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Port life in Ecuador – The Top 10 Major Ports

The top 10 Major Ports in Ecuador

Importing and exporting in Ecuador is the main staple of the country’s economy, making the following ports crucial to the country.

Port of Guayaquil

Ports in Ecuador - Guayaquil
Port of Guayaquil

This is one of the largest ports in the country and is the country’s principal port. Located in the city of Guayaquil, on the west bank of the Guayas River, the port can handle a lot of the import and export traffic that comes from the pacific ocean since the river flows into the pacific. Therefore, the port of Guayaquil is a commercial port more than a tourism port.

The city of Guayaquil has always depended on formal and informal trade for its economy, and they trade in aquaculture and agriculture. The export and import goods and products pass through the port of Guayaquil because most of the related industries are located within the city or its periphery. Moreover, this port is one of the most active ports because it is in the Gulf of Guayaquil and handles 90% of the country’s imports and 50% of the country’s exports.

Port of Esmeraldas

Ports in Ecuador - Esmeraldas
Port of Esmeraldas

This port sits in Northwestern Ecuador at the mouth of the River Esmeraldas. From its vantage point, it has occupied the principal hub for exporting lumber, agricultural resources, and other products. It is also the terminus for the Trans-Ecuadorian pipeline bringing oil from the country’s oil fields in the northeast. The Balao terminal is the oil processing facility for the port of Esmeraldas. With oil being the largest employer, this port is a source of income for many Ecuadorians living in the Northwestern hemisphere of the country. Overall, the port of Esmeraldas handles over 11% of the cargo moved in the country and roughly over 800 thousand metric tonnes of the cargo annually.

Port of Bolivar

Also known as Puerto Bolivar and located in El Oro, this port handles Ecuador’s lucrative banana export industry and is also the port used for shrimp exportation. The El Oro province lies in the middle of the banana farm belt of Ecuador. The annual production of 3 million tons of bananas keeps the port busy and exports other cargo like concentrated copper and paper pulp. This port is popular for such perishable goods because it features one of the country’s most stable container freight operations, making it the safest place for containerized export products. Most of the bananas exported via the port of Bolivar are headed for the European market.

Port of Manta

Ports in Ecuador - Manta
Port of Manta

The port of Manta is well known as a port of tourism. This is where the cruise ships tend to berth because the port has access to the best pre-Colombian historical sites and is close to the international airport: Eloy Alfaro International Airport. It is also home to the best water sports in Latin America, from surfing to scuba diving and water skiing. In addition, Manta is also recognized as an art-loving city, even hosting international film festivals. But the port of Manta is also a trading port for the region’s fishing industry since the main economic activity in the Manta region is tuna fishing. This port brings passengers from all over the world to enjoy some of South America’s most outstanding beaches and seafood.

Port of Bahia de Caraquez

Ports in Ecuador - Bahia de Caraquez
Bahia de Caraquez Port

Bahia de Caraquez, officially known as San Antonio de Caraquez, is found in the province of Manabi. The port is located at the mouth of the Rio Chone and is also home to many sailing cruise ships and touristsIn addition, it’s close to the port of Manta and receives a lot of tourist traffic from the cities of Guayaquil and Quito. In the city, one will find an archeological museum displaying ancient artifacts from the Manabi region. In Bahia de Caraquez, the primary economic activity is the fattening of shrimp held in captivity for exportation. The Chone river hosts 6,000 hectares of the pools cultivated for the fattening of shrimp.

Other Ports in Ecuador

San Lorenzo

The port of San Lorenzo is located in the province of Esmeralda, right in the north of the town. Wood and tourism are the primary uses of this Ecuadorian port.

La Libertad

The La Libertad’s Oil Terminal is located on the Santa Elena Peninsula 140 km west of the city of Guayaquil and 5 miles east of the Santa Elena Lighthouse. Its primary purpose is to revive and manage refined petroleum and other ports of the country.


Located in Santa Elena province, this port mainly focuses on tourism passengers. Also, due to its proximity to other large ports such as Manta, it hardly receives commercial cargo. However, the port of Salinas is a great destination to include tourist companies.


Close to the province of Esmeralda, the port of Bolao is responsible for a significant amount of petroleum imports. Therefore, this port holds an essential list of certified assets and procedures not to generate environmental issues. Its oil mechanism has a 26″ diameter pipeline with a length of 77.4 kilometers between the provinces of Quinindé and Balao. It can mobilize more than 158,000 barrels of crude.


Located in the province of Montalvo, the port of Tungurahua mainly focuses on fluvial ships and the fish industry. Its size does not permit more significant movements of cargo and usually is full of small fishing boats.

Ecuador is the 62nd largest export economy in the world, thanks to its agricultural resources and the fishing industry. These ports have played a significant role in making the Ecuadorian economy the eighth largest in Latin America.



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