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|Palmar is medium sized fishing town set back about 3 miles west of the Ruta del Spondylus.
Fishing is big business here, and Palmar has a number of mid-sized commercial trawlers moored a few hundred meters from the beach, as well as the traditional small fishing boats, which are typically operated by a family.
A neglected Malecón runs along the full length of Palmar beach. The beach itself is broad with much of it stretching up to 50 meters from the Malecón to the waters edge, and it has shallow incline to the water, which makes it relatively calm and child friendly.
Unfortunately however, it is far from the cleanest beach in the Santa Elena province, in fact it ranks as one of the least well kept. For almost the entire stretch of beach, everywhere from the Malecón to the high tide mark is littered with garbage from plastic bottles to fishing-related debris.
Atop the hill María Guare to the south east of the town is an iconic shrine dedicated to Our Lady Fatima. It is a place of pilgrimage for both domestic and foreign devotees. You can either drive up to it, or hike there. From the hill top, you get a panoramic view of the town, the mangrove forest and the large array of shrimp ponds.
In the town is a massive new christian church (erected in 2011) called Iglesia Mar de Galilea, which was engineered for excellent acoustics, and doubles as a concert and festival hall.
At the north end of the town, at the base of the hill (Cerro de Angahuel), is one of the few remaining mangrove forests in Santa Elena province. Mangroves are an important component in the reproductive cycle of many fish, shrimp and other crustaceans, which the main source of food and economic welfare in the region. But unfortunately much of the forest was cut down in the 90s to create ponds for shrimp farming. The forest has been reduced to only 36 hectares from a peak of 230 hectares in the 70s.
You can paddle through the mangrove forest in a kayak either alone or with a guide, and see lots of birds and some reptlies. You can also hike around the edge of the mangroves to the top of Cerro de Angahuel to enjoy fabulous views of the ocean and Palmar beach all the way to Monteverde.
Beach activities include:
|Type of beach||Golden sand|
|Length of beach||1.2 mi / 2 km|
|Wind Direction||Cross-shore / On-shore|
|Restaurants and Cafes||A few along Malecón|
|Distance to Salinas||27 mi / 44 km|
|Distance to Guayaquil||91 mi / 147 km|
|Distance to Manta||97 mi / 156 km|
|Distance to Quito||337 mi / 543 km|
Hiking: You can hike up to two different hills. To the south there is an impressive sanctuary of the Virgin Fatima, and even more impressive views of the mangroves and array of shrimp ponds on both sides of the Ruta Del Spondylus, in the area known as Perro Negro. To the north, you can hike to the top of Angahuel hill, and get marvelous ocean views, and look down to the mangroves.