Ecuador’s largest city has been revitalised during the past decade with an unprecedented urban renewal scheme
Guayaquil’s old image of a dilapidated and decaying dockfront, drug dealing and murders has been replaced with the vibrant Malecon 2000 waterfront walkway, evening cruises on the river, an IMAX cinema and new public performance spaces.
The old hillside slum area of Santa Ana has been spruced up and now positively welcomes visitors who climb the 444 steps to the lighthouse at the top. Meanwhile, at the southern end of the Malecon, the old fruit and veg market is to become a new events and exhibition centre while the modern architecture of the new Bahia Malecon Mall houses restaurants with spectacular views over the Guayas River.
The whole waterfront turnaround is a triumph of urban renewal and has been directly driven by the foresight of the city’s mayors.
It is true that Guayaquil is principally a commercial city and is not likely to be a prime destination for visitors, but since it is often necessary to spend one or two nights in the city before and/or after a Galapagos cruise, it is good to know that it is now safe to go out of your hotel and enjoy what the city has to offer. We can arrange personal tours – either on foot or by car (or both).
The Seminario Park in front of the Cathedral – also known as Iguana Park due to the large number of iguanas that happily lie around (a foretaste of what is to come for those heading to Galapagos!) is a pleasant place to take a break, and the Municipal Palace and other civic buildings near the Cathedral hark back to an era of grandeur when Guayaquil was a thriving port.
A little out of the centre of town, the new Plaza Lagos centre, in the upmarket Samborondong district, offers a tempting array of international class restaurants to choose from in the evenings, while the Historic Park makes an interesting outing to learn about the coastal wildlife and the history and architecture of old Guayaquil.
Soon city residents and visitors alike will have direct access via two pedestrian bridges to the pristine mangroves on the Isla Santay. Situated in the middle of the Guayas River this will become an eco-park for recreation and education.
The renaissance of Guayaquil is unprecedented; celebrate it.
To discover more about Guayaquil and its incredible turnaround, give us a call or send us a message.
Places we love to stay
Hacienda La Danesa
A very charming family-owned hacienda located just one hour outside Guayaquil, on a 500 hectare traditional cattle and cacao farm.View details about Hacienda La Danesa
Oro Verde Guayaquil
The Oro Verde is Guayaquil’s top downtown hotel, offering quality service, comfort and a choice of restaurants along with a great bar and other facilities.View details about Oro Verde Guayaquil
Hotel del Parque
An impressive boutique hotel with a timeless colonial-era feel, located in the Parque Histórico near the city centre.View details about Hotel del Parque