Guayaquil, ‘Pearl of the Pacific’, is Ecuador’s largest city. This city tour is a chance to learn more about its rich history and stumble upon authentic wooden monuments amongst modern high-rises. You can also escape the crowded avenues and stroll along its vibrant riverfront promenade, or visit the Historical Park, picturesque fishermen villages, mangrove forests or haciendas. The French-style Parque Seminario is popularly known as Iguana or Bolivar Park. In this bizarre downtown Jurassic Park, iguanas crawl everywhere, from right at your feet to the treetops! A statue of liberator Simon Bolivar dominates the park pointing at the Municipal Cathedral.
The striking neo-Gothic architecture of the Municipal Cathedral (1937) with its proud towers and white concrete facade rivals with the modern high-rises, and contributes to Guayaquil’s modern identity. The bright interior has a marble main altar from Cuenca and high stained-glass windows. The vibrant riverfront promenade (Malecón Simon Bolivar 2000) stretches about 2.5km/1.5mi along Rio Guayas. This pedestrian zone has viewpoints, monuments, gardens, recreational areas, bars, restaurants and exhibitions. Wander around to observe the Guayacos in their daily life. The boulevard includes an historical section (Civic Square) with some of most noteworthy monuments: the Moorish clock tower (1842), the Rotonda memorial and the Municipal Palace which is considered one of the most important architectural works of Ecuador. Perched on Santa Ana Hill, the picturesque neighbourhood of Las Peñas respires a traditional aristocratic ambience mixed with a cosy atmosphere, thanks to many ateliers, lively bars and restaurants. This National Cultural Heritage site is where the city was founded. Some of its colourful wooden houses are well over a century old and have been spared from city fires that burned large areas of Guayaquil.