Limones, a town of some 8,000 people, has seen better days. At one time it was an important port for timber trade, where logs floated upriver from the forests were cut and loaded onto freighters. Now most of this is handled in Borbon
, on the mainland. Although we saw mountains of shrimp by the waterfront, people say fishing isnít as good as it used to be. Without jobs, young people drift off to bigger cities like Esmeraldas
down the coast.
. In an effort to address some of the social and economic problems of this poor community, the privately-funded Fundacion CIDESA
[02 - 226303 or 527119
], locally [06 - 789143
], has set up a project in Limones working with local groups.
Places to visit
The foundation can arrange visits to mangrove forests of the Reserva Ecologica Manglares Cayapas-Mataje
, beaches and other places of interest in the vicinity. Limones offers a fascinating glimpse of life the Pacific coast of Ecuador.
Places to sleep
The hotel scene isnít one of the townís great assets. Aside from a bed at US$5 per night has nothing to commend it, not even running water.
. Most boats
heading to La Tola
go by way of the small island town of Limones, the next port down the coast from San Lorenzo
. Arriving by motorized dugout, with mango forests on either side of the wide delta, your first glimpse of the town is a row of gray, sun-bleached shacks standing on stilts over the water. After disembarking at the wooden jetty, you pick your way though unpaved back streets with duckboards over stagnant, mosquito-breeding pools of water. Outside almost every meager house lies a dugout canoe, equivalent to a car in roadless Limones. Few gringos visit this dreamy town that looks like a location in a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Dark-skinned kids follow you, laughing and pointing, delighted by the arrival of strangers.
||Article contributed by Dominic Hamilton|||