Culture Shock! Ecuador: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! Guides)

Top Ten Places to Visit Guayaquil Ecuador

1. Malecon 2000 - Clearly the major renovation of the Malecon sitting on the Guayas River has helped bring Guayaquil from virtual obscurity to a world class city. The Malecon runs about 1.5 miles and is steeped in history as a major port throughout several centuries. Dotted with monuments, entertainment, and food. However, the McDonalds stands out like a sore thumb and takes away from some of the uniqueness of the reconstruction of this incredible venue. There are two unique attractions both popular with Ecuadorians and visitors. The pirate ship that leaves the dock on the Malecon is a very fun time for all with food and drinks. Admission for adults is $5.00. It provides a wonderful view of the city and evenings are very dramatic. There is also a party or dance boat on the Malecon which runs up and down the river with music blaring and all having a good time. 

The Hemicicio de la Rotanda is a historical monument on the Malecon is an outstanding piece of art of which all Ecuadorians are proud of. There is a statue of Simon Bolivar and San Martin meeting and deciding that Guayaquil would be annexed into Gran-Colombia. Constructed in 1937.

 La Rotonda, en el Malecón 2000 de Guayaquil.

Also on the Malecon is a wonderful Moorish clock. It was originally placed at the city hall and then moved to the Malecon in 1903. It was later found to be structurally unsound and was demolished and reconstructed. It has been reported that a local scam artist sold the tower to unsuspecting foreigners a few years ago and took them for thousands of dollars. The story goes that they discovered they had been duped when police told them they had to leave the premises and the told officers they didn't have to leave because they had purchased the elegant tower.  

2. Las Penas - First constructed in the 1500's this was Guayaquil's first residential section. Totally destroyed in a fire in 1896 it was rebuilt in a neoclassic style. It provides a wonderful walk on cobblestone among art galleries and restaurants. At the end of the street is an excellent casual restaurant and club calle "Arthur's Place. Also, the old beer factory at the end of this street has been turned into a museum.

 

3. Santa Ana Hill - Adjacent to La Penas is an outstanding example of redevelopment. This neighborhood ten years ago was very dangerous and was reminiscent of the Casbah in the movie Algiers. No outsider would enter the area to visit the church on top of the hill knowing whether they would leave alive or dead. However, development funds have turned this area into a major tourist destination. Outstanding bars, restaurants, and galleries adorn the streets. Security is very tight. The walk is strenuous up the hill but well worth the visit and view.  

 

4. General Cemetery - Once in outstanding condition of white marble this cemetery is well worth a visit. Outstanding sculptures and landscape. 

5. Cathederal - Constructed in 1948 in Neo-Gothic style, it is clearly a focal point in Guayaquil for the Catholic mainstay. Located at Chimborazo and Clemente Ballen. Open everyday. 

6. MAAC - Anthropological and Contemporary Art Museum was inaugurated  in 2004. It holds an impressive 50,000 archeological pieces and modern art. It is located next to the only IMAX theater in South America on the Malecon. Admission is $1.50. Free on Sundays.

7. Botanical Garden - A remarkable garden open to the public700 plant species. Showcased are over 80 varieties of orchids in amazing colors. Located  in the Cuidadela Las Orquideas at Av. Francisco de Orellana. Open daily from 8:00 until 6:00pm. $3.00 admission fee- Student discount offered. Best to take a taxi to this location. Also, use insect repellent. 

 

8. Historic Park - . Located in Samborondon #3, this twenty-acre park has three themes. Theme 1, one can view the habitat that once encompassed all of the Guayaquil area.  Theme 2, you can view the cultural history of Guayaquil and the coast. Theme 3 provides you the essence of Guayaquil's architecture through the past to the present. On the weekends there are numerous musical and cultural activities. Nominal entrance fee. 

9. Nahim Isaias Museum - Holds an outstanding collection of colonial art on two floors. Located at Pichincha y Clemente Ballan.

10. Puerto Hondo Mangroves - Much of the beautiful mangroves of Ecuador have been destroyed for commercial development. A non-profit ecological club has managed to save some remaining mangroves at km 17 on the highway to beach city of Salinas. Open everyday from 9:00 until 4:00pm visitors can take a boat ride through the mangroves and visit the environmental center. Prices from $8.00 to $12.00. Insect repellent recommended.

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