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Machala is a city in El Oro.


Machala is known as the 'banana capital of the world' because of its central role in exporting Ecuador's bananas. It's recognized as one of the most modern and important cities in Ecuador, crossing the Pan American Highway, Machala is a crossing point for tourist going between Ecuador and Perú, as it is the largest city near the Peruvian border. Machala has expanded and become a lot safer in recent years. The city features a nice harbour called Puerto Bolivar, there are restaurants right on the water.  Machala's cuisine is unique in that it is a blend of Ecuadorian coast cuisine and authentic Peruvian cuisine, making Machala's cuisine truly undiscovered. Machala also features a few malls and noteworthy monuments such as the Sword-Fish near the elevated flyover and the monument to the Bananero which is located on a roundabout near La Piazza. The Hotel Oro Verde, for example, is a great location to stay in Machala. Machala's people are kind and welcoming, making it an ideal stopover if you're travelling between Ecuador and Peru. Machala has a distinct small-town feel and some excellent lunch and dining options, including fantastic seafood, and barbecue restaurants. In December, the city is illuminated by Christmas lights and decorations.

Get in[edit]

By Bus[edit]

You can take a provincial bus from most cities in Ecuador to the brand new Machala Bus Terminal, which has a small mall inside where you can shop for any essential items you may need for your trip when you arrive or before you depart Machala. There is a pharmacy, a grocery store, a sports store where you can get comfortable clothes if needed, and a food court with KFC and local fast food restaurants.

Trips from Guayaquil take about 3 hours, and trips from Cuenca take about 3 hours. AndesTransit has further information on bus schedules and trip times.

By plane[edit]

Santa Rosa International Airport (ETR IATA). Latam Ecuador is the only airline that currently operates to or from Quito.

Get around[edit]

In Machala, you can walk around within town in about an hour.  During the day, it is a safe option but during the night might be a different story

Buses are $0.25 everywhere, and there are numerous bus lines that connect Puerto Bolivar to El Cambio and El Shopping. For example, the number one bus does this.

Taxis are $1 within town, $3 to the port (Puerto Bolivar), $2.50 to El Shopping, and $1.50 after midnight. Unlike many other regions, taxis may seek to overcharge North Americans; the simplest approach to avoid this is to not ask for the price before entering. Instead, hail a cab to your desired location, pay the driver $3, and exit the taxi.

See[edit][add listing]

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, if you particularly want to.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Supercines, (Located inside Paseo Shopping Machala). You can see a movie in this large theatre that shows blockbuster films; if you're concerned about not understanding the films, ask the ticket counter attendant whether there is an English-language film playing that day.  edit

There are a few things you can do as a tourist in Machala, you should visit the Parque Urbano, it's a very nice large park. You can take a drive to the Petrified forest of Puyango. You can go to Puerto Bolivar and see the ships exporting bananas in containers while you grab a bite.

You can 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][add listing]

  • El Paseo Shopping Machala, Avenida Paquisha. The city's local shopping centre, It has around 30 retail stores, as well as a food court, a grocery store, and a movie theatre, all of which are located within the mall.  edit
  • La Piazza, Avda. 25 de Junio Km 1 Vía a Pasaje, 2907023. 7am-11pm. A local shopping plaza with over 20 stores, including a big supermarket, a pharmacy, an art and crafts store, and a food court.  edit
  • Oro Plaza, Av. 25 de Junio S/N via Machala-Pasaje, 298-8001, [1]. Located beside El Paseo Shopping Machala is Oro Plaza which is another local plaza that has some shops where you can get clothes, fast food and restaurants like Chesco Pizzeria, Wapos(A Mexican food restaurant) El Carbon De Freddy( A local BBQ staple that sells beef, chicken, local moricilla ,beef and pork sausages and more)  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

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  • Naturissimo, (Rocafuerte between 9 de Mayo and Juan Montalvo, inside the Paseo Shopping Machala.). Naturissimo has two branches one on Rocafuerte between 9 de Mayo and Juan Montalvo, the other in the Shopping. They make delicious fresh yogurt and pan de yuca(cheese bread)  edit
  • El Monito, Avenida Central 25 de Junio. El Monito is a popular cafe place among locals where you can grab a cup of fresh coffee, plantain empanadas with meat in them and the popular cold rice drink known as chicha which they are famous for in the city and is definitely worth a try especially on a hot day  edit
  • Paseo Shopping Machala. You can go to the Paseo Shopping Machala for some fast food favourites like Kfc, Subway, Mayflower (a Ecuadorian Chinese fast food chain), Pizza hut(yes they have a pizza hut too if you want to get a taste from home in Ecuador), Le Crepes & Waffles, Naturissimo, Pinguino(A local ice cream place that sells ice cream cones), Carls Jr (Yes thats right the American fast food chain sells Signature favourites in the food court),La Tablita del Tártaro ( A local bbq place located in the food court where you can get A chicken or beef platter that comes with rice and bean stew called arroz con menestra con carne/ pollo)  edit
  • Chesco Pizzeria. Chesco Pizzera is a popular pizzeria in the city that is worth a try if you enjoy pizza and want to taste how they make it in South America.  edit
  • Chili's. Yes thats correct Machala has their own Chili's, It is located inside the Paseo Shopping Machala, you can get favourites like Steak, Chicken Wings, Hamburgers and Drinks and Alcoholic Beverages as well.  edit
  • Chifa Oriental, (Located in the city center). This popular Chinese food eatery is located in the heart of the city and is one the locals favourite places get some fried rice and more  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Chili's, (Inside Paseo Shopping Machala), 298-4364. There is a bar located in the restaurant where you can get cocktails and alcoholic beverages.  edit

There are a number of places to grab a drink like bars, live music restaurants and clubs, across the city. There's a Zona Rosa, but it's not very safe specially after dark.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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  • Hotel Oro Verde, General Thelmo Sandoval y Circunvalación Norte, 298-0074, [2]. Hotel Oro Verde is a popular hotel located outside the city centre. This 5 star hotel is elegant, has a big pool for guests to swim in and has a fancy cafe where you can get some local brewed coffee and some torta de tres leches which is delicious. $100-$160 per night.  edit
  • REEC Machala by Oro Verde Hotels, Bolivia y Uruguay Esquina Urbanización Las Crucitas Edificio, [3]. REEC Machala by Oro Verde Hotels is a new hotel by the Oro Verde chain that is new and modern, great staff and breakfast. $100-$160 per night.  edit
  • Hotel San Miguel, 9 de Mayo (between Sucre and Olmedo), 2922625. checkout: 12pm. Hotel San Miguel offers good value and reasonable prices. It is only one block to the main square (tourist information and town hall). Rooms with fan are 15USD, with AC are 20USD (both for two people). 15-20USD.  edit
  • Hotel Vexour. Hotel Vexour is a hotel that is located in the city center of Machala close to Parque Juan Montalvo where there is a nice park and the Machala Cathedral which is beautiful.  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.

Stay Safe[edit]

Puerto Bolivar is normally not a safe area to walk on the boardwalk at night and sometimes during the day as well therefore if you must go, it is best to travel by car rather than walking and dont bring any valuable belonging or big brand bags that can attract attention.

Zona Rosa is not a safe place usually because of all the bars and nightclubs around the area

Dont walk with any valuable belongings at any time while in the city, it is not safe to do so and you could possibly be followed for it and taken away from you. Leave anything expensive in your hotel rooms or place that your staying in and if you do for some reason want to bring something with you make sure its not too valuable like a cheap camera or phone.


There is a tourist information office on the corner 9 de Mayo and 25 de Junio.

Get out[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.

Transportes Panamericana buses go to Quito and usually take 11-14 hours to get there.

TAC and Piñas go to Piñas and Zaruma (2-3 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.Create category

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