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COAST:
FROM PARTY TOWNS TO DESERTED BEACHES

Some paragraphs extracted from the Traveler's Ecuador Companion The Globe Pequot Press. Reproduced with permission. Photos by Dominic Hamilton.

Though better known for its Andean Mountains, Amazonian rainforest and the unique Galápagos Islands, Ecuador has a long, varied and fascinating coastline that until recently was underrated.

Stretching some 1,500 km (937 miles) from the border with Colombia to Peru in the south, the Pacific coast embraces long expanses of deserted beaches, with warm swimming waters, busying fishing villages, luxury vacation resorts, ecolodges, mangrove swamps, and steamy ports, surfing beaches, wildlife sanctuaries and environmentally damaging shrimp farms.

The road building projects along the coast were only recently completed, having been severely delayed by the impact of El Niño in 1997-8. The roads have opened up much of the coast, making it far more accessible. A coastal road to the northern border is now finished, bringing increasing numbers of Colombian tourists.

In one sense, now is the time to visit the unspoiled Ecuadorian coastline, while it is still relatively undeveloped. On the other hand, development is bringing with it badly needed infrastructure, accessibility and tourist facilities.

Sunset at Alandaluz... aah, beautiful isn't it? Well yes and no. You see, in order to take this photo with a tripod and long exposure, I annoyed the girl you seeing attempting to imprint this unforgetable holiday moment on her memory. And there I was. Clicking and zinging and cursing at my tripod legs which always get full of sand and grit. I ruined the moment for her, And for what?  Just so you could enjoy the moment that I denied her? Just so you can 'wish you were there'? But you wouldn't want to be there. 'Cos you'd standing next to me going zip, click, whir. Anyway, being the gallant Englishman that I am, I bought the girl a beer, and apologised for pissing her off.  As your mother always told you: it'll end in beers...

 

 

The coast along Machalilla National Park.. ah beautiful isn't it? Well yes and no. You see I took this photo after narrowly avoiding death-by-metal box in my car. After the damage wrought by El Nino, the road along this coast hasn't been repaired much. Huge chunks of it just fall away. And that was when I happened to be lighting a cigarette and humming along to my favourite tunes. After coming very close to an early grave, I parked up with a pounding heart, and finished my cigarette. And took the photo.  Like it says on the packet: Smoking Kills...Though it has no precise inland demarcation, Ecuador's coastal region generates the major part of the country's industrial and agricultural wealth, and is home to roughly half its population. Coastal farmers, called Montuvios, are usually mixed-race black and Indian, or negros de monte, "blacks of the mountain." But no love is lost between the coast and the sierra. Coastal people call those from the sierra burros (donkeys), while serranos say people from the costa are monos (monkeys).

 

Whatever these differences, many agree that La Costa is a state of being, a state of mind and a place where people like to party and stay out late. Certainly it is where Ecuadorian vacationers go to relax and have fun.

Top places:
Atacames for a blow out party weekend
Montañita for a chilled-out surfer weekend
Playa Escondida or Mompiche or Coco Solo for a secluded weekend
Canoa and Alandaluz for somewhere in between...

 

 
To celebrate the deal, Guide2Galapagos is offering Ecuadorial visitors an exclusive offer: Book a Luxury class yacht with them, and they'll give you THREE AIRPORT TRANSFERS FOR FREE; two for first class and one for tourist-superior. So, what are you waiting for? Check out their highly-informative site. Blue boobies, giant tortoises, sealions and marine iguanas are only a click or two away!

SMALL PRINT: On the request page, you must state you came from Ecuadorial to benefit from the airport transfer offer.
>> Ecuadorial Galapagos Pages  >>
 

 

 

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