“ Address: Antono JF De Sucre Antonio / Guayaquil / Ecuador „
The Malecón 2000 Guayaquil
We only spent one night in Guayaquil on our way from the Galapagos islands down to Santiago in Chile. We had read about the Malecón and thought that we would make that our evening walk, then enjoy a meal and have an early night before our flight the next day. One of the other couples from our Galapagos cruise were in Guayaquil at the same hotel so we joined up with them and went exploring.
The Malecón 2000 is the name given to the riverside board walk or promenade which was given a major facelift for the year 2000. The Malecón goes for quite some distance around two and a half kilometres I believe along the side of the Guayas River. It follows the path of the original Simon Bolivar board walk but has been given a major facelift.
I wasn't really expecting much from Guayaquil because my husband had spent some time there about thirty years ago and kept telling me it was a dump. I was pleasantly surprised by the truly beautiful buildings and loved the Malecón as it was a really lovely way to enjoy a pleasant walk and be able to people watch while so doing.
The Malecón is where the residents of Guayaquil go in the evening for their constitutional. You see entire families all dressed up walking there. All kinds of groups of youngsters, elderly and everyone in between. Some just sitting enjoying watching others while some more energetic were jogging with a purpose. For those who wanted a bit more exercise there was an area with a sort of green 'carpet' with equipment for aerobics and other outdoors exercises .
The first place of interest was a huge rotunda with a number of busts and statues. Of course all the signs were in Spanish so we had to try and work out what they said. I believe this was a monument to remember those who liberated Ecuador from the Spanish but I wouldn't like to be certain. One of the busts was certainly Simón Bolívar.
My favourite was the Moorish tower which is exactly that a sort of north African looking clock tower which was beautifully decorated and looked like something that belonged in Morocco rather than Ecuador. The clock was apparently bought in England by a rich Spanish merchant and the tower built to show it off I guess. It was very nice but totally our of place there.
Apart from monuments there are lots of cafés and restaurants as well as areas for sitting and relaxing or for children to play. There was one part with an old railway carriage on the original rails, it didn't go anywhere but was painted up as it was in its glory days. As well as the carriage there is a part of a station which gives access to a sort of exhibition area . This was a lovely shaded area as they had kept many of the original large trees. It seemed a pretty popular place for the elderly to sit and watch others going by.
Another rather surprising find was the gardens which were a sort of green oasis of calm and beauty . The plants were tropical and colourful and so green. A number of pathways led through so that you could explore and enjoy the gardens . Some walkways are raised wooden walks and as you wander around the park gardens you can enjoy watching the gurgling streams, watch duck and other birds on the lagoon and its island. There are fountains and bridges, ramps as well as small squares with seats, miradors, gazebos, little jetties and pergolas with gorgeous climbing plants.
On our walk we passed the Yacht Club and several rather well dressed folk entering for some function. In our rather grubby ex sailing attire we didn't feel we could join them. We did spend some time watching a sailing yacht going up the river but we decided it was a tourist thing that you could pay to sail on and enjoy a meal at great expense but it was a lovely looking vessel.
I was rather taken with a small lake area on which they had these huge balls. In side each ball was a child and as they walked or crawled the ball moved around the lake. It was a bit like those large balls that people roll down hills in. We watched as, the child got into the ball through a large zipper and then they inflated it with a pump till it was ball like and then they were off. I thought it looked good fun but was not sure how health and safety would react in the UK.
We spent about two hours walking first one direction and then the other. We covered most of the Malecón stopping to look at different things either on the river or watch people doing different activities. We did think of eating here but most places were either up market or the fast food type of place and neither we felt were quite what we wanted.
I was very impressed with the Malecón, I thought it was a lovely easy walk, everywhere was clean, there was lots to see and a variety of activities for all ages. It was a bit like walking along a seafront except that it was the Guayas River. That was clean too and although Guayaquil is a pretty large city and busy port which you could see up river and across the river but is was a very pleasant outlook for an evening stroll.
Guayaquil is Ecuador's largest city and busiest port with a population of around 3.7 million yet it seemed really clean and safe. Obviously you take sensible precautions and don't carry unnecessary valuables while walking around . Everyone we passed was smiling and friendly and when walking around the town the shops were open, the cafés and restaurants were busy and everyone looked well dressed. It might have been different later on at night but for a Saturday evening the place was buzzing yet ordered and pleasant to walk around.
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