Portoviejo (Spanish pronunciation: [poɾtoˈβjexo], locally [poɾtoˈβjeho]) is a city in Ecuador, and the capital the Province of Manabí 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Pacific coast. (Population: about 250,000). Also known as the city of the "Royal Tamarind Trees" for the beautiful trees found in the area. 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 kilometres (42 square miles) are cultivated every year. The valley is rich in the production of tomatoes, onions, peppers, bananas, mangoes and other tropical fruits. The city, which was affected by economic crisis in the eighties and nineties, is now recovering but severe budget limitations and a huge unemployment rate present difficulties for local authorities. Portoviejo is a large commercial center for the province, where there are two shopping malls, one with a large hypermarket, 8 movie theaters, food court, and other stores. There is a large flea market in downtown. Locals are very friendly and very well educated. The city is home of the cancer treatment hospital "Dr Julio Villacreses Colmont" serving the provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas. Portoviejo is the perfect place to enjoy traditional Manabí cuisine, of great fame in Ecuador, usually at countryside restaurants located on the side of the Portoviejo-Crucita roadway. The local airport is used for domestic flights.
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