We spent an extra day in Guayaquil before flying to the Galapagos and stayed near the River Park and near the fabulous neighborhood of Las Penas. Las Penas is a very unique neighborhood that has restaurants and retail shop area. It was named a cultural heritage site in the City. The River Park is really well done and was worth the trip. It has restaurants and zoo exhibit that seems to really entertain the kids.
Guayaquil is the largest city and largest port in Ecuador See Location Map. It is a large city with a population of about 3.75 million people. We visited here, as many tourists do, as a stopover before catching a flight to the Galapagos Islands located about 750 miles west of Guayaquil.
We walked down the Riverfront Walkway which was very nicely done and a definite “to do” if you go to Guayaquil. After leaving the park, we crossed a street and began a 444 step climb to the top. Along the way there were restaurants, bars, shops, galleries and homes. It is a very good workout particularly if it is warm.
At the top of the hill known as Santa Ana is a fabulous view of the City and the Guayas River which discharges to the Pacific Ocean. You will also find the Chapel of Santa Ana, and a lighthouse which built in 2002 on the foundations of a 17th century fortress. The Cerro de Santa Ana is where the city of Guayaquil was established for the first time in mid-1500.
In the downtown area not far from the Riverfront Park is the Parque de las Iguanas or Iguanas park. Even if you are not a reptile lover like we are, this is a “must see” area in Guayaquil. There are very tame docile Iguanas all over the place. You can walk up to them and they won’t move. The locals have been taught not to mess with the Iguanas and over the years they have become accepting of humans.
We walked around the downtown near the riverfront and enjoyed the architecture. Below is the metropolitan Cathedral that was built (according to Wikipedia) in a neo-Gothic style between 1924 and 1937.
We ate lunch at the Resaca Restaurant along the Riverfront. This seemed to be a place where a lot of locals ate lunch and they had a lunch special of local food. Not sure what it was because they ran out as soon as we arrived but the food was good.