Day 1 in Guayaquil
Welcome to Guayaquil! Upon arrival at the airport, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
We recommend you get acquainted with the city and take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, which gives you the opportunity to learn about this charming city. On this tour, visitors will get to see many of the main tourist attractions found in the city including the Simon Bolivar Pier, the colorful Las Penas neighborhood and the sprawling Salado Estuary.
The tours take off and return to the vibrant waterfront area of Malecon 2000. Explore this area on foot and stop for lunch at one of the eateries offering outdoor seating, take in the scenery on the waterfront and enjoy some delicious local cuisine. Afterward stroll along the Malecon, which runs for 1 ½ mile brimming with over 40 shops, beautiful gardens, museums, theaters, and monuments.
Visit the lush green Parque Seminario also known as Iguana Park found in the heart of the city. The park is known for its resident Iguana`s, which can grow up to 5 feet in length, they can be seen congregating on the lawns and lounging in the trees or on the park benches. The park features an abundance of trees providing much-needed shade, wander through the park and check out several historic monuments located here.
The majestic Metropolitan Cathedral of Guayaquil lies just outside the park and features impressive neo-gothic architecture designed in 1924. The beautiful cathedral boasts two needle-capped towers, both with clocks, one that measures the tides of the nearby Guayaquil River, a pointed arch with five bas-reliefs along with hundreds of stained glass windows and a marble altar inside.
Head back down to the riverfront for a journey on the pirate ship, which takes tours on the river. Take the popular sunset cruise, on board the ship there is a bar, where you can enjoy some cocktails while taking in the stunning sunset.
Stroll along the Malecon and find a restaurant to enjoy some of the delicious local cuisines and fresh seafood with dishes such as ceviche and encebollado, a tasty soup with fish, yuca and onion with popcorn and chifles (crispy fried banana slices). After dinner, stop into the shops along the riverfront and pick out some authentic souvenirs to take home.
If you feel like a nightcap you can take a stroll up the Santa Ana Hill where you can find plenty of pubs and bars that line the quaint and colorful streets. Las Penas is the neighborhood found on the hillside a popular place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine or sangria in the evening and mingle with the locals.
Day 2 in Guayaquil
Begin your day with a small hike to reach the historic streets of the Santa Ana Hillside, which rests at the top of the Las Penas neighborhood, reached via 444 stone steps.
The area is simply beautiful, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city with quaint cobblestoned streets lined with colorful colonial-style houses, a small colonial chapel and the iconic blue and white striped lighthouse that stand out on top of the hill.
Stroll around the ancient streets that lead to intimate plazas with quaint cafes, shops, and galleries and enjoy the spectacular 360-degree panoramic views from the viewpoint.
Numa Pompilio Llona Street is located in the Las Penas neighborhood and was named in honor of the famous poet, the century-old cobblestoned streets wind their way from the northern end of the Malecon and are decorated by colorful houses made of wood with plaques and paintings on the walls. Visit the crafts shops in the area and pick out some souvenirs.
Las Penas is a charming neighborhood to stop for some lunch, it is known for having some of the best restaurants in Ecuador. Many of the eateries found here boast riverfront views with a romantic ambiance. There are also many art galleries and quirky shops to explore.
After lunch, check out some of the museums in the city, we recommend the Anthropological Museum of Contemporary Art also known as MACC. The museum is part of the Simon Bolivar Cultural Center where a 350 seat theatre, a library, and a cafeteria can be found. The museum holds an impressive collection of over 50,000 archaeological pieces and modern art.
If you feel like doing some shopping you can head to Mall del Sol, one of the largest shopping malls in South America, where you can find high-end shops, international clothing brands, a food court, and a theater.
Parque Historico is a large 20 acres park situated on the Daule River in Samborondon, which includes a small zoo. Tropical gardens filled with historic colonial buildings and three different sections named The Wildlife Zone, The Urban Architectural Zone, and the Traditions Zone. The park hosts cultural and musical activities on the weekends.
As evening time approaches make your way to the charming upscale neighborhood of Plaza Lagos in the Samborondon district. This bustling plaza boasts a beautiful setting for an evening out with restaurants, wine bars and boutique shops set amongst palm trees, walkways and fountains with live music playing during the evening. A really relaxing spot to dine alfresco.
Another alternative for your last evening is the quieter traditional neighborhood of Urdesa. The long stretch along Avenida Victor Emilio Estrada is brimming with restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.
Additional Days in Guayaquil
If you are able to spend additional days Guayaquil visit the Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco private reserve covering 6,000 hectares of tropical dry forest created to protect the unique habitat filled with plants and animals. There are walking trails throughout the reserve where an abundance of wildlife can be seen including howler monkeys and over 200 species of birds.
Visit the Hills of Churute and tour the Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve wetlands by kayak. Do some bird watching and see plenty of wildlife in the protected mangroves that cover over 86,000 acres. The Howler Monkey Trail gives visitors the opportunity to see and hear Howler monkeys in the forest as well as White-Fronted Capuchins.
`Little Amsterdam` or Montanita is a quaint surfer town situated on the Santa Elena Peninsula which is known for its nightlife. The area attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world for incessant parties with great food, drinks, and a beautiful beach location.
Your Last Day in Guayaquil
Depart from your hotel to the airport for your return flight home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer to the airport if so the representative will meet you at your hotel with plenty of time to get you to the airport for your flight out.