Guayaquil

  • Altitude: 4 meters
  • Inhabitants: 2.291.000
  • Region: Coast

Guayaquil is Ecuador’s biggest city with around 2 million inhabitants.  As it is based near the sea it is Ecuador’s commercial center which makes it a vibrant city.  Since Guayaquil is located next to the river Guayas, it has a tropical and humid climate. Although Guayaquil is not primarily focused on tourism, there are still several options to enjoy your stay in Guayaquil.

Colonial area Las Peñas

With more than 400 years old, Las Peñas was the first neighborhood of Guayaquil, which took its name from the cliffs and limestone rocks that formed the Hill back then when the Spanish settled in the XV century. In 1982 the neighborhood was declared Cultural Heritage of Ecuador and between 2002 and 2008, the place was restored and regenerated by the Municipality of Guayaquil.

Cerro Santa Ana

To reach the top of this hill you need to walk 444 steps up. On the way you pass dozens of brightly painted homes, cafes, bars and souvenir shops. Once you´ve reached the top you will arrive to Fortín del Cerro (Fort of the Hill). It is also possible to climb the lighthouse for spectacular views of the city.

Malecón 2000

This boulevard of 2.5 km long is located along the river Guayas and is filled with playgrounds, gardens, ponds, restaurants, a museum, a shopping mall and an IMAX movie theater. At the northern end you can see the Rafael Mendoza Aviles Bridge, which is the biggest bridge in the country. El Malecón 2000 has become a popular tourist attraction and is perfect for a nice stroll, soaking up the spirit of the city.

Parque de las Iguanas

All over the downtown area of Guayaquil you can see land iguanas. If you want to see a lot of iguanas in one place, this park is the place to be. The park is officially called Parque Bolivar and here you can observe the iguanas walking around freely. On the west side of the park is a cathedral that you can visit.

Diego Noboa Staircases

The staircases are one of the favorite tourist destinations because it has symbolic places of the culture of Guayaquil, besides entertainment places.

It starts at the foot of the hill and end at the top. It is formed by 444 numbered stairs in which the tourists can find squares, roundabouts, museums, a chapel, a lighthouse, art galleries, craft shops, Internet coffee places, bars and restaurants.

Simón Bolívar Pier

This urban park, filled with nature, history, tradition and modern beauty is a touristic attraction that has a length of 2,5 kilometers (26 blocks). Visitors can find gardens, artificial lagoons, water fountains, viewpoints, docks, squares and historical monuments like The Rotunda Hemicycle, Moorish Tower, Aurora Gloriosa (Glorious Dawn) and the statue of Olmedo. Also, museums, movie theatres, shopping centers, restaurants, bars, food courts, playgrounds, a crafts market and all of the attractions, services and commodities that a tourist needs to enjoy a tour through the city. It also offers tours through the Guayas River in which the city can be seen from another geographic point, within an imposing natural environment of great beauty.

Parque Histórico

Parque historico was built it in 1997 on the banks of the Guayas River as a theme park of 8 hectares with educational, cultural, environmental, recreational and tourist purposes. It is aimed to exhibit the history and culture of the old province of Guayaquil that emerged at the end of the colonial times and the beginning of the republican life of the country between the XIX and XX centuries, which occupied almost all of the Ecuadorian coast including the existing provinces of Los Rios, El Oro and part of Manabí.

The site also recreates the architecture, traditions and the urban and rural life of the Guayaquil of those times, mixed with a beautiful natural park full of a diverse vegetation that form different natural and wildlife areas with their respective flora and fauna.

The visitors can get a taste of the geopolitical context of the old days; since the park recreates different habitats in which the people of the old province of Guayaquil used to develop their activities, such as the woods, the countryside and the city, which is closely related to the so called “Golden Age” of the main port of Ecuador, whose principal activity was the commercialization of cocoa.

Santay Island National Recreational Area

The visitor can access the Island by foot, by bicycle or by the river. The access for pedestrians and bicycles is through a bridge located in Guayaquil, in El Oro Street, next to the river.The tourists can take boats that are anchored in the docks of the Yacht Club of Guayaquil to access the Island by the river, which is located diagonal to the Municipal Palace (Palmeras de Santay Cooperative).The Island was not only recognized locally, regionally and nationally, but for its ecological characteristics and for the dedication of the population to the conservation, it was recognized internationally as a Ramsar place, award that highlights the importance of these ecosystems as fundamental for global conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The Island is home to 85 bird species, 12 reptiles like the boa and the iguana; mammals like the raccoon, the anteater bear and the bat. Catfish, sea bass, tilapias, which are used for consumption and sale, form the aquatic fauna. Species like the black mangrove; guachapeli and Saman trees (endemic species) can also be appreciated.

Guayaquil Historic Center

Go over Simon Bolivar Pier and enjoy:

  • Its big group of sculptures with a length of 2.5 km

  • You can do your shopping in the Malecon 2000 mall
  • Visit the craft market located in the south wing

  • Visit the renewed South Market (Cristal Palace)

  • The beautiful gardens and fountains

  • The exercises zone and the Safari Park for the kids.
While you are on the Simon Bolivar Pier you can do lots of activities:
  • Rides for the Guayas River on board of the Henry Morgan boat.

  • Rides for the Guayas river on fiber boats.

  • Travel the city in Guayaquil vision bus

  • Visit the museums located in the Simon bolivar pier

  • Miniature museum “Guayaquil in the history”

  • Anthropological museum and contemporary art (Maac)

  • Enjoy a movie or a documentary in the malecon cinema

Take a beautiful walk by the Pier of the Salado Estuary. While walking the pier you will be able to do several activities like:

  • Walk by The Rodolfo Baquerizo Square

  • Walk by the 5 de Junio bridge and have a panoramic of 9 de Octubre Boulevard

  • Walk by the Writers walk

  • Enjoy of Nautical Rides of Salado Estuary

Walk the Lineal Park:

A few meters from the Pier del Salado Estuary, is the lineal park with 21.000 square meters of construction and several resting areas, exercise, that goes from contemporary art and monuments on illustrious figures. If you are at the lineal park at night you cannot miss the Monumental Fountain of Dancing Waters show.

El Velero Bridge

A milestone in the urban aesthetics of Guayaquil, standing out as “The most beautiful bridge of the country”.

It has an architectural design of modern style that simulates the shape of a sailboat and the natural surroundings of the Salado Estuary. At night, it offers great splendor, when its sails of canvas and fiber optic cable system illuminate in blue.

Firefighters museum

There is an exhibition inside the museum that presents old water pumps, tools, uniforms and awards, besides valuable oil paintings and portraits of the Fire Department Commanders. Also, animal-drawn carts from the end of the XX century until the modern vehicles of today.

A water fountain from 1902 can be appreciated in the small square of the museum. Another attraction is a semicircle that houses the busts of the chiefs of the Fire Department.

Santa Ana Port

It Is a touristic building complex of 4 hectares formed by several office buildings, commercial shops, apartments, squares, museums and a pier that borders the Guayas river.

It is surrounded by a natural landscape since is located in front of the Guayas River; it has a modern architecture with a building constructed in the same place where the silos of the National Brewery used to be located, which maintains its original design. There is the Pilsener Square in which several artistic events take place and also the museums that pay tribute to Julio Jaramillo, the Beer industry and Barcelona Sporting Club.

Seminario Park

The existing park was built in the XIX century, in 1868, which had a huge eightpoint star, reason why the park was called Plaza de la Estrella (Star Square). In 1889, the equestrian monument to Simon Bolivar was built and the place was renamed as Plaza Bolivar (Bolivar Square). By then, philanthropist Manuel Seminario made an important donation to renovate the park that took the last name of the illustrious citizen.

Also known as Parque de las Iguanas (Iguana Park) for the large population of iguanas in the place, it has a natural charm because of the tress and artificial lagoon in which swim different colored fish.

Centenary Square

It was inaugurated in October 9 of 1920, as the pinnacle work of the celebration for the commemoration of the 100 years of Guayaquil’s independence.

The square, one of the largest of the city, has 8.875 square meters and follows the traditional architectural detailing of the Sacred Woods of Classic Greece.

It has several attractions in which statues of great value stand out, which are surrounded by beautiful gardens.

The monument called “The Column to National Heroes”, crafted by Spanish sculptor Agustin Querol is located in the center of the Square, which pays tribute to the heroes of the independence deed of October 9 of 1820 that marked the local emancipation.

There are different statues in every gate of the square, each one with great symbolic significance. The “Fountain of the Lions” is located at the southwest corner of the Square.

Zig Zag Bridge

The Zigzag Bridge is a 220 meters long metal pedestrian bridge, which links the Pier of the University of Guayaquil with the Linear Park in front of the Catholic University.

Its main attraction is the natural environment that borders the Salado Estuary and the mangroves; also, it’s modern zigzag design that draws a path between two parallel lines, adapted to the environment of this place; its curvilinear roofs and the floors of cobblestone and stamped concrete.

Visitors can enjoy three planters, viewpoints and eight roundabouts distributed throughout the infrastructure.

Churches

Guayaquil is a city that has expressed its spirituality through culture, religion, art and traditions. Since its establishment and settlement at the foot of the Cerrito Verde in 1540, there were several Religious Orders that built temples and chapels. The name of Santiago de Guayaquil comes from a Spanish tradition that aims to keep alive the memory of Santiago el Mayor, one of the Apostles of Christ. A group of cities in America bear the name Santiago before the name of the city.

Guayaquil has at least 8 heritage churches. Each one with its own history and characteristics. Tourists can appreciate the characteristics of the time of the colony visiting the churches of the city.

La Perla

With 57 meters of height, this is the first wheel giant of the Ecuador and the highest of South America. You can Enjoy of a new view of the city and its landscapes within a complex with all the amenities.

The Pearl Is located in the Simon Bolivar Pier, a renovated space in the downtown of the city, close to the Guayas river and near to the Cerro Santa Ana, one of the more iconic and emblematic sectors of the city.

Puerto Morro

Take a day tour to the little town of Puerto Morro. From this village you can take a boat tour through the mangrove forests where you can enjoy nature and observe a variety of wildlife and birdlife. It´s also possible to go into the mangrove forest by canoe, together with a naturalist guide. You will pass by Isla de Pájaros where you can observe more than 120 different species of birds. Another fun tour is a boat tour searching for bottlenose dolphins.

Click on the following link for more activities and tours: Guayaqui

Insiders´ tips
  • Isla Santay is a small island in the river Guayas, where you can do several tourist activities like hiking and biking. More info: www.islasantay.info

  • Take a tour on the Guayas River with the party boat of Captain Morgan, leaving from the Malecón 2000.

  • Eat some delicious all-you-can-eat lobster at the restaurant Resaca on Malecón 2000. More info: +593- 9-9942-3390.

  • Buy designer clothes at the shops in the San Marino mall. Address Avenida Francisco de Orellana.

Restaurant tips
  • La Tasca de Carlos. Spanish restaurant with excellent food and great atmosphere. Address Cordova y Paula de Icaza – downtown. More info: +593-4-2300-783.

  • La Canoa. Great and very popular place for Ecuadorian cuisine for a low price. Adress Chile 510 – in the hotel Continental – downtown. More info: www.hotelcontinental.com.ec/es/la-canoa

  • La Taberna Libanesa. Although a little bit outside of the center, this is a perfect place to go to if you are craving some delicious Lebanese food. The ambience is cozy. Address Centro Commercial Las Terrazas – Samborondon. More info: +593-4-2837-564.

  • Lo Nuestro. Ecuadorian cuisine with great seafood dishes. It has live music on the weekends.  Address Estrada 903 – northern suburbs. More info: lonuestro.com.ec

  • Rayuela Bar Restaurante. Popular bar and restaurant in the neighborhood of Las Peñas. Address Nouma Pompilio Llona 206 – Las Peñas. More info: +593- 99930-9318.

Medical attention
  • Clinica Guayaquil. Address Padre Aguirre 401 y General Córdova. More info: +593-4-2563-555.

  • Omni Hospital. Address Avenida Abel Castillo y Avenida Juan Tanca Marengo. More info: +593-4-2109-000.