We spent a quick, 24+ hours in Guayaquil as the grand finale to our recent Ecuador and Galapagos Islands trip! While it doesn’t sound like much time, we found it ample to see the highlights of the city.
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Our return flight from the Galapagos landed in Guayaquil, Ecuador so we decided to extend our stay for a night to experience a small taste of Ecuador’s second-largest city. With a bit of research beforehand, we came up with a plan that would let us see most of the highlights in our limited amount of time. Feel free to use the route below as your guide and add or delete sights depending upon your level of interest.
Central Guayaquil Walking Tour
You can walk the route below in about an hour, not including stops for various sights along the way.
Historic Center and Malecon Walk
Uber or walk to the Parque Seminario to start this tour. Parque Seminario is a small but very charming little square that is home to a family of iguanas as well as Guayaquil’s Metropolitan Cathedral and a statue of Simon Bolivar.
From the park, walk towards the Guayas River to the Torre de Reloj. This Moorish-style clocktower dates to the 1800s. From this point, turn left and continue to walk along the river.
You are now on the touristic highlight of Guayaquil, the Malecon 2000. This boardwalk was part of an urban renewal project in (you guessed it) the year 2000. The walkway is home to several historical monuments as well as a lovely garden, fountains, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, an IMAX theater, and a small amusement park. This is also the place to catch a scenic boat trip up and down the Rio Guayas, if you are interested.
North Malecon and Las Penas
At the north end of the Malecon 2000, you will be near:
- The Aerovia cable car. This new (late 2020) cable car links the town of Duran to central Guayaquil and is used frequently by commuters. We caught a round trip and found it a relaxing way to get a quick aerial overview of the city.
- The Museums of the Malecon (Museum of Anthropology/Art, Museum of Cacao and, Museum of Popular Music Julio Jaramillo)
- Parroquia Santa Domingo de Guzman, Guayaquil’s oldest church, built in 1548
- The Las Penas Neighborhood including the famous Cerro Santa Ana. Access this colorful hill town via the Diego Noboa staircase and enjoy the views from the top of the hill.
- Cementario General. A South American-style, above-ground cemetery with elaborate tombs and statuary. This cemetery is the final resting place for many of Ecuador’s notable citizens.
Guayaquil Historical Park
When you’re done exploring the downtown area, take a cab to the Guayaquil Historical Park. It’s about 15 minutes from the Malecon. Treat yourself to an incredible brunch/lunch at Casa Julian and then explore the park. The park is divided into two main areas: architectural sights/historical buildings and a wildlife sanctuary. Costumed performers add to the ambiance of what life might have been like in colonial times.
We stayed at the Hotel Parque de Guayaquil and found it a very peaceful refuge in contrast to the bustling, grittier city. We were able to leave our luggage all day and pick it up right before our brief 15-minute transfer to the airport prior to our overnight flight.
If you find yourself pursuing a cruise to the Galapagos Islands, Guayaquil is certainly worth a one or two-day stop off en route. With more time, you may want to head out to Salinas, a popular beach resort, or head onward to Cuenca, an Andean mountain town with loads of historical sights.
Until next time…keep cultivating a simple, stylish, and satisfying life!