Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean

Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Ecuador - San Martin procession

The San Martin celebration has been taking place since 1967, when one of the devotees survived from drowning when the canoe in which she was travelling capsized, just off the cove of Limones, in front of Canchimalero. 

This is a fluvial procession along the Santiago River. The faithful from several communities meet in Limones. The barges on which they navigate the river are adorned with mangrove branches forming arches. They bring along groups of musicians with women singers.  This is a musical and spiritual expression characteristic of the area of Esmeraldas.

They all meet at the port of Limones from where rafts join the procession, following the main barge carrying the black Saint Martin de Porres until they arrive to Canchimalero where the saint is lowered and is taken in procession by land to the Church where a mass is held outside for all the parishioners.

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Although this is a religious procession, because of the dimensions and the distance it has become an itinerary to follow each year, and the afro Ecuadorian people gather as an extended family. We have mentioned Borbon because it is the largest and most important, but actually people from all the communities participate.

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Other data of interest


Distance by stretches, between landmarks

Borbón-Limones  7-8 km

Limones-Canchimalero  1km




Provincia Esmeraldas-Cantón Eloy Alfaro


9 km


  • Limones:

    Embarcadero de Limones / Limones jetty

    Up to Borbon by land and the road is first class, after that, travelling along the river up to Canchimalero

  • Canchimalero:


    Travel along the Santiago River up to Canchimalero

  • San Martin procession. Borbón :

    Puerto Limones-Canchimalero, Embarcadero de Borbón / Puerto Limones-Canchimalero, jetty of Borbón

    The only way to follow this itinerary-tour is by way of the river. Up to Borbon there is a good road to go by car and from there to Limones by the river.