Here is some photos from El Empalme (The Crossroads) in Guayas Province, Ecuador. I have placed these in a gallery format for easier viewing (and loading) and not over burden the blog with full sized images.
A little about El Emplame
Located about 2-3 hours drive (@167kms) from Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, El Empalme sits at the northern most point of Guayas province. Population statistics in 2001 show a population just over 69,000 with estimates today reaching the 130,000 mark. The area was founded primarily on the balsa and rubber industry stretching as far back as 1925 and reaching its peak in the war years of 1942-1945 when the US war industry was consuming vast quantities of these materials for the European and Pacific war efforts.
This boom in industrial agricultural growth also meant an increase in population and drew the attention of successive national governments which began building infrastructure in the area and in specific two major road works – one going north south (to the port of Guayaquil) and the other stretching east/west. The resulting infrastructure projects, coupled with the agricultural boom drew a large amount of migration from Loja (southern highlands) and Manabi (neighboring province) and by 1960 the population had exploded to about 7000 inhabitants.
The completion of the north/south and east/west routes resulted in further development of the area as logging companies began to move in and begin operations. The resulting completion also led to the name of the area being recognized as “The Junction” or “The Crossroads”.
In my opinion, and this is only my opinion, this area is a tourist gold mine that is yet untapped. There are 5 freshwater beaches: the Congo, El Limon, Macul, Stain Mate, and a natural spa area. Undoubtedly the main tourist attraction is the Daule-Peripa Dam. this dam has created a large artificial lake from the merging of the Daule and Peripa rivers. The lake, with a depth of 200 meters, is dotted with various islands that are rich in coastal tropic flora and fauna including crocodiles, turtles, wild cats, snakes, otters and a variety of birds.
Although off the beaten path, El Empalme is certainly deserving of a tourism stop if you are adventurous enough to try some unspoiled (i.e. not over developed) adventure.
Hope you enjoy the photos!