GUAYAQUIL - ECUADOR
The capital city of the province of Manabi, on the coastal
belt, located on the east band of the Portoviejo
river, 140 km to the north-northwest of Guayaquil, in a
fertile agricultural region. Its most important products
are precious woods, and the food and textile industries.
Its population is some 167,000 people.
Portoviejo is located in the center of
the province, between the Balsamo and Hojas hills. The former
separates the river basins of Portoviejo
and Chone, and is covered with ceibo and guayacan trees.
The Hojas hill separates Portoviejo from
Montecristi. The mountains of Alajuela and San Placido,
and the Jaboncillo hill also form part of Portoviejo
and are covered with dry, thorny woods.
Portoviejo has always been seen as the
center for political and cultural events in the province
of Manabi. The main city of the canton is also known as
the city of the Royal Tamarinds, since at one time these
very leafy fruit trees were planted and grew here.
Portoviejo was the place where the Valdivia,
Machalilla and Chorrera cultures
settled from the "Formative Period", 3,500 BC to 500 AD.
In the Regional Development period, 500 BC to 500 AD, the
Guangala, Bahia and Jama-Coaque
What is today Portoviejo was founded by
Captain Francisco Pacheco, a member of Diego de Almagro's
army on March 12th, 1535.
The new city, located near Charapoto, was called Villa Nueva de San Gregorio, in homage to Gregory the Great, whose feast day was that day. At the foundation, a square was created with a wooden cross raised in the middle, with the act of foundation on it. Given its importance, in the same year it was raised to the category of a lieutenancy, one of the seven lieutenancies of the Corregimiento of Guayaquil, consisting of 6 parishes: Montecristi, Charapoto, Pichota, Jipijapa, Picoaza and Manta.
Villa Nueva de San Gregorio was one of the most important during the first years of the conquest. There the Spaniards established a safe and sheltered port to give protection and supplies to all the vessels traveling to and from Panama. The foundation, which was initially made very close to the sea, helped in the strategy of the conquest of the Kingdom of Quito. In 1628, seeking refuge from pirate attacks, the city was moved to Charapoto, its current location.
Three people claimed to be the founders of Portoviejo:
Pedro Puelles, Gonzalo de Olmos and Francisco Pacheco. The
last is officially recognized as the founder of the city
of the Royal Tamarinds.
In November, 1535, Gonzalo de Olmos arrived in Portoviejo
and founded the city, four leagues from the one created
by Pacheco, aiming above all to find the famous emerald
mines and the other riches he had heard spoken of.
Pacheco stayed in the region for a little under two years. Later there were various pirate raids and fires were started that led to the city being moved from one place to another.
In 1540, Portoviejo sent a letter - its
second - to the King of Spain, complaining that the jurisdiction
had been abandoned. They requested a halt to the foundation
of new cities in the province, since Portoviejo
had only fourteen neighbors, and this, together with the
lack of labor and taxes from the Indian village, would significantly
impoverish the towns.
By 1765 Portoviejo took on the category
of a province, with a population of 5,200. As it was a city
of the Spanish foundation, it had certain privileges: one
of them was to have a town assembly and the right to elect
mayors who were not dependent on the mayors of Guayaquil,
according to Horacio Hidrovo Peñaherrera, in his work "Postal
Espiritual de Portoviejo".
On October 18th, 1820, Portoviejo, in open
assembly, proclaimed its independence, joining the political
transformation of Guayaquil, recorded on October 9th, 1820.
It was Jose Joaquin de Olmedo, first civil governor of Ecuador,
who sent a letter written and signed in his own hand, in
which he declared that Portoviejo had broken
the yoke of slavery.
Portoviejo had been important ever since
the Spanish conquest. From Portoviejo the
Spanish American troops set out for Guayaquil, and then
for Quito, carrying their discoveries to the river Amazon.
Orellana was especially interested in the prospects offered
During the colonial period it was the operational center of the conquistadors and later the center of emancipation movements, and managed to proclaim its independence on October 18th, 1820.
In the last few years it has gone through an urban transformation process, such as occurs only in cities that display constant progress.
It has many tourist attractions: beaches, monuments, tourist centers and shows, all of which constitute potential generators of tourism.
Handicrafts are also a popular characteristic of the area.
In Picoaza, for example, hats and beautiful wooden furniture
are still made; in Riochico cotton hammocks are still woven
and manual and culinary traditions are still present in
many homes, such as making embroidered tablecloths and preparing
preserves and other recipes. This city has always been noted
for its people and also for its architecture: there are
old houses, modern buildings, parks and monuments, churches,
colleges, public and private institutions and a variety
of items, all making up the Portoviejo
of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
In Portoviejo you can do urban, cultural
and rural folklore tourism. 27 kilometers from the canton
capital is the Crucita beach, a place noted for being especially
suitable for practicing flying sports. It is also a historical
place, starting with the origin of its name, that is said
to have grown out of the vigils to the Virgin Mary and the
Holy Cross, performed every year in the month of May. With
the visit of Bishop Pedro Schumacher, who placed a cross
at the present location of the church, the name of Crucita
("Little Cross") was adopted, inhabitants who know the history
The tourist potential of Crucita begins in the 90's. Previously it was not known as anything more than a neglected bathing place. But private investment and the resources it possesses are driving its development.
Points of Tourism
Portoviejo Lookout Points, Riochico Reservoir, Botanical Garden, Libraries: Casa de Horacio, Consejo Provincial,
UTM and Municipal Library.
Museums: Popular Art in the UTM, Casa de
la Cultura [House of Culture].
Tourist Centers: El Concorde, Jotapi, Ginverjud.
Bathing places: Del Encanto Lagoon in San
Placido; Del Carchi Waterspring, in Colon parish; La Playita
[Beach] at Picoaza.