The Museum of Bahia de Caraquez is considered to have the best collection of ancient artifacts in Ecuador. It was dedicated by the Central Bank of Ecuador to educate the people or Ecuador and visitors about the cultural history of the region. You will learn about the Las Vegas culture, who lived here from approximately 8,000 to 3,500 B.C. The Valdivia Culture who were inhabitants from about 3,500 to 300 BC. Followed by the Bahia culture, and onward to the present. There are exquisite pottery displays. You will also see a replica of the balsa wood rafts that were used to travel the seas. The name Bahia de Caraquez, comes from the Spanish translation of the Bay of the Caracas people, who were the people living here when the Spaniards arrived.
There are examples of the spondylus shells that were used to trade for items that were brought by people from the other regions of Ecuador and Peru. According to the museum guide book, Bahia De Caraquez Museum, Origins: Caras, Jamas and Coaques, Archaeology of the Ecuadorian Coast by Mariella Garcia Caputi, Cesar I. Veintimilla B. and Irina Xomchuk, “the spondylus shell is considered to be the first currency used in the New World, and it was valued by pre-Hispanic societies as a sacred or ceremonial symbol.”
The Bahia de Caraquez Museum is located on the Malecon at Aguilera. It is open 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily. There is an English speaking guide, but he isn’t there everyday.
The video posted below was produced by Ecuador a Tu Alcance, an independent production company who makes tourism videos promoting Ecuador. You can visit their website at Ecuador a Tu Alcance to see more videos about other areas in Ecuador. This video gives you a brief tour of Bahia de Caraquez and a tour inside the Cultural History Museum of Bahia de Caraquez. The narration is in Spanish, but it is pretty easy to appreciate what you can see.