Guayaquil offers travelers a surprising number of sights and activities. It boasts museums, historic neighborhoods, sprawling parks, and of course, the newly 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 one of the most ambitious projects taken on by the Ecuadorian people in almost 50 years. The project, undertaken with zeal in a time of economic crisis, has been called “visionary”. Guayaquileños are unanimous in their opinion that Malecón 2000 is the first step towards the complete rejuvenation of Ecuador’s largest city.
- Jardín Botánico de Guayaquil – a great place to learn about Ecuador’s incredible array of flora. The gardens contain over 3000 plant species, including over 150 species of Ecuadorian and foreign orchids. They are located on Avenida Francisco de Orellana.
- 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 Avenida 10 de Agosto 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.
Parque Seminario “de las
Iguanas”. Photo by Ted Karsch.
For more information on the city’s many museums, check out the Guayaquil museum list, which includes hours, addresses, and phone numbers.
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 Guayaquil 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 – thanks to an ambitious renovation, this well known, riverside street now includes a number of parks, restaurants, a yacht club, and a theater that often hosts live performances.
- 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.
Malecón 2000 riverside
boardwalk. Photo by Ted Karsch.
Guayaquil is notorious for providing its visitors with more action after dark than during its sticky days. Atmosphere is everything. The scene varies from discos that rock until dawn to beer-sipping pubs, but they all exude an exotic tropical vibe.
- Mardi Gras (Estrada 420 and Las Monjas) – loud and popular, the bar lives up to its name. It specializes in frozen daiquiris and greasy American food.
- Iceland Bar (Estrada and Guayacanes) – the ice theme manifests itself in the bars black & white decor and flashy lights. Live music, karaoke, and a good happy hour.
- Rob Roy (turn off Pareja Rolando at the BK) – a small Scottish owned bar with a uniquely “pubby” feel in a city of discotecas.
- Infinity (Estrada 505) – possibly Guayaquil’s longest standing club, 15 years – nearly an infinity in the bar business. A favorite of locals and travelers alike.
- Insomnia (Francisco de Orellana 7-96, near Hotel Colón) – always crowded, this is the place to dance to salsa and techno.
- Via Pública (Estrada 710) – for those who prefer good company and beer over flashy dance clubs. Inside and outside seating.