Holidays to Guayaquil, Ecuador

Known as a gateway to the Galapagos Islands, the port city of Guayaquil is a subtle metropolis. Skyscrapers and a busy commercial district are offset against beautiful colonial architecture, colourful favelas and a host of nearby white Pacific beaches.

Officially named Santiago de Guayaquil, the town is a patchwork of vivid barrios (neighbourhoods) that give Ecuador’s largest city a real small-town vibe. Fringed by an expansive boardwalk, the Malecón overlooks the Guayas River. The esplanade runs 2.5km along the west banks and is teeming with monuments, sculptures, gardens and playgrounds, making it a hub of activity both day and night.

Wander into the city and you'll stumble across the Parque Seminario – a small plaza that is nestled in the centre of town. It's known locally as Iguana Park, because of the many iguanas who live here peacefully, taking time out of their lazy days to pose for photos. The square is filled with palm trees and is overlooked by a picture-perfect neoclassical cathedral – San Pedro Apostol Metropolitan.

If you head west of the city to Guayas, or north-west towards Santa Elena province, you’ll be spoilt for choice with pristine beaches that are ideal for a gentle reprieve from the city. This is where Guayaquileños spend their down time. White powdery sands against a stunning Pacific backdrop could not make a more archetypal setting to relax, and the coastline is perfect for surfing, parasailing and body boarding, for those who can’t sit still for long.

Las Peñas is the beating heart of Guayaquil. This colourful barrio is famed for its brightly painted colonial houses, museums and cultural hotspots. The sleepy quarter comes alive at dusk, when the bars and restaurants become filled with patrons, amid a sea of musicians, fortune tellers and cigar rollers keeping everyone entertained.

The barrio is beaconed by the lighthouse Faro Cerro Santa Ana. Climb the Santa Ana Hill – a steep hill formation consisting of 444 stairs that meander through Las Peñas and up to its summit. While this precipitous walk will test your fitness levels, there are plenty of cafés, galleries and bodegas along the route where you can stop and catch your breath. Once at the top, you’re met with exquisite panoramas of sprawling Guayaquil and the Río Guayas, making the energetic trek a worthy ascent.

Highlights

  • Stroke iguanas in the city centre Parque Seminario

  • Stroll along the Malecón boardwalk

  • Climb the 444 stairs to Faro Cerro Santa Ana

Ella
Senior Ecuador & Galapagos Travel Designer
Let's talk
Exploring the haunting Amazonian cloud forest and paddling along the Napo River are just two of the many unforgettable experiences that I brought back from this friendly and incredibly diverse country.

Guayaquil trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas to Guayaquil. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 01483 319 333

Map of Guayaquil