During my short visit in Guayaquil I made a walk in the north end of Malecon 2000. It is a 2.5km long promenade along the river Guayas. It used to be a run down and unsafe area, but a huge renewal project have instead made it into one of the safest and nicest places to visit in Guayaquil. I saw several security guards during my short walk.
People in Guayaquil come here to eat, stroll, relax and have fun. Along Malecon 2000 there are restaurants, playgrounds for children, museums, a shopping mall and IMAX movie theatre, a Botanical Garden, fountains, monuments and sculptures, and a river view.
Las Peñas neighbourhood is situated on Cerro Santa Anna. This is where Guayaquil was founded in the middle of the 16th century. Being the oldest neighbourhood in Guayaquil this is where you can find houses built in a colonial architecture. However, there has been many fires destroying large part of the neighbourhood, especially in the 1896. Las Peñas was declared a Cultural Heritage in 1982.
When I visited Las Peñas I started with climbing all the 444 steps (or is it 465 steps) to the top of the hill. The houses along the way are painted in different and bright colours. There are art galleries, cafés, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and residential houses. At the top there is a light-house and a chapel. Both the lighthouse and the chapel was built in 2002. You can climb up the lighthouse to get even better views over Guayaquil.
Coming down the stairs from Cerro Santa Ana I took a walk along the cobbled street Numa Pompillo Llona, a street named after an Ecuadorian poet. This is also a pretty street with colourful houses, art galleries and restaurants.
Good idea... considering the actual inclination of truly travelers this is the best way to know the natural soul of its citizens, isn't it??
Cerro Blanco... a natural reserve located near to Guayaquil which offers the oportunity to know how was Guayaquil originally.
The Cerro Blanco Protector Forest.
The nearest place to visit, (route to Salinas city beach), which has almost 6000 acres and small hills of over 800 metres over the sea level where you can find different species of animals like “migalas” (big black spiders), eagles, falcons, raccoons, stags and others. Also you'll find a vegetal extensive area where you see the famous “ceibos” well known better because of its particular attitude to throw its leaves to protect itself of the intensive sun and drought. There are over 100 species of plants and trees, 211 of birds, 30 kinds of birds of prey and 33 mammal kinds.
Its symbol is the “Papagayo de Guayaquil” (parrot of Guayaquil) an endemic colorful specie of bird who lives only in the city zone and is on extinction way.
You will find a camping and picnic area, an amphitheatre and also the rescue wild life center to observe the parrot of Guayaquil, monkeys, long-tailed monkeys and others. There is a little integral farm with an organic garden produce, medicinal plants, bee honey and other products to sell.
You will be guide by a special guide of the forest. There are three paths options differentiated by distance and time. My recommendation is to cross the “Buena vista largo” path. (Large nice sight). It will take 5 hours of an interesting hike. Be sure to have comfortable shoes and fresh ecuadorian water.
In and around Guayaquil, you can visit so different kinds of sites like museums, churches, ecological areas, shopping malls, handicraft markets, tourist areas and any place you prefer to visit at any trip you do.
Guayaquil has a colorful new welcoming face to tourists from any part of the world and that’s the principal reason to have lot of under construction streets at the downtown principally, but please do not take that reason to feel uncomfortable with our hostelling wherever you are.
Between the sites I recommend to go at the downtown are the Malecon 2000 from the glass box to the MAAC (Museo Antropologico y de Arte Contemporaneo), the colorful Santa Ana Hill and its big headlight and the catholic chapel at top, the “9 de Octubre” Av, the Cathedral and its Iguana Park (Seminario Park), the San Francisco Church, the handicraft market and the Centenario Park with its historical independence column but please do not forget to go to the Guayaquil City Museum where you will find all about the history of this special place guided by very high qualified tourism students guys.
About shopping malls I recommend the “Mall del Sol”, the Policentro and the San Marino newest mall in front of the Policentro everyone located at the north of the city. (The Malecon 2000 has also a little Shopping mall in downtown).
About ecological areas, I prefer to go to the Cerro Blanco Forest Area, the Churute Mangroves National Reserve, the Puerto Hondo Mangroves Protected Area, the Botanical Garden and finally the Andrade Foundation Protected Area near to Churute at almost 46 km from the City in a very good state road way to Machala city.
If you want to know something more specific about Guayaquil, you have to go to the Historical Park located in front of the City at the road way to Samborondon. For more information about this site please visit: www.parquehistorico.com
If I can assist you in any way please feel free to contact me.
Guayaquil is definitely not the most beautiful city on earth. You can probably see most of the major attractions in a couple of days. The climate is mostly sticky and humid from December-May, and then slightly cooler through to Autumn. I recommend the following if you're going to be spending a few days there:
1. Cerro de Santa Ana
2. El Malecón 2000
3. Parque Histórico
4. Las Rocas
5. Boat trip on Henry Morgan
And that's about it, folks. Other than the immediate centre, there isn't much else to see or do.
I had no safety issues while there this summer, but then again I didn't go out much after dark or visit dodgy-looking areas. Just use common sense and keep your wits about you. I didn't find it to be any more intimidating or dangerous than most large cities.
To the locals and all who visit this square block it is Iguana Park for the iguanas which infest it. The real name though is Seminario Park also known as Parque Bolivar and it has a large number of iguanas measuring around 4 to 5 feet. They look down surveying the land for hand outs of food or leftovers from the park visitor or walk leisurely on the ground. There must be a hundred of them
climbing around in the trees. I just took pictures from inside the bus - I got at least 15 good ones of the iguanas and a really good one of the statue too as the bus drove around the square. The warning 'Don't Feed the Animals' is often ignored by the tourists. They won't go hungry. Park workers feed them daily with chopped lettuce and fruit.
These are not the same as the marine variety of Galapagos. The Green Iguana Iguana iguana is native to parts of Central America and coastal tropical South America and can reach 2 m in length, including the tail. The University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology explains that colour and markings vary with age, gender, social dominance and environmental conditions. Colour becomes more uniform and duller with age and a range from bright green babies to variously striped and blotched older lizards can be observed in the park.
Under the throat is a hanging flap of skin called a dewlap and a crest of spines runs from the head along the back. Males, in particular, extend the crest in territorial defense.
We drove by this area on the way to the Historic Parque. It is one of the top things to see in Guayaquil. It is a major renovation of the Malecon (which I think is the name for the old port area on the Guayas River) and it runs about 1.5 miles. It is dotted with monuments, entertainment, and food. There are playgrounds for the children, workout areas for adults, ponds and an ice rink.
From the bus we saw 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. This was constructed in 1937.
Also on the Malecon is a wonderful Moorish clock which was originally at the city hall. It was moved to the Malecon in 1903, found to be structurally unsound, demolished and reconstructed. Visitors may ascend the tower via spiral staircases. This is the local Guayaquil equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge which is sold by local scam artists to unsuspecting foreigners. I got a photo, but it isn't the best one that it could be.
This was our first stop on the Guayaquil tour. I'm not sure whether this is actually a cathedral or is just a fancy looking church. It is opposite Seminario Park with the iguanas and the statue of Simon Bolivar. I wanted to take some photos of it by moving over to the other side of the bus, but Bob wouldn't let me out of my seat unless I would promise to get off the bus, and I decided I didn't want to do that. If this is the Metropolitan Cathedral, it was rebuilt in 1948 in Neo-Gothic style, on the original site after the original building burned down. So it is not as old as it looks.
It has an impressive Rose Window, and is on the list of the top ten things to see in Guayaquil
This nieghborhood was renovaded rather than demolished. On many of the little houses here that have been fixed up you will be about to see a picture of what they used to look like before. The difference is incredible. It actually looks like a very nice neighborhood now,
Here you will find the 440 stairs to climb to the top. Once at the top you will enjoy the beautiful views of the city. All this area has been remodeled so it looks nice, where once it might have been more of a shanty town. Now the houses are painted beautiful colors and they look so appealling. It has somewhat of a colonial feel to it. On our way up we stopped a few times because it was so hot and humid that I really felt like I was getting a work out. Not only that but I had to carry Koa and I was sunburned.
There are little stores along the way up where you can buy water or soda and there are clean public bathrooms.
The stairs are also numbered so you can know how many more you have to go.
On top of Santa Ana Hill you can get to the Lighthouse and the Chapel that is located there. The walk is not as tough as it may appear.
From here also you will be able to get some awesome views of the city. There is security everywhere so you will feel safe.
The Rotonda can be found at the end of the street 9 de Octubre. La Rotonda is a monument memorializing the two liberators Jse San Martin and Simon Bolivar in 1822. These two generals met here for the first time, shook hands, spoke, and never met again.
Jose San Martin was Argentine and Simon Bolivar was Venezuelan they were both interested in Liberating South American from Spain.
They say that no one recorded what they talked about but what they do know is that both generals had different ideas of what liberation meant and what happens next. Bolivar wanted a democratic president while Martin wanted a King. Martin soon left to Argentina and then to France while Bolivar took over the rest of the fight in liberating South America.
Not much to do in Guayaquil but if you are there for a stopover, like we were, make a visit to Parque Seminario, also known as Iguana Park. Its like stepping into prehistoric times with loads of wild iguanas everywhere. They aren't scared of humans and if you sit on a bench long enough, they will climb on you! The one shown here climbed up me then licked my face! A man had to rescue me!
An interesting place to visit during the Malecon 2000 long ride is the Art neighborhood. It includes a museum, art showrooms, a wide stage for live performances and the most original cinema of the city, simply because it doesnt play any commercial movie but documentals and artistic films. It's called MAAC Cine and they usually play different related movies on a row, as part of a motif festival. Very good visual and audio quality. And dont forget to check their schedule before you go, it is on main local newspapers like El Universo.
Right where Santa Ana hill meets Guayas river, the oldest neighborhood of the city is located. It has a single lonely street with interesting houses at both sides and currently is going through a process of restoration which helps it to become a center for caffes and art galleries, like Arthur's (I'll have to write a tip about it later... someday!).
This has been one of the most particularly historic romantic artistic spots of the city, so it's natural it has been the home of many local characters, and even foreign ones (they say Che Guevara stayed there on his journey through SouthAmerica).
Since it is next to the city's main attraction, Malecon 2000, a visit to Barrio Las Peñas well deserves a try! And if you happen to be around during July, there is an interesting art festival showing masterpieces of local artists.