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Malec贸n 2000 Activity - City Plaza Guayaquil - Ecuador

The multi-million dollar Malec贸n 2000 project was begun by former Mayor Le贸n Febr茅s Cordero in the late 1990s and is an astonishing achievement. This 3km public space is by far the biggest attraction in the city for tourists. The cool breezes off the river and the watchful eye of security guards make the Malec贸n the most relaxing place to spend time in Guayaquil. The obvious starting point is La Plaza C铆vica at the end of 9 de Octubre. The highlight is La Rotonda, a statue depicting a famous meeting of South America鈥檚 two most prominent liberators, Jos茅 de San Mart铆n and Sim贸n Bol铆var. This semi-circular monument is spectacular at night. South of La Rotonda are towers dedicated to the four elements, the Guayaquil Yacht Club and the Moorish Clock Tower, constructed in 1931. Just down from the clock tower is the Henry Morgan, a replica of a seventeenth-century pirate ship. A one-hour trip on the river costs $5 (afternoons and evenings only, late-night trips at weekends). South of this is the shopping area. It's bland and mainly sells modern items rather artisan wares but it's a good place to escape the heat. On the other side is an outdoor food court with countless cheap restaurants serving fast food and traditional Ecuadorian specialities, notably seafood. Further south is the quietest part of Malec贸n at Plaza Olmedo, named after the city's first mayor and beyond that a small artisans' market.

North of La Rotonda is a large children鈥檚 play area leading to a beautifully laid out set of botanical gardens with more than three hundred species of plants and trees. This is one of the highlights of Malec贸n so it鈥檚 worth getting lost in the greenery and stopping for a drink at Aroma Caf茅. Above the gardens are 32 transparent panels with the names of more than 48,000 citizens who contributed to the Malec贸n project. North of the botanical gardens is the new Museo Guayaquil en La Historia (open 10am鈥6.30pm daily; $2.50), which packs a history of the city from pre-historic times to the present into 14 dioramas. Above the museum is one of South America' only IMAX cinemas with a 180-degree screen. It's a unique but somewhat disorientating experience.

At the far north end of Malec贸n, just below Las Pe帽as, is the impressive Museo Antropol贸gico y de Arte Contempor谩neo (MAAC) (04-230-9383 Tues鈥揝un 9am鈥5pm. Free entrance), which has an exhibition on ancient history and a huge collection of pre-Columbian ceramics as well as modern art. If you're not visiting the mountains but want to stock up on handicrafts and indigenous clothes, head a couple of blocks in from the north end of Malec贸n along Calle Loja to the huge, enclosed Mercado Artesanal. Prices are higher than in the Sierra so haggle away.

Further information about Malec贸n can be obtained from the Fundaci贸n Malec贸n鈥檚 office in Sargento Vargas 116 and Av. Olmedo.


Sargento Vargas 116 and Av. Olmedo

Guayaquil, Ecuador

City Plaza

Relative price: Budget

Travel Skills: None

Contact Information:
Phone: 593-4-252-4530 / 4211

21 Feb 2013

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