This message continues our series of opposing views.

by | Dec 30, 2007 | Archives

A reader and good friend sent me this note in response to our Ecuador Coastal tour article at

“Hi Gary , This is a note of critical response to today’s article.  I was extremely disappointed at how you “blew off” Esmeraldas.  Some of our best new friends in Tonsupa, 25 klicks south of Esmeraldas, are missionaries.  We just spent two months in our new penthouse in Tonsupa talking with both ex-pats and native Ecuadorians.  Not once did anyone mention any problems with Columbian guerillas.

“The Tonsupa/Atacames real estate market is booming.  There are more than a dozen new condo towers rising among the 50 plus 8 to 12 story towers that already exist among some fine old and new individual homes.  Condos are available from the low $40s to the $190s depending on the size and floor level.  This is the closest coast to Quito where the vast majority of visitors arrive in Ecuador .  There are daily flights from Quito that take 30 minutes followed by a short cab ride to the beach.

“Wireless high speed Internet is easily available through the Alegro cell phone company.  Direct TV took two days to be installed after we placed our order.  VOIP is also available.  Excellent housekeeping services exist at very reasonable rates.

“The people are friendly and made every effort to make two “gringos” who speak un poco Spanish feel comfortable in their new get away.  This getaway is a 2250 sq foot 8th floor penthouse on the beach that cost $140,000, with $40,000 down and two years at 10% to pay off the balance.  I priced a similar apartment on the California coast north of Los Angeles at between $2 million and $4 million.  We’ll take Tonsupa any and every day.

“The weather is fabulous.  It is mild and ranges from the the high 60s at night to the mid to high 80s during the day.  During October and November, the two months we just spent there the sky ranged from cloudy to sunny with no rain.  The beach is long empty stretches of sand most of the time except during holiday and festival periods, a total of 4 months a year, when the place jumps with folks from the mountains who own most of the condos along with some progressive Americans, Canadians, and other ex-pats from around the world.

“As you know, my significant other is a coastal geologist.  Her analysis indicates that the beaches in this area are among the safest she has seen in our travels from north of Esmeraldas to Salinas .  She also notes that the beach is an uplift beach, i.e., the area is gaining more beach each year as an offset to the impact of global warming.  In addition, the water is tranquil and warm because of the influence of the Panama current which dominates Ecuador ‘s northern coast.  This warm current plays in opposition to the cold water influence from Antarctica that dominates the rest of the country’s beaches.

“Several others spent several days with us and can state their own impressions.  But to dismiss the entire province’s coastline for a few problems that might exist north of Esmeraldas is unfair and based on a less than specific and, I would venture, poorly researched newspaper article.”


Here is my reply


“I hope you are correct. Sorry, but I wrote this based on my own experience of several years ago and realize it is always hard to pinpoint good spots from bad.  I know that some people like Esmeraldas but we have had nothing but trouble there and as much as I hope people come to the beach on our tours I had to call it as I see it.  I, will however publish your view so readers can see every side of the picture.  Plus I’ll get up there as soon as I can to see the progress and hopefully be able to report this good news.  Gary ”


Here is our friends reply: 


“You are right, we do agree on a great many things.

“A few additional thoughts regarding the Atacames/Tonsupa area I left out of my original response:

“1.  Immediately next door to our condo tower the Sheraton Hotels of Ecuador are leading 4 other major hotels in building a large 4 story series of time shares AND an upscale 16 story hotel.

2. You are right about Esmeraldas itself.  It is not a pretty place although we do walk around the downtown commercial sector feeling about as safe as we do in Gringoland in Quito . :)

3. We walk around the 53 hectare development of Puerto Gaviota on the edge of Tonsupa after dark without fear.
Anyway, as you can tell, I am a fan of the north coast.


So here is my reply to this friend.


Rule #7 is Listen to those who disagree with us…this expands our horizons. I hope you are right. This improvement will do nothing but good for our readers, you, me and the wonderful people of Ecuador .  I’ll be up to see for myself as soon as I can.”


Until next message may all your views be good.




Join Merri, me and other like minded souls this winter in Ecuador .  Enjoy glorious views.


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Enjoy the views….Lakes.


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