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MANABI AND ITS PROSPERITY

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MANABI AND ITS PROSPERITY


Manabi, a province of Ecuador located in the west of the country, is one of the five forming the Coastal Region. To the north it borders on the province of Esmeraldas, to the east on Pichincha and Guayas, to the south on Guayas, and to the west on the Pacific Ocean. The highest points in Manabi are no more than 700 meters above sea level. In the center and north of the province are the mountains of Jama, Chindul, Canoa and Los Liberales.

Manabi has approximately 350 kilometers of sea coast, with significant geographical features such as Cojimies Bay, Jama Point, Pasado Cape, Caraquez Bay, Manta Bay, Jaramijo Point, San Jose Cape, San Lorenzo Cape, Cayo Cove and the islands of La Plata and Salango. The area of Manabi is 18,880 km2.

The climate is quite even, with average temperatures of 25°Celsius, though the maximum can reach 36°C. There is one zone with a tropical savannah climate and another with tropical monsoon, in the west.

There is a broad hydrographic network, with few perennial rivers; among the most important are: Manta, Portoviejo, Chone and Briceño; there is also a hydrographic basin served by the rivers Daule and Peripa.

Manabi is also a province with a wealth of archeological sites, notable among which are the discoveries at Machalilla, in the Machalilla National Park, Bahia and Manta. The latter port, fishing and industrial city, together with Montecristi and Portoviejo, the capital, are the main urban centers of the province. Its area is 18,879 km2., with a population of 1,186,025 inhabitants (year 2000).

It is made up of a hill zone, parallel to the coast, and a coastal plain. This is the Colonche-Balzar cordillera, a prolongation of the high and craggy Guayas hills in the south. The coastal plain has a low shoreline, marked by broad bays between rocky ridges forming the capes or points. In order of importance, these are, firstly, the capes Pasado, San Mateo and San Lorenzo, and then the points Pedernales and Bellaca. Cape Pasado forms the entrance to the arid coast, because from there southwards the effects of the Humboldt current are most felt, with precipitations ranging between 250 and 500 mm per year. Towards the north and to the interior, the climate is wetter. There it changes from a xerophilous type vegetation to tropical forest formations. The main urban centers are: Manta, Portoviejo, Bahia, Chone and Jipijapa. The preeminence of Manta was consolidated with the building of the sea-port.

Manabi's economy is based on agriculture, with plantations of cotton, rice, coffee, peanuts, fruit-trees and vegetables. Using the natural vegetation, the main activities are palm-fiber production for making Panama hats; vegetable ivory, which is obtained from the seed of another kind of palm (corojo), used to make buttons and for handcrafts; and coconut oils. Another important resource is fishing, which is driving a significant canning activity.

Tourism, as an economic resource for the Manabi province, is in full development, since there are natural, cultural and landscape attractions that make it a favorite place for tourists. The main attractions are in Manta and its beaches, El Murcielago and Tarqui; Crucita in Portoviejo; San Jacinto and San Clemente; further north, San Vicente, Boca de Briceño, Canoa, Pedernales, Cojimies; and, to the south, Puerto Cayo, Puerto Lopez and Machalilla National Park.

The beauty of the beaches, the landscapes, and the location of the province in relation to Quito, which is the main city where the tourists for the Sierra come from, place Manabi in an advantageous position.

There is a steady flow of tourists to the province throughout the year. The most popular months are July, August, September and holidays such as Christmas, New Year's, Carnival and Holy Week.

Machalilla National Park:
This starts 80 kilometers south of Portoviejo, in the area of Jipijapa and Puerto Lopez. It is an ecological reserve of endangered flora and fauna, with archeological remains from the Machalilla culture that was based in the area. The park includes museums, woods and two small islands: La Plata and Salango.

Caraquez Bay
This has spacious beaches. The river Chone estuary can be crossed in launch or barge to the beach of San Vicente. The area is a great producer of prawns. The mangrove swamps of the estuary are reservations, declared a zone for fauna production.

Montecristi
Birthplace of the famous liberal revolutionary, Eloy Alfaro, it has a glorious history. The city is noted for being a craft center, working in toquilla straw and making cane furniture. The La Pila parish is famous for the ingenious creativity of its craftspeople, who make replicas of pre-Columbian pottery and other interesting designs.

Portoviejo
It is called the City of the Royal Tamarinds. There are still a few old houses in the city, examples of the architecture of the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century. Among its main attractions are the Crucita beaches, the Encanto Lagoon in San Placido, the Reales Tamarindos Stadium, the Metropolitan Cathedral and El Sagrario church in the center of Portoviejo, and the festivals celebrated on September 24th in honor of its patron, Our Lady of Mercy, and on Independence Day, October 18th.

Other tourist attractions

Pozos de Choconcha, in Jipijapa.
Mt De Hojas, 10 kilometers from Portoviejo.
Encanto Lagoon, near San Placido, 20 kilometers from Portoviejo.
The "Casa del Diablo" [Devil's House],
This was built in stone by the aboriginal inhabitants of Junin.
Mt Montecristi.
Procel Waterfall
In Pajan.
Salto Fe Waterfall
In Jama, a 40-meter waterfall.
Pacoche Ecosystem
In Manta canton

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