El Carmen, Ecuador - Polarsteps
El Carmen, Ecuador has a population of around 46,000 and is located between Quito and the Pacific coast. The town sits at an elevation of around 240 meters. Because it's only about 35 kilometers from Santo Domingo it is considered a bedroom town of SD. It's a relatively new town, founded at the beginning of the 20th century, so there's nothing particularly historical here. In fact, there's nothing particularly picturesque here.
This part of the country is mostly used for agriculture, particularly bananas. Apparently, there are a few places to see but they are outside of town and would require a car, taxi, or possibly a bus to get to them.
When I arrived, I walked around town and asked for info at a few hotels, and finally settled on Hotel Andrade. It's a decent hotel, reasonably modern, has good hot water, and comfy beds, but is located on a street full of motorcycle and car repair shops and hardware stores. The main downtown area is 2 blocks away. My room was at the back so I didn't have to listen to the street noise at full volume. My only complaint is related to the air conditioner unit in the room next to mine—it vibrated so bad that just about everyone on this floor as well as the floors above and below could hear it. And, nobody was in the room. Finally, in the afternoon one of the workers turned it off, but at 4 am when it came on again there wasn't much I could do about it. I'm not sure if it was the same A/C unit, it could have been a different one.
The city of El Carmen is a dirty city. Of all the many towns and cities I have visited or lived in, in both Colombia and Ecuador, this town is by far the dirtiest. If you come to Ecuador this is a town you can simply pass by and you won't miss anything.
So, my impressions: Other than the good climate, I don't like El Carmen. Absolutely nothing for people to do here, dirty streets, nothing at all that says "look here" or "look at me".
My South America Journey