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Ecuador
   COAST ...
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ecuador
 
 THE COAST [LA COSTA]
Pacific coast
Most of the people live along the coast in large centres, with Guayaquil being the main city with up to 3 million inhabitants. Other cities of importance along the coast starting from south are Machala [banana production], Salinas [major tourist centre], Manta [fishing and harbour] and Esmeraldas [oil refinery and harbour].
Between those bigger cities you find long stretches of beach with only smaller fishing villages, some of those offering basic tourist accommodations and attractions. Fishing, tourism and shrimp farming [problematic because of mangrove destruction] are therefore the major economic activities.

Tourist attractions
All of the beaches along the Ecuadorian coast.
Puerto Lopez: beautiful beaches and whale watching in the summer months.
Boat trips to Isla Del Plata, also called Galapagos for the poor.
Salinas: main beach resort along the coast, offering deep sea fishing, etc...
Bahia de Caraquez: tourist centre with nice surrounding beaches.
Atacames: beach town for people from Quito.

Coastal mountains
Reach up to 1000m and stretches from Guayas north to Esmeraldas. This hilly part is used mainly for livestock production and smaller farm enterprises. Portoviejo [agricultural centre] is the main town in that region. Close by is Montecristi, famous for the making of Panama hats.

Tourist attractions
Bielsa Nature reserves in the northern mountain region

Coastal plains
The area between the coast and the Andes mountains is pre-dominantly flat and it is where you will find huge banana plantations and other agricultural productions [palm oil, pineapple, livestock, etc...]
Main centres are Santo Domingo and Babahoyo [livestock and agricultural products]. Tourist attractions
Colorado Indians near Santo Domingo
La Perla, 167 hectors of protected tropical rainforest near Concordia
Valle Hermosa, a river valley near Santo Domingo

Northern Tropical Rainforest
The northernmost region, bordering Colombia and almost identical to the province of Esmeraldas. This region is still mostly untouched and covered with a tropical rainforest although it is coming more and more under environmental pressure through the opening of the area by roads. Tree cutting companies and colonists follow those recently built roads and the tropical forest suffers by human interventions.

Tourist attractions
Playa de Oro on the Santiago River
San Miguel on the Cayapas River
Majagual, private mangrove reserve with some of the highest mangrove trees in the world.
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