Machala, Ecuador, lies in the banana-growing region on the coast 75 mi/120 km south of Guayaquil. This agricultural boomtown is usually just a stopover on the way to or from Peru, though banana enthusiasts should spend some time at the World Banana Festival the third week in September. Central in the city is Parque Juan Montalvo, a plaza next to a large church. Bus stations and most of the convenient accommodations are a short walk from there. A tourism information office lies at one corner of the plaza next to the town hall. For some very fresh seafood, it is worth making the trip to nearby Puerto Bolivar on the sea.

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