Encircled by verdant jungle, at the edge of a dank, still river, San Lorenzo is a decrepit and dangerous hodgepodge of blaring heat, tropical beats and crumbling storefronts. Hollow marimba notes and salsa is what flavors this mostly Afro-Ecuadorian town. It has a few good music festivals, plus it’s also a great base for visiting the nearby Reserva Ecológica de Manglares Cayapas Mataje.
With road access only completed in the mid-1990s, the area still has the air of a forgotten outpost. It is extremely poor, tourism is barely developed and getting around isn’t easy. But if you like the vibe of old port cities, you might enjoy the atmosphere here.