A Mine and a Greenhouse
Portovelo, like Zaruma, is also largely dependent economically speaking on mining. The area is rich in gold, silver, and copper. Driving through the city, there are signs and sculptures everywhere that display the city's proud mining heritage. Legend even says that the gold used to ransom the Incan Emperor Atahualpa was brought to Cajamarca from Portovelo and Zaruma!
During our visit to Portovelo, we also stopped at a greenhouse belonging to one of Arturo's close friends. Here, there are mandarin oranges, bananas, cacao, and several other plants not just growing, but thriving alongside the small nearby river. It is a great place to learn about agriculture in Ecuador outside of the realm of coffee.