Machala, Ecuador

Jan 7, 2023

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.

The climate of Machala is classified as a semi-arid climate. The daytime average high of 29° C (84° F), and the night average low of 23° C (73° F). The highest elevation in the city is 12 meters (39.3 feet).

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. I can't put Machala on my top-10 list because of its size, but it is a pleasant place to visit.

This is my goal: to find a new place to live. So to reach that goal I am traveling most of South America, visiting the countries of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, passing through Argentina, visiting Paraguay, passing through a bit of Brazil, and finally visiting Uruguay. I have a list of towns, about 70 towns, that meet these qualifications: Cities with average day temperatures of 22-28° C (72-83° F) and night temps of 14° C (57° F) and higher; and a population between 28,000-300,000. I analyzed climate and population data of around 700 towns in the above-mentioned countries and then pulled out the ones that meet the previously mentioned criteria, which leaves about 70. My preference leans towards towns of less than 100,000 people. Of the 70 towns, about 20 have populations of 100,000 - 300,000. And, now that I have visited more than 25 towns/cities, I've decided I will probably want an inland town. I love the beach and walking in the warm water, but, getting sunburned is just too easy, even on a cloudy day. At least, here in Ecuador. I've also decided that any town with more than 100,000 population will be too big. I've decided that any small town that meets the temp specifications and has a supermarket and ATM is one worth considering to live in.

At this point in my journey I have one town on my top-20 list - Puyo. So far, in my travels of Ecuador, I have visited 26 towns/cities. Puyo is the only one I would choose to live in. I still have 3 more to visit, though.

Next up: Santa Rosa.