Olmedo seems to be a long way from the normal tourist route in Ecuador but is a very accessible and welcoming village of sandy streets, raised planked wonky walkways and stilted wooden huts. It also is a perfect place to visit the local mangroves which, like so many areas of natural beauty and importance, are being sacrificed for large scale industry, in this case shrimp farms. By visiting this area you can become part of the solution.

Visiting Olmedo is a chance to see a very different slice of Ecuadorian life. With a strong African/Ecuadorian mix here it feels as if you could be in a different country and even more so the more of this area you explore. Olmedo is a perfect stop before exploring further up the Cayapas/Santiago Rivers.

As in Estero de Platano, join local families in digging in the soft sand for shell fish amongst the roots of the mangroves. At low tide youcan explore the vast stretch of beach for hours. Walking to the southwest you will find what can only be described as a mangrove graveyard where trees and their exposed roots, have slowly collapsed and decay on meeting the sea water.

For $5 (2/3 hours) it is well worth taking a local guide to visit the mangroves and learn about this extraordinary ecosystem which supports 6different types of brightly coloured crab and numerous types of orchids. Ask Seveida Valencia, your host at the hostel, for Armando Quinonez, a local guide whose passion for conservation is contagious.If going on a tour, cover up and dose yourself in bug spray to ensureyou make it through the whole tour without being driven mad. Only Spanish is spoken.

Places to stay in Olmedo +
Practical information about Olmedo +
Getting to and around in Olmedo +

Map of Olmedo

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Events in Esmeraldas

Facts and figures Esmeraldas


North to Columbia, south to Manabi and Pichincha, east to Carchi, Imbabura and Pichincha, west to Pacific Ocean.




From the Pacific ocean to the highest peak near San Lorenzo



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