Macas is the capital of Morona Santiago province in southeastern Ecuador. The city is also the seat of the county Morona. Known as the "Emerald of the East" due to its location east of the Andes mountains, Macas lies in the Upano Valley overlooking the Upano river. The city has a population of 14,054 inhabitants and along with Tena and Puyo serves as one of Ecuador's main staging points for the colonization of the Amazon and the subjugation of its indigenous peoples. Beginning in the 1960s indigenous people have organized poliical federationa and movements, and often locate the seats of their organizations in such cities and use them as central places for regional congresses. Macas has also been promoting tourism.
The city is an important agricultural and livestock raising center as well as a transportation hub for small jungle communities to the east. Types of agricultural products found here include yuca, sugarcane, papaya, coffee, and bananas. In recent years, Macas also developed a small tourism industry based around jungle trekking, trips to indigenous communities, and extreme sports like rafting. Macas is linked by road to Puyoin the north and Riobamba to the west.