Guayaquil is Ecuador's largest seaport and biggest city, with population around 3,5 million (metro over 5 million). The port is located on Guayas River's western bank. At Gulf of Guayaquil, the river flows into the Pacific Ocean.
Guayaquil is Guayas province's capital and was founded twice by Spanish conquistadors - in 1535 (by Sebastian de Benalcazar) and in 1537 (by Francisco de Orellana). Among current'day city's best-known attractions is the Malecon 2000 - a tree-lined waterfront complex with gardens, outdoor playgrounds, restaurants, shops, fountains, museum, photo- and art galleries. Nearby are also located Club de la Union, Moorish clock tower, Government Palace. The old district Las Penas is a reminder of town's colonial times - featuring narrow, cobbled streets, brightly painted wooden houses, a 16th-century church.
In Parque Centenario is the monument commemorating the Guayaquil Conference of 1822 - between South American statesmen Jose de San Martín and Simón Bolívar. The Ecological Reserve of Manglares Churute and Cerro Blanco Forest Reserve are outside the city. Visitors can take canoes into the mangroves there to watch wildlife. From Guayaquil, cruise passengers can also visit Ecuador's capital Quito City.
At Puerto Guayaquil, boxships are handled at a dedicated terminal managed by CGSA (Contecon Guayaquil SA - a subsidiary of ICTSI (International Container Terminal Services Inc - Manila Philipines-based multinational). CGSA is country's top port serving the shipping trade with bananas, cocoa, wood, shrimp, fish, raw materials, general merchandise. Nearly 85% of Ecuador’s imports/exports pass through Port Guayaquil.
In October 2018, Jan De Nul Group (Luxembourg-based company specializing in dredging and offshore projects) was awarded a 25-year concession contract (until 2043) for deepening and maintenance dredging of Port Guayaquil's access channel (length 95 km / 60 mi). After completion, the project will allow even world's largest boxships to access Guayaquil Port Terminals - among South America's newest and largest cargo handling facilities.
The works include deepening the waterway from 9,8 to 12,5 m (33 to 41 ft) as max draught/depth at high tide. The contractor will use three hopper dredgers (trailing suction ships) and one CSD (cutter suction dredger). The project also includes removing the "Los Goles" rock (in channel's offshore section), installing of latest-technology systems (vessel traffic control, toll collection), dredging "Canal Fluvial" (on Rio Guayas).
Channel's deepening was completed in 9 months (in late-January 2020). Jan De Nul's fleet of 4 dredgers removed ~25 million m3 of sediments plus the Los Goles rock formation. The first boxship that navigated the deepened waterway was APL Esplanade (Neo-Panamax class container carrier with capacity 14000 TEUs).
Guayaquil cruise terminal
After berthing at the Guayaquil port, cruise ships provide complimentary transportation (via the ship's tender boats) to Malecon 2000. This is a boardwalk (waterfront promenade section / the old Simon Bolívar boardwalk) that overlooks Guayas River.
This popular area is divided into 3 parts:
- The northern section includes grand plazas, fountains, outdoor kids playground areas for aerobics and games, Planetarium, anthropological Museum, Contemporary Art Museum, IMAX movie theater).
- The central section includes the historic Civic Plaza (Moorish Clock Tower, Rotonda Monument), also Guayaquil Yacht Club and Naval Yacht Club.
- The southern section has the Bahía Malecon Shopping Center (shopping, entertainment and dining complex).
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