Esmeraldas is the capital of the eponymous province in the north of Ecuador with a population of about 120,000. It lies on the river Río Esmeraldas , where in the Pacific ends.The hot climate, the high proportion of Afro-Ecuadorian population and lush vegetation give the city a Caribbean flair, even if urban development is not particularly attractive. Today there are only a few of the traditional wooden houses. At the town beach “Las Palmas”, there are numerous restaurants and bars, so at night and especially weekends, pulsating nightlife. For swimming, the beach is recommended, however, only partly because of the closeness of the offshore oil facility is often washed ashore. Esmeraldas is considered by many as one of the most dangerous and dirtiest cities in Ecuador, but this is only partly verifiable through official statistics. The waste problem has been resolved and yesteryear will soon be among the few cities of Esmeraldas, Ecuador, which have a waste segregation system.
On 26 Esmeraldas February 1998 was the scene of an environmental disaster, when crude oil spilled into the Río Esmeraldas and caught fire after an oil pipeline was broken. According to official figures were twelve people were killed and hundreds were injured.
Mayor of the city since 2000 Ernesto Estupiñan of the leftist party Movimiento Popular Democratico (MPD). At the last local elections in October 2004 he was re-elected.