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Esmeraldas is a major port city in northern Ecuador. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, this is where they first landed. According to legend, they found native people worshiping a large emerald – hence the city’s name. In the past century Esmeraldas’ port has attracted gritty, industrial infrastructure, and there isn’t much that tourists need to see. But while you’re here, take time to appreciate the beaches, and the musical and artistic heritage of the Afro-Ecuadorian population.