No, Guayaquil does not have
colonial monuments, as the great fire of October 10, 1896, destroyed most of old
town Guayaquil, Ecuador. But since then, all monumental buildings from the early
1900s (built after the fire) have been beautifully renovated. And yes,
unlike Quito, Guayaquil is sweaty hot. I had not been back in Guayaquil since
1975 and had this memory of a grey dirty noisy ugly city. It still is noisy and
sweaty. But it is an incredibly lively city with a fantastic 1,5km waterfront "Malecon"
with parks, restaurants and lots of things to do for young and old, while land
"old town Guayaquil" starts at the inland side of the boulevard.
Guayaquil's mayor Jaime Nebot
began a campaign of construction projects for the city in the early 2000s to
attract tourism to Guayaquil, Ecuador, that included the "urban regeneration" plan which reconstructed
the city's main tourist streets' sidewalks and upgraded the city's chaotic
transit system with multiple infrastructure projects (speedways, overhead
passages, tunnels, etc.
Particularly the Malecon and the Seminario
Park Malecon 2000 have been totally rejuvenated to fantastic pedestrian areas
where the inhabitants of Guayaquil come to enjoy their weekends. So, when back
in 2016, I was flabbergasted by the upgrading of the city and came to the
conclusion that Guayaquil is grossly undervalued in the travel guides and the
general reputation. If you have to stop over on you way to or back from
Galapagos, Go Out and enjoy the fun things to do that Guayaquil, Ecuador has to offer. Most things
are at walking distance from each other! So even when its hot, work out a bit of
a sweat and get to know this totally fun city.
The malecon, which means water front boulevard in Spanish, has
been totally redesigned into a several kilometers long pedestrian paradise, with green areas, old
shading trees where they existed and modern shade sails where absent. Plenty of
little restaurants, food stands, and old clock tower and even a full blown mall.
Take a ride on the old Henry Morgan tour boat if you have time. But most of all,
get under the people and enjoy this great place with the "Guayaquilleños" as the
people of Guayaquil are called.
Guayaquil has no colonial buildings. After the great fire, a
new churches were built in the early 1900, all of them in the neoclassical
style. The Cathedral of Guayaquil, a twin tower, semi-gothic church, which is
also part of this rich structural heritage, is worth a visit. So while lacking
the historic architecture that of the colonial period, all these churches are
very impressive and beautifully restored. As most of them are around the Malecon,
take a look at them and at least walk into the San Francisco and Santa
444 stairs up the Guayaquil Lighthouse hill gives you a
fantastic view over the Guayas River and the Malecon. This part too has been
beautifully restored, is full of flowers and mini-gardens and little restaurants
and taverns that love to sell you a drink or a bite to eat on your way up or
down. You can climb the lighthouse to complete 500 stairs and have an even
better view over the city and the Santa Ana square. Built in 2001, the
lighthouse is painted white and blue, the colors of Guayaquil.
This traditional, waterfront neighborhood sits at the base of
Santa Ana or Lighthouse Hill. Like all historic buildings, the houses date back
to the beginning of last century. Many artist have established themselves here
and offer their modern artwork. The Peñas street is lovely with beautiful
flowers pots hanging from the houses. After a few hundred yards you will stumble
upon the old Santa Ana harbor, the site of the former shipyard.
Filled with plazas and parks, great restaurants and hotels,
the Seminario Park Malecon 2000, is the historic center of Guayaquil bordering
the boulevard. In this about 5 blocks deep beautifully restored old town
Guayaquil you will find the cities greatest architectural monuments; many
of the on the pedestrian street one block west of the boulevar, where you will
find the City Hall, the Government Palace, the Telégrafo Newspaper offices a
museum and the gallery of the Arts University.
The choice of
ALL 20 MUSEUMS in GUAYAQUIL with
addresses and opening hours varies from very
impressive, like the Municipal and the Anthropological Museums, to museums of
purely local interests like the Beer Museum, Julio Jaramillo Music Museum and a
museum dedicated to Guayaquil's two soccer teams at the bottom of Santa Ana
Hill. Further away, at the Naval base, are the historical naval ship Calderon,
as well as 3 classical houses serving as naval and marine museums.
The park pays homage
to the old Province of Guayaquil of 1762, which encompassed the modern day
provinces of Guayas, El Oro, Los Rios, and part of Manabí. While the park is
still being developed, it is an oasis of tranquility in this busy city and if
you are interested in wildlife, the zoo is established in the setting of the
natural mangrove and features the more conspicuous and larger animals of Ecuador
in general and the coast in particular.
Atop of a large hill, the Botanical Garden sports great views
over the flat city and the Guayas River. Started in 1979 the Botanical Garden
opened to the public in 1989 and emphasis over 325 plants and trees of Ecuador's
tropical coastal zone. Easy to follow paths wind through sections of ornamental
plants, orchids, bromeliads, medicinal plants, fruit, and lumber trees. More
than 73 wild bird species and 60 butterfly species have been recorded.
You will find restaurants for all different tastes and budgets in Guayaquil.
While the Malecon is more the place to find fast food joints and snack, in the
streets leading up to the waterfront, you will find hotels with fancy
restaurants inside them. If you want an inexpensive meal, just walk into one of
the countless little places in the Seminario Park Malecon 2000
Guayaquil is always hot and sweaty. The rainy season is from January to April
with heavy rainfall; even more so during El Niño years when rainfall is
increases to extremes causing flooding all along the coast. The dry season is
from May through December due to the cooling influence of the Humboldt Current,
however skies are often overcast, even though not producing rain. Read more
Climate of the Pacific Coast.
While not an attraction, Guayaquil
airport - located within the city - is debatably the best located airport in
South America as it takes only 15 minutes to get to from old-town Guayaquil. Its
entrance has been landscaped with a lovely tropical garden.
FUN THINGS TO DO IN GUAYAQUIL ECUADOR
PARKS & TRIBES Travel Agency
Street: Las Casas,
Side street: Jose Coudrin, 2 blocks above the Occidental Highway
Cantón Quito, Prov. Pichincha, Parroquia