As Ecuador’s largest and most modern city, Guayaquil is bustling with life. Located where the Guayas River meets the Pacific Ocean, Guayaquil has established itself as a major trading port and financial center. In recent years, the city has undergone many exciting changes to attract tourists from Ecuador, South America, and beyond. With a great nightlife and strong music scene, Guayaquil is a contemporary and lively city of the tropics. Visitors are welcomed with open arms and will surely find plenty to do to keep them busy. Below are our top five “musts” to add to your list if you choose to study abroad in Guayaquil.
1. Malecón 2000
Overlooking the Guayas River, this boardwalk was part of a massive urban renewal project in the late ‘90s. Walking its 1.5 miles allows visitors to see monuments important to the history of Guayaquil, as well as museums, gardens, and fountains. Restaurants and bars abound on the west shore of the river, and the first IMAX theater in South America can also be found here. This is a must-see attraction, and it can keep visiting pedestrians busy for several sunny afternoons.
2. Santa Ana Hill
For your inner history enthusiast, check out the Santa Ana hillside. This is where the first immigrants to Guayaquil settled in 1547. Settlers felt secure against the possibility of attack due to the higher elevation and full visibility. This is where the city’s first church and town hall were built, and fortifications were erected to protect the settlement from pirates. Today, visitors can still see cannons and forts displayed around the hill. Don’t miss the view from the top of the hill, particularly at sunset. Climb the Diego Noboa staircase – 456 steps in all – past cafes, restaurants, and colorful houses. The trek will be worth it, as the panoramic views of the city can’t be beat.
3. Jardin Botanico
Guayaquil’s beautiful botanic garden is situated on a hill that overlooks the Guayas and Daule Rivers. The garden opened to the public in 1989 after 10 years of construction and development. Boasting over 325 plant and tree species, 73 species of birds, and 60 butterfly species, this garden is packed with flora and fauna that will appeal to anyone visiting Guayaquil.
4. Las Peñas
Be sure to visit the city’s oldest neighborhood, Las Peñas, where each house has its very own history. Politicians, writers, musicians, and presidents have lived in this area. Before 1650, the neighborhood’s street was one of only two streets in the city. Guayaquil continued to grow over the centuries, but in 1896 a great fire destroyed the Las Peñas neighborhood. The area has since been rebuilt with parts of its original architecture intact, and it remains an important neighborhood in terms of history and culture. Its winding, narrow streets and interesting architectural style make it an attractive destination for all visitors.
Interested in sharing your lunch with iguanas? This is possible for visitors to Parque Bolivar, one of Guayaquil’s most famous plazas. Residents of the park for years, the dragon-like creatures (up to one meter in length!) are friendly and enjoy fruits, vegetables, and plain white bread.
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Posted by World Endeavors on July 23, 2015
World Endeavors believes that international travel has the power to change lives, broaden horizons, and deepen intercultural understanding. The world is undergoing rapid changes, with societies becoming more interconnected and environmentally aware; at the same time a more challenging global economy inspires in many a need to reach out and make a positive difference while seeking personal growth opportunities. There has never been a better time than now to travel abroad.