My planning to go to one of the most amazing places on Earth- Galapagos Islands– involved a long layover in Guayaquil. I guess that half of the travelers headed to Galapagos have a stop in Guayaquil, the other option would be Quito.
Guayaquil is the largest city of Ecuador and seems very businessy. It does not have a touristy feel and most of the foreigners we have met in restaurants and on the streets looked like businessmen melting in in their suits the heat .
We had almost the whole day and whole night to see the city. Because the time was short we searched for the most interesting attraction we could visit in Guayaquil. Unfortunately what we found out was that this city is not only dangerous but also lacks of any interesting places to visit. Seriously…the opinions given by many bloggers and travelers we searched on the internet gave many negative comments. I thought “ohh shoot! What a waste of travel time”.
Then we landed. My first day in Ecuador. There is nothing as good as arriving to a whole new country for the first time. The air was pleasant and hot (and I like hot!), the trees were green and the sound of birds was indicating beginning of the trip. Sooo different from a dessert I stayed in for so long. I quickly realized that Guayaquil is actually nice.
Upon arrival to the hotel we were welcomed with a glass of cool natural juice. Nice touch. After a quick change of clothes and a tour around the hotel, we started the city sightseeing. The heat was difficult to bare. Cerro Santa Ana was on our list, but it had to wait until the sunset. I certainly did not feel like walking up the hill with a burning sun on my head.
I actually liked Guayaquil. It was colorful. And I like colours.
A few things to do in Guayaquil
Walk at the Malecon
Probably the busiest attraction of Guayaquil. It is a place to chill and have a long walk with the sea breeze. It is also a place for many bars and restaurants and a few gardens with (as I learned) over 350 native species of plants. I rather enjoyed it, especially that it is build along the river and it is always nice to walk with a view of water.
Cerro Santa Ana
We moved the trip to Cerro Santa Ana until the end of the day mainly because of the unbearable heat falling down from the sky. We also wanted to see the city from the highest poin with the golden light of the sunset. The hill is not difficult to spot. It is very colourful with a white and blue lighthouse on top. It is like an open-air museum. It is the oldest part of the city that played a role of a lookout for pirates many years ago. It takes 444 steps to get to the top and on the way you can observe the every-day life of the families living there. Children playing on the streets that are the backyard of their homes or mums gosspining with the neighbours. It feels like a totally different village inside the city.
A corourful traditional and the first neighbourhood of Guayaquil sitting on the slopes of Santa Ana hill. This part of the city, was burned down in 1896. It was rebulit later to look like the original houses from before the fire. There are cute little shops there with hand-made souvenirs and a few places for food and drinks. Historically Las Peñas was the most important part of the city and many famous and important people lived there
El faro de Guayaquil
The lighthouse is a pride of Cerro Santa Ana. It is really worth visititng as you will get this lovely view from the top. The sun was setting when we got there and it seemed to get a little big foggy that limited our view, but it was still amazing, don’t you think?
We had a few more attractions to visit on our short stay, but I guess we were over enhusiastic about getting all the ideas fulfilled. The list I made is really short, there is much more to see in Guayaquil. I will risk it and say that it deserves to be visited not only for business reasons or as a travel layout, but it could make a nice touristic stop for at least couple of days.
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