A dozen great things to do in Guayaquil

11/Abril/2011 | 13:56


Guayaquil is Ecuador's largest city.  Carved by the rivers and estuaries, which find their outlet to the sea in this warm and humid expanse of urbanity,  Guayaquil offers visitors a blend of nature, history, and tradition. 

Today we guide you to a  dozen attractions  and just as many restaurants as  you  discover this remarkable coastal city.

 1) Santa Ana Hillside  Guayaquil's only hillside is not hard to find.   It is where the city was first founded and where tourists continue to discover the greatest natural view of this sprawling wetland.  From the bottom take 444 steps to the El Fortin lookout, light house, open- air museum and fort, and the Santa Ana Chapel.

2) Las Peñas  This traditional, waterfront neighborhood sits at the base of Santa Ana Hill.  Though the houses are about a hundred years old, they mirror those from three centuries ago, virtually all of which were destroyed in a fire in 1896.  Take a stroll along Numa Pompillio Llona, the street whose name you will not easily recall, but whose quaintness and flavor will be hard to forget.  Plan your visit at midday to enjoy a lunch at Arthur's Café.

3) Port of Santa Ana  Circle the hillside of Santa Ana to  reach the Port of Santa Ana, site of the old shipyard building, restored with more than 7,500 square meters of walkway, public spaces, gardens and museums.

 Visitors will find restaurants, a brewery and three museums:  The Beer Museum, Julio Jaramillo Music Museum, (a famous , Ecuadorian musician), and a museum dedicated to Guayaquil's two soccer teams, Emelec and Barcelona

 4) Historical Park of Guayaquil  From Santa Ana, cross over the  Rafael Mendoza Bridge, to Samborondón, home of the Historical Park of Guayaquil.  Divided into three zones (wildlife, urban architecture, and traditions), 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.

 5) Malecon 2000  If you were to  drift downriver from Samborondó n, you would float by the finest example of urban regeneration found anywhere in Ecuador, the Malecon 2000. 

Also known as the Malecon Simon Bolivar, this pier is three kilometers of shopping, eating, and entertainment sandwiched between the estuary of the Guayas River and the city center.

 6) Seminario Park  Malecon 2000 borders the center of Guayaquil and is filled with plazas and parks, great restaurants and hotels, and Guayaquil's greatest architectural sites. 

The City Hall, Government Palace, and the Telégrafo Newspaper offices help to define the architectural heritage of Guayaquil.  The Cathedral of Guayaquil, a twin tower, semi-gothic church, which is also part of this rich structural heritage, is worth a visit as much for what is found outside, rather than  inside.

Seminario Park, located at the intersection of Avenues Chimborazo & Clemente Ballen, is home to hundreds of iguanas lounging along the pathway and in the bushes and trees (mind the droppings as you pass underneath).  Discover Guayaquil's much tamer version of Jurassic Park.

7) La Bahia Market  Between the city center and the Malecon 2000 is a shopping experience some refuse to acknowledge, while others cannot stay away.  With about 1000 illegal vendors selling all manner of pirated goods, the "Bahia" is at least a curiosity for all, if not a source of memorabilia for some.

8) Malecon del Salado  Once you have had enough of the city center, head up Avenue 9 de Octubre and slow down a bit as you enjoy a more intimate boardwalk along an inland waterway. 

The Malecon del Salado is a pier and linear park with pathways, plazas, and green spaces.   As a transition from the city to the urban sprawl, the boardwalk is also the gateway to Urdesa, one of Guayaquil's most popular restaurant districts.

9) Great Dining  As a Pacific Rim nation, Ecuador, in particular Guayaquil, counts on a rich tradition of Asian food.  In fact, the only two Five Star Diamond restaurants in the city serve Asian food or fusion of Asian cuisine – Asia de Cuba in Urdesa and Tantra in Samborondón.  But do not just stick to the five star winners;  the gastronomy of the coast is to be found even in the greatest of holes in the wall. Anyone traveling to the Ecuadorian coast  must check off their traditional food list: cazuela, ceviche, and bolones de verde.

10) La Zona Rosa  For a taste of the nightlife in Guayaquil the Zona Rosa (located behind the Ramada hotel bordered by Imbabura, Panama, and Roca Streets) offers clubs, bars, and discotheques.  An alternative is the Kennedy North section of the city (near Urdesa), or if you cannot tear yourself away from Samborondón a number of night spots dot that landscape as well.

11) Island of Puná

Sometimes, in order to discover a city, one must leave it.  In the case of Guayaquil, there is not need to  travel far.  Just head to the Malecon 2000, where for $10, speed boats will show you another face of Guayaquil – rural estuary life – during day-long tours where you experience unspoiled nature, traditional community life, and more wonderful seafood around the Island of Puná.

This island - the largest  in the Gulf of Guayaquil - is a rural parish of the Guayaquil Municipality and has a history dating back thousands of years.

12) Hills of Churute  As an alternative to the Island of Puná, but one that keeps pace (a slower pace) with rural life, visit the Hills of Churute, about 45 minutes southwest of the city.   Tour the wetlands, go kayaking, crabbing, bird-watching, or see howler monkeys throughout more than 40,000 hectares of protected mangroves - those tree-like bushes along the coast whose massive roots protect against erosion and powerful storms to create ecosystems of their own.  The mangroves  shelter sea life and provide nesting communities for local birds.

When considering these dozen attractions, perhaps the last two should actually be your first stops.  After all, Ecuador's largest city is a wetland where more and more visitors are returning to discover where it  first began.

» Historical Park of Guayaquil  04-283-3807 / 04-283-2958,  8am-4:30pm, $3 adult -  www.parquehistorico


» Rutas del Golfo (Gulf Routes),    Dirección de Turismo Guayaquil  / 04-252-3957, $10 adults -  www.visitguayaquil.com,  [email protected]

» Churute Mangrove Tours, 02-222-5907,  www.mangroveadventure.com


 » City Center

 1. La Canoa  (National cuisine)

 Chile & Ave. 10 de Agosto, Hotel Continental, 04-232-9270

2. La Tasca Vasca (Spanish cuisine)

 Clamente Ballen 442 & Chimborazo / 2534597

 » Las Peñas

3. Arthur´s Café (National cuisine)

 Numa Umpilio Llona 127, Las Peñas / 04-231-2230

 » North Guayaquil

4. Noe Sushi Bar (Japanese Cuisine)

 Centro Comercial San Marino,     Local 31 / 04-208-3389/93

 » Urdesa Neighborhood

5. Restaurante Blu (Mediterranean cuisine, elegant dining)

Victor Emilio Estrada 701 & Ficus www.blurestaurante.com 04-288-4954

6. Asia de Cuba (Asian fusion)

*Five Star Diamond Award Winner,  Datiles 205 & Calle Primera -  www.asiadecuba.net


7. Lo Nuestro (national cuisine)

Victor Emilio Estrada 903 & Higueras www.lonuestro.com.ec 1800-LO-NUESTRO or 04-238-6398

8. La Riviera (Italian cuisine)

Victor Emilio Estrada 707 y Ficus 238-4516

9. Restaurante El Caribe (Cuban Cuisine)

 Av. Victor Emilio Estrada 1017 & Jiguas / 04-238-538

» Samborondon Sector

10. Tantra (Asian exotic, fusion cuisine)

*Five Star Diamond Award Winner Centro comercial Rio Centro, Local #23, Km 2.5 via Samborondon 04-283-3200

11. Bierhouse (beer pub)

Centro comercial Las Terrazas  km 2.5 via Samborondon

12. Alo (fusión)

Parque Comercial la Piazza

Km 1.5 via Samborondon


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Tags : Guayaquil  Tourism  Ecuador 


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- en Diario HOY - Noticias de Ecuador.