Machala is a city in south-west Ecuador. It is the capital of the El Oro Province and located near the Gulf of Guayaquil on fertile lowlands. Machala has a population of 230,901 (2010 census),it is also the fourth biggest city of the country; and the second most important port, it has been referred to as the Banana Capital of the World.
Machala is a commercial center for the surrounding agriculture industries. There is a large trade in bananas, coffee and cocoa. The banana industry is especially oriented for exportation, and plays a huge role in the city's economy. Bananas are shipped out from nearby Puerto Bolívar mainly to North America. Machala's geographical position near Guayaquil also makes it an important transportation center. Many travelers heading south to Peru or north to Guayaquil funnel through the city. It is not known as a tourist destination among Ecuadorians or international tourists though its proximity to the Pacific Ocean positions it close to beaches. Machala has a growing economy that was marked in 2007 by the inauguration of its first mall, with a movie theater, on the outskirts of the city.