444 steps sounds like alot, and it probably would be if you wanted to walk them all at once. It is a good thing for this 56 year old body that there are several places on the way up to have a snack or a cool drink. There are also some shops and good places for pictures.
This park, located in the Centro, is something you really do need to see if you come to the city. Iguanas have bred and bred to the point where they have comepletely taken over a park in front of the city cathedral, and are more of a tourist draw than the cathedral itself.
Bring some bananas if you really want to see a stampede. Don't worry about petting the iguanas, they don't care - just don't stand under the trees for too long unless you have an umbrella!!
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.
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.
Did you ever imagine to be in the middle of a bunch of hungry dinosaur-descendants?
That's possible in Guayaquil and I tell you, it is really a spectacular show, though fortunately for we humans, they prefer cabbages and lettuces,
Go to Iguanas Park at lunch-time and enjoy the show (but take care where you stand, some of them rush and might fall on you) :)
Guayaquil has a new malecon, west of the Malecon 2000, on the Salado estuary. From the south end of this malecon you can take a 45 minute boat tour through the estuary for $3. The tour operates on Saturdays and Sundays only, and leaves every hour on the hour from about 10 to 6.
In general, you go through a very poor part of the city along the estuary, where the houses are falling into the water. However, you can see the Barcelona futbol stadium and a cement factory!
At the top of Las Penas is the Fort. This was an ideal spot for the lookouts and defense positions in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now there is a light house behind where the cannons are positioned. It looks good at night but they say it is of no navigational value.
The Guayaquil riverfront area, once a dirty dangerous place, has recently been renovated and is the number one attaction in the city.
At all hours of the day and late into the night, tourists can stroll the full 2km of its length, enjoying the gardens, buildings, river, restaurants, shops, and museums, without any worry of being harrassed or robbed!
If you have just one day to spend in Guayaquil, save at least 2 hours for the Malecon 2000.
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.
There is many thing to do in Guayaqui, cruise the Guaya River night or day, Museum and Central Park, Las Penas, El Parque Historico de Guayaquil(lots of exotic animal and fauna) and around Guayaquil Also.
I think Guayaquil is a great city to start you journey in Ecuador. You are only 1 hour to the closest beach, 4 hour to Cuenca, 5 hour to Banos, and 1 hour to Galapagos Islands
Malecon 2000 lies between the city an the Guayas River. There are cafe style restaurants, fast food stalls, many outdoor vendors. Plus there is an indoor shopping mall, "Centro Comerical Malecon". You can "cool off" for a bit from the humidity and find just about anything you want in the many stores located there.
Without a doubt Guayaquil is Ecuador's best destination, when I've got there I did not have any expectation on my mind, but as soon as I started to discover this summery city right on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador I was starting to enjoy myself.
Guayaquil is not only the largest Ecuadorean city but also is the finantial capital of the Ecuadorean economy, here many millions of US dollar move their economy based on the Banana's largest world exporter and the Shrimp exportation plus many Ecuadorean Industries are home of Guayaquil's business district, the main tourist attraction for Guayaquil is the investment of over 300 millions US dollar in a brand new harbor along the Guayas River.
This brand new pier has been opened since 2000, when they opened their first section, now the whole structure is wide open, more than 2 miles long of places to shop, eat and being discover is the Malecon 2000, this architectonical design built by the Oxford University of London is a great tourist attraction of the entire population, Guayaquil's pride is based on the New Renovated Guayaquil, the entire city had been going to a renovated process that took more than Ten Years to built.
Guayaquil is well known for being the "Pacific Pearl" due to its natural beauty and marvelous surroundings. The New Guayaquil as the locals call them is becoming the TOP 10 Latinamerican destination and is expected to reach the Top 5 destinations in a few years. On top of that Guayaquil is the New Gateway to the Galapagos Islands, from there anyone can conect very easily to the Islands, without any stops on the way or lay over, due to Geographical reasons Guayaquil is the gateway closer destination to the Galapagos Islands, and also from here you can conect very easily to most US and European destination because Guayaquil offers a 24 hours International Airport with brand new technology, Guayaquil's tourist potential is expected to be increase in 47% for the next two years and is becoming a well known latinamerican tourist destination.
A recommended activity, specially at night, is to go up "Cerro de Santa Ana" stairs, a path that will lead you to the top of this hill from where you will find a beautiful view of the city.
Besides, on the way you will see several small bars, caffes, restaurants and souvenir shops installed in redisegned houses (you can see pictures of how old houses used to be hanging on facades). The path is safe, with guards every 20 m, but I'd advice you not to try to move farther away the marked path
Going at night might be better for many because you dont have to deal with ecuatorial sun, plus Gquil nights by the river side are always quite fresh. In any case, keep in mind that there are 444 steps from bottom to top. Good luck!
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.
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.