- Encounters with locals
- Park and garden
- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
During my holiday in Ecuador I toured the Peñas neighbourhood. You need only to walk to the end of the Malecon to reach this colourful part of town. It's perched on a hill. Stroll around the streets, climb its numerous stairs, breathe in the colour - it's a charming place. I really enjoyed my walk around this part of town. At the top of the hill there's a little church you can visit.
Another must-see, if you're not afraid of reptiles, is the Bolivar Park. It's opposite the cathedral. It's home to hundreds of giant iguanas that laze on the lawns! They're calm and happy to be photographed and fed strips of mango by the hordes of tourists. All the same, I recommend that you don't feed them. There are numerous signs forbidding it and it's not good for their well being.
Manu Chao referred to the oppressive heat of Guayaquil City in his song of the same name. When first arriving from Quito, tourists immediately find themselves enveloped in the heavy, humid climate of the west coast.
Problems with crime and safety, a filthy city, a sprawling and permanently traffic-jammed megalopolis: I admit that when I got off the bus in Guayaquil on my trip to Equador, my head was full of preconceived notions about the place. To be honest, I only intended to stop here for a few minutes: just time enough to change buses.
In the end, however, I decided to give the city a chance. As with most South American cities, the main tourist spots are properly protected. There's no risk involved in walking along the Malecón (a boardwalk by the side of the Guayas River) or around the city's historic centre. I don't at all recommend the rest of Guayaquil though. And as there's nothing to do in those parts anyway, I can't see any reason to go there.
Even if, like me, you weren't planning to visit Guayaquil, I do advise you to spend a least a day in this city.
I arrived at the bus station in Guayaquil late and in the pouring rain. It was the end of the Christmas holidays and the station was heaving. As to the queue for a taxi, don't even talk about it...
After a long and irritating wait I finally managed to find a taxi and get to the hotel I had reserved. Guyaquil was my last stop in Ecuador and I wasn't that keen on going there but my plane to Chile was leaving from there two days later.
The next day it wasn't raining, but it was still grey and close, and I felt sticky as soon as I got out of bed. The fresh mountain air seemed a long way away...So we went for a walk in the centre: to the Malecón 2000 (a promenade built along the sea-front), the cathedral, and Seminario park to see iguanas. Then off to Cerro Santa Ana where, after climbing 444 steps, (they were numbered), we arrived at the top of the hill and had a great view of the sea, the Malecón 2000 and the slopes of the Cerro, covered in colourful houses, and steep lanes that looked a bit like Montmartre in Paris! The sky suddenly became threatening and just like the day before at the same time, it started to pour down.