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Northern Coast: Esmeraldas & Manabi
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Ecuador's coastline can be divided into two regions -- northern and southern. The northern coast is made up of the provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabí, and extends from San Lorenzo -- on the border with Colombia -- to Ayampe which is just south of Puerto Lopez. The south coast comprises the province of Guayas, Punta Santa Elena and the "Route of the Sun" south of Ayampe.

The province of Esmeraldas is a lush tropical region famous for its friendly and lively Afro-American community. Culturally, Esmeraldas is awash in danceable rhythms which are banged out on marimbas and drums. The costeña cuisine is exquisite and includes such dishes as encocado de pescado (fresh fish served with coconut) and delicious fresh crab.

Esmeraldas is also known for its beach resorts and towns which are popular vacation getaways for the people of Ecuador's Sierra. A recently inaugurated highway connects the Sierra to the coast just north of Ibarra. From Quito, Esmeraldas' beaches are a four hour drive away.

Esmeraldas is also known for its extensive network of mangrove forests which are unfortunately, threatened due to human activity.

Driving south from Esmeraldas is the drier but still tropical province of Manabi. Manabi also contains wide, spectacular beaches. This region, however, is also known for its dry tropical forests (unique in the world), national parks and important thousands of years old archeological sites. The most important national park is Machalilla which is characterized by undisturbed white sand beaches and rocky outcroppings. Isla de la Plata, otherwise known as the "Poor man's Galapagos" for the animal species present on the island, is located within Machalilla. In the summer months, the towns along the coastline become takeoff points for whale-watching.


Esmeraldas Beach
Where to Stay in Esmeraldas & Manabi
We recommend you to visit these informative links:
Esmeraldas Beach Hotels
Manabi Beach Resorts
Manta Hotels, Hostels, Bed & Breakfast


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