Guayaquil and Southern Pacific

The coastal plains are the agro-industrial heartland of Ecuador. Rice, sugar, coffee, African palm, mango, cacao and shrimp are produced in these hot and humid lowlands and processed or exported through Guayaquil. The largest and most dynamic commercial centre in the country, Guayaquil is also Ecuador's main port and the city's influence extends all along the coast and beyond. This 'working Ecuador' is more frequently seen by business visitors than tourists, but Guayaquil has experienced a civic revival in recent years and has some attractions to offer. Trips to Galápagos can be organized from here, and the city is a logical starting point for travels north along the coast.

In the opposite direction, south to the Peruvian border, the land gives the impression of being one giant banana plantation. Machala is the main centre here, and nearby Puerto Bolívar is the port through which the
oro verde
(green gold) is shipped out to the world. Inland from Machala, in the uplands of El Oro, is one of the best hidden treasures of Ecuador - the colonial mining town of Zaruma.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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