Machala, Ecuador - Polarsteps
Machala, Ecuador: They call it the "Banana capital of the world" because the port here is where the Ecuadoran bananas are shipped out to countries all around the world. This part of Ecuador is basically all banana plantations, right up to the edge of the city. Machala has a population of around 232,000 but the entire metropolitan area is almost a half-million.
The city dates back to when it was discovered as an indigenous village in 1537. In 1758 the Spaniards gave land to the Machalas people so they could expand their village. By 1808 there were 720 inhabitants in Machala. In 1863 they built their first berths for boats in the bay. The railroad arrived in 1900 and the railway station was completed in 1905. In 1902 the city built its first pier, which still stands and is saved as a piece of history. The city's first schoolhouse was completed in 1903. The city's first Municipal House was completed in 1914. That original building was demolished and a new one was built in 1972. In 1916, Machala got its first theater for both silent films and live productions. That lasted until 1931 when Peruvian armies invaded the area, took over the theater, and turned it into a barracks. Then, in 1941, it caught fire and burned down.
So, my impressions: I like Machala but it's too big for my preference. The commercial area of the city is quite large. They have wide sidewalks, most have many benches. The city is generally clean and looks nice enough. The area of the port is mostly industrial but there is the Malecon, which didn't impress me at all. The far eastern side of the city is growing immensely, especially with new housing developments. Some of which are exclusively custom-built homes.
My South America Journey