Portoviejo - The Charming "City of the Royal Tamarind Trees"
Portoviejo is a city of Ecuador and the capital of the Province of Manabí. It is situated 30 Km from the Pacific coast. Portoviejo was founded March 12, 1535 by Captain Francisco Pacheco. The city has a population of about 250,000 and is also known as the city of the "Royal Tamarind Trees" for the beautiful trees found in the area.
This city is known for its commercial prosperity, with the economy based around coffee, cattle ranching, and fishing. Portoviejo would be a good place to purchase the Kapok mattresses and pillows that are made from the ceibo seed and is a good place to buy hammocks. So if you’re thinking of coming here, be sure to look out for these items.
You can easily take a walk around the city by foot and visit the Parque Eloy Alfaro, which faces the local cathedral. An interesting nearby village to visit is Sosote. It is just a few minutes from Portoviejo and is worth visiting because of its tagua workshops. The main street has several stalls selling tagua figures.
Portoviejo is the main political and economical centre of the Portoviejo River valley, which also includes the cantons of Santa Ana and Rocafuerte where about 110 square kilometers are cultivated every year. The valley is filled with tomatoes, onion, peppers, bananas, mangoes and other tropical fruits. The city, which was affected by the economical crisis in the eighties and nineties, is now recovering nicely. Unfortunately severe budget limitations and a huge unemployment rates makes things difficult for local authorities. Locals are very friendly and seem well educated. Portoviejo is the perfect place to enjoy the traditional Manabí cuisine that is well reputed throughout Ecuador. Most visitors can sample this delicious food at countryside restaurants located on the side of the Portoviejo-Crucita roadway.
One of the greatest poets to come from Portoviejo was Vicente Amador Flor. He wrote many poems about the city and it is clear that he was passionate about his home.