The largest and most populous city in Ecuador, Guayaquil is best known by travelers as the tour gateway to the Galapagos. Whether you’re traveling through on your way to the islands or just visiting Guayaquil, make sure to allow at least a couple of days to explore this city itself and the many tourist attractions Guayaquil has to offer- there is a lot to do in Guayaquil! The vibrant metropolis is becoming more popular than ever, with urban-renewal projects, a strong economy, growing arts and nightlife scene, and a steady flow of travelers who are making a destination out of this former stop-over point. Here are the top 5 attractions of this beautiful, riverfront city which one should consider including in any vacation you plan to Ecuador.
Like many “malecons” in South America, walking along this riverfront path is the perfect thing to do when you first arrive in Guayaquil. With historic monuments, restaurants, gardens, outdoor concerts, a shopping mall, and even an iMax theater, there’s a little something for every type of visitor.
This unique park honors all of the things that represent Guayaquil’s history- past and present. Divided into three zones (wildlife, traditions, and urban), you get a glimpse of how the different elements interact. In the wildlife zone, you’ll see 45 species of birds, animals, and reptiles in their natural habitat. In the urban architecture zone, you’ll find early 20th century relics and a restaurant. And lastly, in the traditions zone, you can learn about rural customs, crafts, and architecture found in Guayaquil. If you want to get a glimpse of everything in one spot, this is the place to go!
Considered the best view in Guayaquil, Las Penas is a delightful attraction and often claimed as a visitor’s favorite thing to do in the city. However, there’s a catch: to witness the restored multicolored homes, 360-degree views of the city, and great bars and restaurants lining the path, you’re going to have to work for it. Reaching the top involves climbing 444 steps (each one numbered), and during the middle of the day, this can be a challenge for some. But take your time, stop along the way, and you’ll be glad you didn’t miss this gem. Tourist police line the path in case you need anything, and the lighthouse at the top will offer a breathtaking view of the city, and the coast of Ecuador, which makes it more than worth it.
Beginning at the northern end of the Malecon, explore this historical little street along which you’ll see former presidents’ homes, art galleries, and craft shops. Look for the subtle signs indicating which were the residences of past presidents, and admire the beautifully preserved architecture along the cute windy road.
If you thought the Galapagos was the only place in Ecuador to see exotic animals, think again! Located in the heart of downtown Guayaquil, this park is home to many land iguanas- some over a meter in length. It’s quite an unexpected sight to see, and a favorite thing to do in the city for locals and visitors alike.
Even if Guayaquil is just a stop on the way to your Galapagos Cruise, make sure to check out a couple of the things to see in the city that we listed above! With more tourist attractions in Guayaquil than ever, a day or two rest before flying home can be the perfect chance to get a little dose of the culture. Feel free to contact us to see how you can include a stay in Guayaquil in your Galapagos plans.
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