Guayaquil Malecon 2000

Guayas River water hyacinths

Most mornings, I take a brisk walk along the Malecon 2000. This lovely riverfront promenade, flanking the western side of the Guayas River, is the crown jewel of Guayaquil. It begins at the Crystal Palace, the former southern Guayaquil marketplace turned exhibit hall, and ends up at the MAAC (Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporáneo), located at the foot of the northern hillside neighborhood of Las Peñas. This recent waterfront restoration project transformed what was once one of the seediest areas of Guayaquil into the safest outdoor public area in the city. On any given day joggers, couples, friends and families enjoy the calm, relaxing riverside environment bordering the busy downtown area.

Water hyacinth foliage

Certain times of the year, tiny islands of water hyacinths float up or down the river, depending on the tide. As you walk along the promenade, there are numerous gardens with lush tropical plants and brightly colored flowers shaded by majestic trees. During the rainy season (January-May) the tree canopies offer a dry place to wait as the occasional downpour passes overhead.

red cannaDeli juice cart orange and yellow canna

On weekends, the malecón, which means sea front promenade, is bustling with families walking, sitting, playing and exercising. There is a fitness circuit, a playground and a variety of open areas, where tai chi regulars meet. Vendors sell water, juices and soda from their brightly colored carts, while young ladies stand inside the big round red and white Pinguino stands selling ice cream. There is an outdoor food court at the southern end of the malecón and an indoor one at the northern end. The typical international and national fast food chains are represented, including the nicest McDonald’s I have ever seen. Actually, it looks more like a bistro with its sleek contemporary wood and metal tables and chairs and large glass windows overlooking the river.

Guayas Learning Ship

The Guayas Ship School (Buque Escuela “Guayas“) is docked at the Navy Yacht Club on the malecón . Guayas is the name of the province where Guayaquil is located. Built in 1977, in Bilbao, Spain, the “Guayas” sailboat acts as the Ecuadorian Navy’s world ambassador, having visited 60 ports in 25 countries and traveled the equivalent of 16 times around the world (340,000 nautical miles). The ship’s many voyages have often included outstanding students and foreign officials.

Little observer Guayas River rower Walking along the malecon

The Henry Morgan, also docked at the malecón, is a pirate ship replica that offers 50-minute tours up and down the Guayas River. This sailboat was built specifically as part of the Malecon 2000 project and was named after the infamous pirate, Captain Henry Morgan. Though Morgan never made it to Guayaquil, he represents the many pirates that plied the Ecuadorian waters throughout history.

Malecon sky
I grew up on an island connected to the mainland and another island by three bridges. One bridge, in particular, always had workers suspended from it, painting and doing maintenance. We called them the bridge people. Here, there are the malecón people. There is a reason why the esplanade is immaculate and the gardens always lush and beautiful.

Everyday, the maintenance workers are fixing, staining or sanding the wooden planks and railings, sweeping up any litter, emptying the trash bins, power washing the brick and stone and feeding and watering the plants. There are even recycling stations with clearly marked barrels and interpretive posters explaining the benefits of recycling.

Palacio de Cristal

Designed by French engineer/architect Gustave Eiffel and constructed in 1907, the Crystal Palace was once known as Guayaquil’s busy southern marketplace where vendors sold vegetables, fruit and fish, among other things. Today, it is used for expositions, flower shows and a variety of public or private events. Early mornings, usually Saturdays or Sundays, the workers are seen cleaning up from the previous night’s festivities.

rose petals
The lovely state of the art MAAC (Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporáneo) has an ongoing detailed exhibit of the rich Pre-Colombian coastal Ecuadorian history. Another exhibit hall presents varied works of Ecuadorian artists and the MAAC theater regularly shows films and documentaries.
MAACMAAC fountain
The Fundacion Malecon 2000 was established in 1997 to oversee the development and maintenance of the malecón. The Guayaquil waterfront revitalization project began in 1996 and was completed in October 2003 with the construction of the Teatro IMAX, located next to the MAAC on the northern end of the Malecon 2000.
Malecon 2000

8 responses to “Guayaquil Malecon 2000

  1. Another beautiful and thoughtful blog from Ecuador’s top photo journalist. If reading that is all I get done today, I will have had a productive day. Hope to meet you some day soon. Sincerely, Jilly

  2. will there be one more?

  3. necesito realizar una conferencia como para 200 personas y quisiera una cotizacion del palacio de cristal o uno de los locales que ustedes puedan albergar a 800 personas.
    Por la atención que den a la presente quedo de ustedes agradecida.

  4. gracias porfavor no se olvide de responder mi escrito es urgente o cumuniquese a mi oficina 042314686 la fecha es el 28 de Agosto del presente de 18h00 en adelante gracias.

  5. milenadesigndepths

    Estimada Tania

    Debes contactar il palacio de cristal directamente. Vivo en Suiza y no puedo ayutarle.



  6. Pingback: Layover In Guayaquil, Ecuador | LAYOVER GUIDE

  7. El Malecon 2000, uno de los lugares mas bonitos y limpios de Guayaquil.He paseado de punta a punta este lugar muchas veces.Me he llenado de su colorido, El Guayas, sus plantas, flores, y su gente.
    Ecuador, tierra muy amigable, y felicito a todos los ecuatorianos, porque he visto como cuidan su lugar.
    Un saludo de un peruano !

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