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Guayaquil, the "Pearl of the Pacific", is a city of almost two million inhabitants and known as the industrial and economic center of Ecuador, due to its untiring commercial activity which has been the leading force of its progress since the beginning of the century.

Although not focussed on tourism like Quito, Guayaquil and its surroundings invite the tourists to tour the city and visit pleasing sites, a contrast between old and new where you can find a large selection of markets and things to do...especially at night.

Northern Guayaquil
Downtown Guayaquil
Southern Guayaquil
The Surroundings
Guayaquil's Nightlife

Guayaquil offers travelers a surprising number of sights and activities. It boasts museums, historic neighborhoods, sprawling parks and the renovated waterfront strip, Malecón 2000. While enjoying Guayaquil it is important to note that as with any large urban center, you must exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Be particularly careful at night, spend the extra change to get around safely in taxis.

  • El Malecón 2000 - is the recontruction project of the Simóm Bolívar Pier, one of the most representative sites of Guayaquil city. The new pier which construction has already begun, will be one of the most important civic-touristic-commercial center of South America. It's turning into the most complete and modern center of urban recreation of the country. With multiple green areas of entertainment and commercial service, it's receiving a significant number of visitors everyday.

  • El Palacio Municipal - sits in front of the Malecón and holds the political offices of city and provincial officials. A building of the neoclassical style, it is considered one of the most important architectural works in the country. Employees will enthusiastically answer questions about the building and are a good source of information regarding the city.
  • Las Peñas Neighborhood - in the northeast corner of the city's center, is home to many recognized artists. Many of the area's 400-year-old houses have been converted into art galleries. A walk through this historic district gives one a glimpse into Guayaquil's past.
  • Mall del Sol - find plenty of shopping in this new mall, with most of its store names in English, it will feel eerily familiar to North American travelers.
  • Mercado Artesanal - is the largest artisan market in the city. The market is housed in a 240-shop building that takes up the entire block of Baquerizo Avenue, between the streets Loja and Juan Montalvo. Its many vendors sell indigenous crafts, jewelry, paintings, and more!
  • Parque Centenario - located on the street 9 de Octubre, between Lorenzo de Garaycoa and Quito, this is the largest park downtown, occupying four city blocks. It is a favored place to take refuge from the equatorial sun. Enjoy the shade offered by the large trees planted liberally over the expanses of walkways and lawns. A large statue of Liberty dominates the central area of the park.
  • Parque Seminario - is not your typical city park. Seminario, located on 10 de Agosto Avenue and Chile, is home to dozens of Iguanas, some of which approach 5 feet in length. There seems to be hundreds of the monstrous, yet docile, reptiles lurking all over. Every afternoon, workers bring fruit and vegetable scraps to lure the Iguanas from the trees so that onlookers may watch them descend for a snack! A pond filled with colorful Japanese Talapia fish and the equestrian statue of Simón Bolívar located in the center of the park, are two more reasons to visit the park.

Alternatives, or compliments, to the typical club scene include cinemas, theater performances and quality national and international restaurants. Information on performances and events can be found in the various Guayaquilean newspapers.
A few venues and regularly scheduled performances that you should check out:

  • Teatro del Angel - offers live comedies on weekends. It's located on Balsamos 620 and Ficus in the Urdesa neighborhood.
  • Casa de Cultura - on 9 de Octubre just west of the Parque Centenario, regularly sponsors film festivals and gives specialized classes in the arts.
  • Malecón Avenue - The new Pier, which construction has already begun, will be one of the most important civic-tourist-commercial sites from South America. With multiple green areas of entertainment and commercial service, it's receiving a significant number of visitors everyday. All sectors have areas of general services, like restrooms, police departments, first aids and information stands.
  • Urdesa and Alborada neighborhoods - north of the city's center these two neighborhoods are known for being polished and preppy, specifically the street Victor Emilio Estrada in Urdesa and "Calle Principal" in Alborada. Both boast numerous restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars.
    (please see our Ecuador's Nightlife section to find out more places to go in Guayaquil)

Northern Guayaquil

The Barrio las Peñas located at the foot of the Santa Ana hill is an area of the city with a coastal colonial architecture. It was destroyed and reconstructed several times as a consequence of fires, in particular the great fire of 1896. It has only one street called Numa Pompilio LLona in honor of a famous Ecuadorian man of letters. This street starts at the Planchada wich was the place from which the city was defended and ends at the old installations of the Brewery, one of the Guayaquil's first industries.

During the festivities conmemorating the foundation of the city, this area becomes the city of outdoor exhibitions where national as well as foreign artists expose their works. Today many of the houses along this street have been turned into a galleries. It is here that many well know poets, heroes and composers such as Antonio Neumane, the author of the music of our national anthem, were born.

The Church of Santo Domingo, also known as the Church of Saint Vincent was the first church of this city, built in 1548 and reconstructed on several occasions because of fires. The Basílica de la Merced, San Francisco and the Metropolitan Cathedral should also be visited.

Downtown Guayaquil

The Malecón Simón Bolívar,which runs along the River, is also called the Paseo de las Colonias (the Promendade of the Colonies). It has its beginning at the Avenida Olmedo where the statue of José Joaquín de Olmedo, an eminent citizen who fought for the Independence of Guayaquil, stands in a park which bears his name.

The public clock (Moorish Tower)was destroyed by the tides as its base was made of wood. It was rebuilt in 1930, on the same spot. It is a Moorish style tower. The purpose of this clock was not a only to call the people to pray but also to alert the population against pirat attacks or to call for help in case of any need.

Municipal Palace, (City Hall)of neoclassic style is considered one of the best architectonic works of the city; and the Parque Sucre which separates it from the Ministry of the Interior Building, the Gobernación , which is a combination of variety of styles.

The Hemiciclo de la Rotonda where a great marble and bronze statue is erected, conmemorating the meeting between two great liberators in America: Simón Bolíivar and José de San Martín.

Parque Centenario a beatiful park in the middle of the city with 200 meters where the Column of October or of Liberty stands, designed by the Spanish sculptor Agustín Queirol in 1918. On each side of its base are the statues of Olmedo, Febrés Cordero, Villamil and Antepara, men who distinguished themselves in the struggle for the independance of Guayaquil. On each angle of the pedestal there are statues which represent History, Patriotism, Heroism and Justice and on top of the Column there is a statue with an outstreched arm holding a torch.

The main hotels of the city are located in the downtown touristic center of the city. They all offer an excellent service which will make your stay in Guayaquil very pleasant and you will not doubt to return some day.

Southern Guayaquil

Parque España located facing the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; in its center stands the statue of Sebastían de Benalcázar, the founder of San Francísco de Quito; Parque de la Armada, here lies the Calderón, a gunboat which played an outstanding role in the naval battle of Jambelí in 1941 and which now contains a historical museum. The Centro Cívico Theather; the planetarium of the Navy and Puerto Marítimo, one of the most important ports of South America on the Pacific Ocean where ships from all over the world dock. It is considered that 80% of the country's exports and 50% of its imports pass through it.

The Surroundings

The Botanical Garden is located at the foot of the Cerro Colorado hill at Francisco de Orellana Avenue. Here you can find three thousand varieties of vegetable species including hundred and fifty varieties of orchids.
If you like excursions, we should like to recommend a visit to Cerro Blanco. Situated on Km 15 on the coast road it is a representative sample of a tropical dry forest and constitutes an important refuge for more than hundred and ninety species of land birds and six species of sea birds.

Puerto Hondo, 17 kilometers away on the road to the coast, we come upon this reserve of mangroves, where we can appreciate the ecosystem of the magrove, opposite to it is an archeological site called Palombamba where in general fairly well preserved archeological finds have been made and which correspond to the Huancavilca culture.

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