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South America > Ecuador > Coastal Lowlands (Ecuador) > Machala

Machala

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Machala is a city in the Coastal Lowlands of Ecuador.

Understand[edit]

Machala is known as the 'banana capital of the world' because of its central role in exporting Ecuador's bananas. It's hardly a tourist destination (guidebooks describe it as chaotic, oppressively hot and dangerous) but for those travellers who do find themselves here it has a certain charm and some good places to eat.

Get in[edit]

Get around[edit]

You can walk just about anywhere within town in Machala within about half an hour. This is safe during the daytime, but less so at night.

Buses cost $0.25 anywhere, and loads of bus lines go between Puerto Bolivar and El Cambio and El Shopping. Number 1 bus does this for example.

Taxis cost $1 within town, $3 to the port (Puerto Bolivar), $2.50 to El Shopping and $1.50 after midnight. Taxis will try to charge gringos more - in contrast to many places the best way to avoid this is NOT to ask the price before getting in. Instead, take the taxi wherever you want, hand the taxi driver a dollar and get out.

See[edit]

Puerto Bolivar is Machala's port, about 20 minutes away by bus ($0.25) or 15 minutes by taxi ($3). You can see big ships being loaded with bananas and there are a lot of seafood restaurants, bars and some shopping.

Plaza Colon is a nice park with a huge model of the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria that you can climb into.

Do[edit]

Talk to Machalenos. That's about it!

You can also go to Jambeli beach. From Puerto Bolivar, take a boat ($3) for half an hour to Jambeli. Whether it's worth the trip or not is debatable - although Jambeli is popular with Ecuadoreans its a narrow, quite dirty, very busy beach (especially at the weekend).

Buy[edit]

There is one (overpriced) shopping centre called (amusingly) El Shoping. Not sure where the other 'p' went. It's out of town towards El Cambio.

Eat[edit]

There is a wonderful pizza place on Manuel Estomba and Buenavista run by an Italian Machaleno called Claudio. Proper Italian pizzas - not cheap cheap, but very good value (about $5-7 per person plus drinks).

Naturissimo has two branches one on Rocafuerte between 9 de Mayo and Juan Montalvo, the other in the Shopping. They make delicious fresh yoghury and pan de yuca. It has to be tried to be believed! About $3 per person.

Chifa restaurants that serve Ecuadorian/Peruvian Chinese cuisine are popular and tasty.

Drink[edit]

There's a Zona Rosa, a place with many bars, but it's not very safe for non-Ecuadoreans after dark (or for Ecuadoreans for that matter).

Sleep[edit]

Hotel San Francisco, on Tarqui between Sucre and Olmedo, is clean, modern and friendly. Rooms start at around $14 per person, more for air-con.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

Buses to Guayaquil take 3 hours, and run every half an hour during the day and evening. Rutas Orenses on Tarqui and Bolivar are recommended (they cost $6 but are reasonably safe - the route from Machala to Guayaquil is known to be a bit dodgy).

Loja Internacional goes to Loja and takes 6 hours. Buses about every hour.

TAC and Pinas go to Zaruma (3 hours, $3)

CIFA Internacional goes to Peru, with a through bus over the border. Buses go to Mancora twice a day, or change in Tumbes, Peru.

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