Thursday, March 14, 2013

Trip to Machala, Ecuador - the banana capitol of the world

Three fun filled days and two nights in Machala and Isla Jambeli

Stephen and Geri picked me up around 10 am on Saturday morning along with Val and Ana. We headed towards Yunguilla, a beautiful village in the lust green mountains south of Cuenca, and then down to the coast. Leaving behind the 72 degree weather of Cuenca. Two and a half hours later we were in the 86 degree weather of Machala with 80% humidity! It was nice to wear shorts and t-shirts again.

Machala is the banana capitol of the world and we drove through miles of banana fields.

Its always great to go places with Ana, she has been all over Ecuador and knows the best places to go. Of course as soon as we arrived in Machala we drove directly to the bay for a fresh seafood lunch.

  Pepe's Restaurant was the only seafood place on the bay. Across the street there were many seafood restaurants for blocks.

Stephen, Geri and me 

Ana, Val, Geri and Stephen toasting by the bay

View of the pier on the bay at Pepe's Restaurant

The food was excellent we had a seafood combo of shrimp, sea base, clams and a mixed seafood rice for just $11. After lunch we walked down the pier and looked at the goods that were for sale.

Here's the Reefers banana boat

After lunch and a stroll on the pier we headed for Roxy's aunts house where we were invited for a typical Ecuadorian party. All her relatives were great and lots of fun, there was plenty of beer, food and dancing.

About 9 pm we decided to go find a hotel for the night, so we headed back to the bay. We stopped at a couple of hostel's that just were not that great, then one of the receptionists recommended the Hotel Adriand's, which was a couple of blocks down the street. It was a real adventure to get to due to the renovation of the streets. But we finally got there and for $34 per room we decided to stay. The Hotel was being renovated like the streets and most of the buildings on the bay.
The rooms were great, with air conditioning and cable TV! They even had a new swimming pool which everyone took advantage of. It was just a block from the bay and two blocks from the pier.

Hotel Adriand's

Machala is an old city of about 500,000 people, but it was very clean and even had a new shopping mall and a Super Maxi.

While we were checking in we ran into our friend Marco, who is from Cuenca.We had not seen him since the Christmas party. He was with his contractor and architect and were all heading to Isla Jambeli the next day to survey some beach front land he owns, so we all decided to go with them the next day.

We stopped at the local Marcado for some fresh seafood on our way to the ferry. Marco had fresh shrimp cevichi and Juan had clams for just $3 each.

After lunch we headed to the pier to board the ferry to Isla Jambeli. They leave every 30 minutes for $4 each round trip and it takes about 20 minutes to get there.

Entrance to the pier

On board the ferry

Once you arrive on the island you must walk everywhere because there are no roads or cars. We did see some paved walkways through a subdivision of lots for sale starting at $10,000. but not on the playa. We did see a few ATV's hauling goods around.

Many fresh seafood restaurants along the beach and tents for rent by the night. I understand the island is very busy on the weekends and slow and relaxing during the week. The people that live there must go to the mainland for shopping and bring all their goods back by boat. The island does have electricity and fresh water, plus our cell phones did work.

Juan, Val and Marco taking a beer stop on our walk down the beach to Marco's land, which turned out to be a long one.

The walkway along the beach

Stephen and Ana relaxing out of the warm sun while we walked the beach to Marco's land. He will sub-divide it into around 100 lots and they will sell for between $5000 to $3500 per lot! Not bad for beach property. We asked about a couple of new houses we saw and the wood structures could be built for around $7000 and the concrete ones for $12,000.

We caught the last boat back to the mainland and checked back into our hotel for another night, which was spent in the pool keeping cool.

It was great running into Marco and his crew, we had lots of fun with them.

After breakfast of eggs and fried bananas of course, we headed back up the mountain to the cool climate of Cuenca. We had a great time and I am looking forward to returning to Machala soon.

 I want to thank those blog readers who have purchased my book 'Why Ecuador for me' from kindle at Amazon.

 Until next time remember to enjoy life everyday!


  1. you sure are getting to know that world down there. love you suecq

    1. I would still love to do a S Am cruise, if ya want too! Check out the prices you are the cruise expert!

  2. Thanks very much, I'm going to Machala for a couple months and this really gave me a good idea of how is life down there, where to go and what to do. Appreciated the hint about the hotel Adriands I will Google them right away, I guess at 86degrees a pool and air conditioning are must definitely. Any hints of places in the downtown?.

    1. Its much better on the bay! We looked downtown but it was not appealing. Also enjoyed the island. Have fun!

  3. Very helpful. Best info I've found on this island.

  4. Very good info and I am going to go to Machala today for 3 days. Looking forward to it. I should read it earlier, could get me this hotel instead Madrid because I think Madrid does not have a pool !