Just 5 minutes outside the city, on the Via a la Costa, is Cerro Blanco. The park is a privately run (by an NGO) outfit.
For just a few dollars, you will have a guided tour through any of three trails - chosen according to how much time you want to be out there. The park is lush, steamy, and very green. There are countless birds - some that only exist in Guayaquil - and oftentimes monkeys and lizards.
Bring your bug spray - this is the buggiest park on the planet!! Also, tip your guides well - they are working very hard for the money, and most are students (and what student couldn't use the money?)
About 40 minutes outside the city, on the Via a la Costa, is Finca Gloria. On certain days it is possible to go on long horseback riding trips through the surrounding villages - an incredible way to see the Ecuadorian plains.
If you stay the night in one of their cabins, you can take a midnight treck on horseback, crossing rivers and streams so deep you must lift your legs, to a village where you tie up your horses and enjoy some Ecuadorian beer.
Call to make sure that this service is going on when you visit.
Habitat for humanity, as of last year, is active in Guayaquil and is often looking for volunteers to help build houses. If you are interested, this is a unique way to see a side of the city most tourists certainly will not! You will also be doing a very nice thing for a family that needs all the help they can get.
This is one of the top ten things to visit in Guayaquil
It lies around a hill on the northern side Guayaquil, Ecuador which is topped by a huge statue of Christ. This is the National Cemetery, more picturesquely known as El Ciudad Blanca, "The White City" and it has gardens of elaborate marble sculptures and mausoleums, an imposing 20th century necropolis in ancient Greco-Roman style, and the new Religious Art Museum of Nahim Isaias Barquet in addition to hundreds of less grandiose graves of ordinary people in stacked mausoleums
The name of the Parque Historico Guayaquil is somewhat misleading although the basis of the park is a couple of plantation houses which date back to the 1600s. This is of interest because most of the old buildings in the city itself have been destroyed by fire and/or earthquakes.
But I didn't see the historic building part which is called "Traditions Zone" and the "urban-architectonic zone" where there are original houses such as were destroyed in Guayaquil in the past by a series of earthquakes in the past century. There is music, typical food, and people dressed up with antique clothes. I did not see this because it was too hot. So I went back to the bus. These are Bob's pictures.
The entrance fee is $3 for adults, $1.50 for children and 50 cents for the third age. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9h00 to 17h00. There is a frequent bus service (every two hours) to the park on Sundays and holidays at Malecón 2000 starting at 10 am for about US$ 0,25.
Manglares Churute is a mangrove park about 30 minutes outside of Guayaquil. A visit to this park will leave you muddy, bug-bitten, and sweaty, by you just might get the chance to see the elusive pink dolphins.
The park is on the Via a Machala, on the left side of the road. There are signs, but look closely. There is a ranger station there, but to visit the mangroves you will have to set up a visit the day before because there is no formal system for taking out tourists. In fact, they just have a fisherman take you out instead of their nets.
The tour begins with a bumpy 25 minute ride through some of the most basic roads - but you will travel through beautiful villages and see day-to-day life going on all around you.
After a 500 meter walk through thick mud (wear boots) you arrive at the river, where the canoe picks you up for a few hours on the river.
This trip is not for the faint of heart - difficult access, uncomfortable seats, bugs, and the lot, but worth it if you have a good sense of adventure.
Part of the historic park was something like a zoo which was, I think, mostly rescued animals. All the signs were in Spanish so I couldn't be too sure about that, and I did not go with the guide.
We got off the bus and Bob went with the guide, but I was moving more slowly. It was hot. There was a lady with me who was using one of those walking frames. We got about halfway down the boardwalk (we saw parrots, macaws, deer (several kinds) turkeys, ducks, peccaries (including some baby ones), a snapping turtle, and a kind of raccoon looking animal. By the time the other lady and I got half way, we had had it. She turned around and went back. I went
through an emergency exit and back to the bus. Bob who was ahead of me saw a tapir, alligator, crocodiles, monkeys a sloth and various large cats
- Wear light clothes for warm weather, comfortable walking shoes, hat or cap, insect repellent.
- Do not use perfume or scented creams that attract the insects.
- The average temperature during the day is: 22 ° to 32 ° C / 70 ° to 90 ° F.
As tiring as job can be, it takes just a little glance outside the window (from the nicest building of Guayaquil ;) ) to refresh the spirit :)
The hills at the bottom are "Cerro Santa Ana" and "Cerro del Carmen", the best strategic places to have a complete view of the city.
If you ever happen to be at "Samanes" neighbourhood (there aren´t many reasons why but anyway :) ), take a look at the little tiny remaining of a forest (some would say it's only a park but I disagree :) ) at the top of a hill with a nice view of surroundings and a sample of local dry tropical trees. Very tall-greeny ceibos!
On the coast thousands of acres are set aside with shallow, man made lakes for shrimo farming.
Shrimping is the largest private sector business in the country. There is alot of money in this business, but there is major damage done to the ecosystem of the coast.
My uncle land cousins live in the Sanborondon neighborhood right outside of Guayaquil. There are many rice fields in this area. I didnt know what they were, I just thought they were vacant fields until my cousin told me what they were.
I still dont know where the rice is??? under the ground?
If you happen to be around -not only the city but the country in general- during late december, you will witness one of the most particular local customs: "años viejos". They are dummies originally meant to represent every bad thing happened during the year and therefore burnt at New Year's eve. But nowadays the art of ellaborating these have perfectionated and evolved to represent characters from local politics or show-business. Among the places to watch the best samples is this one, in Alborada neighborhood, Jose Maria Egas street, close to Pacifictel building.
When you move, there is a big challenge on finding out what are surroundings like! Well, fortunately I found another green spot, perfect to walk, jog, play badmington and even try some iguana-watching, though these fellows seem less friendly than their peers at the famous park. Aaaaah, and at the bottom there is this kindergarden which uses the park to let children run and perform some interesting plays (free of charge for walkers)
Alamos park is another refreshing green spot in the middle of all that building-jungle
Unfortunately, I did not ahve enough time to get out of Guyaquil and go to the beaches, but there are several good surf sports, and from what I have been told, Salinas is fun place to hang out on the beach.
Guayaquil... Lima... Same story, same fight...
Big cities, no charm (though the Malecon 2000 is beautiful... but still not charming !) crowded streets, buidings and everything else you may have in the biggest city of your country... So why do you want to stay here ???
Guayaquil, Lima, meme combat. Grosses villes sans charme (bien que le Malecon 2000 soit beau, il reste sans charme !), plein de gens, rue bondees, traffics et gros buildings. Bref, allez dans la plus grosse ville de votre pays, et ce sera pareil... Alors pourquoi venir ici ?