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Guayaquil and the Pacific Coast Travel Guide

Bahía de Caráquez

This beachfront port town—everyone calls it Bahía for short—built by the Spaniards in 1624, has a delightful small-town resort vibe, with waterfront restaurants that serve delicious meals of organically grown

shrimp and fresh crab. The Spaniards were not the first, however, to find this peninsula. Members of the Caras people arrived aboard balsa-wood sailing

rafts around 1500 BC, and it's believed that Bahía de Caráquez originally existed as a trading center for shells and crafted ornaments, which were exchanged for gold, copper, and other goods from places as far away as Mexico and Chile.

This town of 25,000 takes pride in being a self-declared "eco-city." Few cars ply the streets, as most transportation is by three-wheel cycle. An environmental learning center serves as an after-school center for children from underprivileged homes, at which kids learn the importance of recycling and environmental issues. Bahía's citizens envision their city as a model of sustainability.

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