The different cultures of Esmeraldas

1024 576 Pedro Colmenárez

A melting pot of cultural diversity

Esmeraldas is made up of several native groups that are considered ethnically different from each other, some of which even foster their own languages and live in remote places. You can visit them and get to know their fabulous history and culture on the banks of the Chumundé, Bogotá, Cayapas and Santiago rivers.

The Awá

A culture settled in the northernmost region of the country (its population in neighboring Colombia is larger) with rudimentary community tourism programs along the Bogotá River, in the Awá Bioanthropological Reserve.

The Éperas

Mostly from neighboring Colombia: one of the only places in Ecuador to meet this native ethnic group is the small river town of Santa Rosa, on the Cayapas River, where they have a community school that teaches the local Épera language to their children, and where the local families sell their handicrafts.

The Chachis

The most present native ethnic group in the province, formerly known as “Cayapas”, are the Chachis. They are known for their handicraft production (they actually make over 200 items with native reeds and plants, and can be visited in several different communities along different rivers, offering cross-cultural tourism in places like Pichiyacu Grande, Canandé or Medianía. Most of these visits are found about 3-4 hours from Green 9.

Afro-Ecuadorian community

The importance of the Afro-Ecuadorian community in Esmeraldas is profound. Its presence, historically and culturally, has transformed the essence of the province, through a unique cuisine, a very representative literature, and the fabulous music and dance of the marimba, among several other cultural manifestations that fill with fascination and reverie those who venture to discover their legacy. You can visit places like Borbón, where the renowned marimba-musician Papá Roncón lives, and even go inland to Playa de Oro or San Miguel, where marimba ensembles liven up the evenings with their talent.

Leave a Reply