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Ecuador Tourist Guide

Ecuador

Ecuador straddles the Equator, from which it gets its name, and has borders with Colombia and Peru and a Pacific coast. It has a number of rivers that rise in the Andes and flow eastwards into the Amazon or westwards out into the Pacific Ocean. They are important for the economy of the country and a source of hydro-electric power, though not much exploited for recreation except for adventure canoeing and rafting. The Putumayo river, which forms much of the international border with Colombia and Peru, is an important transport route for local industry.

The Morona, Napo, Tiputini and Coca rivers are tributaries of the Amazon and are navigable for small boats over several hundred miles, offering the hope of a viable river route, though as yet it is the preserve of canoeists and expedition boaters.

The Guayas River in western Ecuador is the country's most important waterway and is depicted on the national coat of arms. It joins the Daule River and flows out to the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Guayaquil.

Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador and the country's main port, set about 120 miles south of the capital, Quito. Guayaquil is growing in importance as a tourist destination for leisure travel and international events. It's also well known as a city of musicians and artists. Many houses in the Las Peñas district are galleries and studios.

Manta, Ecuador's second largest port and the main city of Manabi province on the Pacific coast, is a port of call for cruise ships and has developed tourist facilities including fine beaches, restaurants and clubs. Manta produces pottery and handicrafts and lays claim to be the original source of so-called Panama hats.

The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador.

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