Pedernales, Ecuador - Polarsteps
Pedernales, Ecuador, is a beach town with a population of around 22,000. Back in April 2016 much of the town was leveled by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Most of the town has been rebuilt. Though there was the sidewalk I walked on, alongside the old cemetery, that appeared to be still in its earthquake condition, as did the cemetery itself. That earthquake killed at least 233 people and injured another 580. There were more than 135 aftershocks, some of which registered as high as 5.6. There were reports of it being felt all the way into Colombia.
The climate is very pleasant with an average monthly daytime high of 80°F (26°C) and an average nightly low of 73°F (23°C). Humidity hangs around 83% all year round. The city has a new malecon (boardwalk) along the beach and a number of high-priced hotels also line the beaches. There are mangroves and other natural areas around the city as well.
First thing I noticed when I walked from the bus terminal across town to my hostel: the streets are clean. Unlike El Carmen where the streets are filthy. Like many beach towns even in North America, there are many unpaved roads but they are in the residential areas. The town has a central plaza/park with the central business district all around it and a church on one side. The beaches are a few more blocks away.
The hostel I'm staying in, Hostal Miramar, is located a few blocks outside of the center of town on a dead-end dirt road, which means it's quiet here. The hostel has a pool and a shared kitchen, but no laundry room so I took my laundry into town. The woman who owns this place told me that it was destroyed during the earthquake of '16. When they rebuilt, they build only two stories, rather than three as had been pre-earthquake. She said this was common for many buildings in Pedernales - previously 5-story, 4-story, and 3-story buildings were rebuilt with one or even two floors less than before the quake.
Yesterday, I walked the beach south a couple of miles to a fishing village called La Chorrera. There are many restaurants that, of course, specialize in seafood, and I stopped at one called La Serenita. The people there are very friendly, and even showed me the fresh-caught fish in their freezers. Two of the men at the restaurant had just gotten back that morning from 3 days at sea. I had a fillet of Dorado, and it was delicious! Highly recommended. Then in the evening, I wanted pizza. It's been a long time since I last had pizza. I found an Italian restaurant and asked about pizza and the guy told me they only heated up frozen pizzas, their specialty is in Italian pasta dishes. The guy could speak very good English and had lived in New York for 5 years, he has two brothers, one now in NY and the other here, and learning English so he can go to a university in New York. Anyway, he told me about a pizza place a couple of blocks away, one I hadn't seen, yet. I went there and the pizza is very good, it's called Pizzeria Italiana Open World. I highly recommend it if you visit Pedernales.
So, my impressions: I like this little beach town. It's easy to walk the entire town to do your shopping, the beaches are clean and extensive, here in Pedernales the beach is almost 5 miles long.
My South America Journey