Several National Sanctuaries and Ecological Reserves found near Machala boast sun-drenched beaches and mangrove forests. Pelicans frigatebirds and egrets nest nearby as Blue-footed Boobies dive for fish further out to sea. Whales and dolphins can occasionally be seen in the vicinity. Machala with a population of approximately 250 000 inhabitants is moreover known for traditional Latin American foods from shrimp ceviche to fried bananas. In fact bananas feature heavily in the culture as the city is also known as the “Capital of the Banana.” During the third week of September the ‘World Fair of the Banana’ is held here and producers and buyers from Perú Costa Rica Colombia Venezuela México Paraguay Uruguay Bolivia Argentina Guatemala Panamá República Dominicana El Salvado Honduras and Ecuador attend the event.