Here's a brief description of the most important Ecuador cities: Quito is the capital and the center of Ecuador's political life. The city was founded on the 6th of December 1534 by Sebastian de Benalcazar. It is located in the Highlands (Sierra) of Ecuador. Andes Cities like Quito have amazing landscapes. It stands at an altitude of 2818 mts. m.s.l. Famous for its colonial cathedrals, built in the XVI and XVII centuries. The most outstanding are: San Francisco, La Compania, La Merced, La Catedral, Santo Domingo and San Agustin. The monument which indicates the Equator line is located on the northwest part of the city. The population is 2'307.767 inhabitants according to the Ecuador 2005 census.
Unlike other Ecuador cities, Guayaquil has the most important harbour in the country and it was founded in 1536 by Francisco de Orellana. The city is a river harbor in the east and a maritime harbor in the south. The population is 1,985,379 and it is the main urban center of Ecuador. All import and export activities are centralized in Guayaquil and all its port facilities are considered to be some of the best of the Pacific South American coast. It is warmer than other Ecuador cities. The altitude is 4 msl.
Cuenca is the third most important Ecuador city and it has 479.667 inhabitants. Besides its remarkable cultural environment, Cuenca is an industrial center famous for its detailed handicrafts. The well-known hats of straw are made in Cuenca and they have been wrongly called Panama Hats. Among other cities in Ecuador, Cuenca has a unique architecture. The city is beautifully surrounded by the rivers Tomebamba, Machangara, Tarqui and Yanuncay. It was founded the 10th of April 1557 by Gil Ramirez Davalos and its altitude is 2.530 m. Ambato is another important city that has 287.062 inhabitants. Its climate is tepid (2.574 mts.). Ambato is well-known for The Mama Negra national partie.
Machala is the capital of the province of El Oro and it is located next to Puerto Bolivar natural harbor. Its commercial activity is very important. The exports of crustaceans (Shrimps) are outstanding and they are bred in artificial ponds with very specialized techniques. Machala's population is 220.000. It is also a main banana export center. Manta is another must visit city. Its population is 192.322. It is the second most important harbor in Ecuador. Cities like Manta are leading exporters of sea food, coffee and cocoa oil derivates. We can find plenty of fish and sea food factories around. Manta is also a summer resort in constant development.
Going back to the highlands, Riobamba is located in the middle of the mountain ridge. It has 403,632 inhabitants and its altitude is 2.763 m high (m.s.l.). Chimborazo, an amazing vulcano, stands next to the city as a big mytical protector.
Other important cities in Ecuador are Loja, Esmeraldas, Ibarra, Portoviejo, Latacunga, Babahoyo, Milagro, Quevedos and Tulcán.