation and restaurants. Every September 24th
the town celebrates the world banana fair.
- The port of Puerto Bolívar
is set in the midst of mangrove swamps and is known for its seafood,
including lobster, shellfish, squid, and mussels.
- Other places to visit include
the colonial village of Zaruma, the gold mines of Portobelo,
the petrified forest at Puyango, the spa at La Cocha, and the
islands of Jambelí and Santa Clara (accessed by motor
boat from Puerto Bolívar).
- If you are travelling overland
to Peru via Huaquillas, it is a good idea to check out the situation
before leaving Quito or Guayaquil, as the situation can sometimes
be tense because of a long running border dispute.
- El Oro - information from the ministry of tourism.
-budget accommodation on the Ruta del Sol.
- Hotels -hotels on the pacific Coast of Ecuador.
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