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The Best Things To Do In Guayaquil, Ecuador


by Katee Savoy



Welcome to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and main port. Nestled on the banks of the Guayas River, Guayaquil is a vibrant and bustling destination that offers a mix of rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty. With its tropical climate and friendly locals, it’s no wonder that Guayaquil has become a popular destination for travelers from all over the world.


Guayaquil has undergone a major transformation in recent years, becoming a hub of tourism and economic growth. The city has invested in revitalizing its historic districts, creating new parks and attractions, and improving its infrastructure. As a result, visitors to Guayaquil can now enjoy a wide range of experiences, from exploring its charming colonial architecture, to strolling along its scenic riverfront, to indulging in delicious local cuisine.


In this article, we will highlight some of the best things to do in Guayaquil, ensuring you make the most of your time in this vibrant city. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a foodie, Guayaquil has something to offer everyone.


So, get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, explore the rich history, and witness the natural wonders of Guayaquil.


Malecón 2000

One of the must-visit attractions in Guayaquil is the Malecón 2000, a waterfront promenade that stretches along the Guayas River. This 2.5-kilometer boardwalk is a hub of activity and entertainment, offering something for everyone to enjoy.


As you stroll along the Malecón, you’ll be greeted by captivating views of the river and the impressive skyline of Guayaquil. The promenade is lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, where you can take a break and indulge in delicious local cuisine or grab a refreshing drink.


The Malecón 2000 also features a number of attractions and landmarks to explore. One of the highlights is the Moorish Clock Tower, also known as El Reloj. This iconic structure serves as a symbol of Guayaquil and offers stunning panoramic views from its top.


Another popular attraction along the Malecón is the Interactive Museum of Sciences, where both kids and adults can engage in hands-on exhibits and learn about various scientific principles.


For art enthusiasts, the Malecón 2000 is home to the Municipal Museum, which showcases a collection of modern and contemporary art by Ecuadorian artists.


One of the most unique features of the Malecón is the La Perla Ferris Wheel. Standing at a height of 57 meters, this Ferris wheel offers breathtaking views of the city and the river. It’s the perfect spot to capture memorable photos.


As you continue your walk, you’ll come across the beautiful gardens, fountains, and sculptures that adorn the Malecón. This green oasis provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, allowing you to relax and soak in the natural surroundings.


The Malecón 2000 is not just a place for leisure and entertainment. It also serves as a testament to the city’s resilience and revitalization efforts. In the early 2000s, the Malecón underwent a massive transformation, turning a once derelict area into a vibrant and thriving waterfront destination.


Overall, a visit to the Malecón 2000 is a must when in Guayaquil. Whether you’re looking for shopping, dining, cultural experiences, or simply a pleasant stroll by the river, the Malecón offers it all. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beautiful moments and memories you’ll make along the way.


Las Peñas neighborhood

Nestled on the hillside overlooking the city, the Las Peñas neighborhood is a charming and historic district that offers a glimpse into Guayaquil’s past. As the city’s oldest neighborhood, Las Peñas is filled with colonial-era architecture, colorful houses, and narrow cobblestone streets, making it a must-visit destination for history and culture enthusiasts.


One of the highlights of exploring Las Peñas is climbing to the top of Cerro Santa Ana, the iconic hill that the neighborhood is built upon. The climb may be a bit challenging, but the reward is worth it. As you ascend the 444 steps, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the cityscape, the river, and the surrounding landscape.


At the top of Cerro Santa Ana, you’ll find a charming plaza with art galleries, craft shops, and small cafes where you can take a break and enjoy a refreshing beverage. This picturesque spot is also home to the colorful and traditional-style houses that give Las Peñas its distinctive look.


While exploring Las Peñas, be sure to visit the Numa Pompilio Llona Street, known as the “Street of the Paintings.” Here, you’ll find vibrant murals and paintings by local artists that depict the rich culture and history of Guayaquil.


As you wander through the streets of Las Peñas, you’ll also come across several museums and cultural centers. One such museum is the Municipal Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts, artwork, and historical exhibits that provide insights into the city’s past.


For a taste of traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, don’t miss the opportunity to try some local dishes at one of the neighborhood’s restaurants. From ceviche, a popular seafood dish, to encebollado, a hearty fish soup, there are plenty of culinary delights to satisfy your taste buds.


Las Peñas is not just a historic neighborhood; it’s also a vibrant and lively area. In the evenings, the neighborhood comes alive with live music performances, street artists, and cultural events. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the warmth and hospitality of the Guayaquil locals.


Visiting Las Peñas is like stepping back in time and experiencing the old-world charm of Guayaquil. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply want to soak up the unique atmosphere, a trip to Las Peñas is a must when in Guayaquil.


Parque Seminario (Iguana Park)

Located in the heart of Guayaquil, Parque Seminario, also known as Iguana Park, is a unique and quirky attraction that is sure to captivate visitors of all ages. As the name suggests, the park is famous for its resident iguanas, which freely roam around the green spaces, trees, and pathways.


Parque Seminario is not just a park; it’s a haven for nature lovers and those looking for an up-close encounter with these fascinating reptiles. The park is home to a large population of iguanas, and it’s not uncommon to see them basking in the sun or leisurely strolling along the park grounds.


Visitors can observe the iguanas from a safe distance and even feed them with specially provided food. However, it’s important to respect the animals and follow the guidelines set by the park authorities to ensure their well-being.


In addition to the iguanas, Parque Seminario is a beautiful green space with trees, flowers, and benches where visitors can relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The park is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to take a break from the bustling city and reconnect with nature.


Parque Seminario is also located in close proximity to several other attractions in Guayaquil. Just a short walk away, you’ll find the vibrant Malecón 2000 and the historic Las Peñas neighborhood. It’s a perfect opportunity to explore these nearby areas and make the most of your visit.


Another highlight of Parque Seminario is its proximity to the Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral. This majestic cathedral, with its stunning architecture and intricate detailing, is a must-visit for those interested in religious history and architecture.


When visiting Parque Seminario, it’s a good idea to bring your camera to capture memorable moments with the friendly iguanas. They make for unique photo opportunities, and you’ll surely want to share these remarkable experiences with your friends and family.


Whether you’re an animal lover, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a charming and offbeat attraction to explore, Parque Seminario is a must-visit when in Guayaquil. The combination of the free-roaming iguanas and the serene park atmosphere creates a truly unforgettable experience.


Parque Histórico Guayaquil

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Guayaquil, a visit to Parque Histórico Guayaquil is a must. This unique park is a living museum that showcases the city’s heritage through its architecture, exhibitions, and recreated cultural sites.


Parque Histórico Guayaquil is divided into three main areas: the Wildlife Zone, the Urban Architecture Zone, and the Traditions Zone. Each zone offers a different experience and allows visitors to explore different facets of Guayaquil’s history and culture.


In the Wildlife Zone, you’ll have the opportunity to observe and learn about Ecuador’s diverse flora and fauna. The park is home to a variety of native animals, including monkeys, birds, reptiles, and even giant tortoises. Visitors can walk along the trails and observe these animals in their natural habitats.


The Urban Architecture Zone is a fascinating area that showcases the architectural styles that have shaped Guayaquil over the years. Here, you’ll find beautifully restored buildings representing the various periods of the city’s history. From the colonial-era structures to the early 20th-century mansions, each building tells a story and provides insight into the city’s architectural evolution.


In the Traditions Zone, you’ll step back in time and experience the daily life of early Guayaquil. The area is designed to resemble a traditional coastal town, complete with houses, shops, and workshops. You can learn about traditional crafts, watch demonstrations of traditional dances and music, and even enjoy local delicacies at the food stalls.


One of the highlights of Parque Histórico Guayaquil is the Lago de los Cisnes (Swan Lake), a serene lake surrounded by lush greenery. Here, you can take a leisurely stroll or enjoy a picnic while admiring the graceful swans and other waterfowl.


Throughout the park, there are also cultural events, performances, and educational programs that provide additional opportunities to learn and engage with Guayaquil’s history and traditions.


Parque Histórico Guayaquil is not just a museum; it’s an interactive and immersive experience that appeals to visitors of all ages. It offers a unique opportunity to step back in time, connect with nature, and appreciate the diverse heritage of Guayaquil.


So, if you’re interested in delving into the history and culture of Guayaquil, make sure to add Parque Histórico Guayaquil to your itinerary. It’s a truly enriching experience that will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of this vibrant city.


Mercado Artesanal

For those looking to bring a piece of Guayaquil’s vibrant culture and artistry home, a visit to Mercado Artesanal is a must. Located in the heart of the city, this bustling market is a treasure trove of traditional crafts, handmade goods, and unique souvenirs.


Mercado Artesanal is a paradise for art lovers and collectors, offering a vast array of Ecuadorian handicrafts and artwork. Here, you’ll find beautifully crafted ceramics, colorful textiles, intricate wood carvings, and handmade jewelry, all showcasing the immense talent and skills of Ecuadorian artisans.


As you wander through the market, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with the artisans themselves, many of whom are happy to share the stories and techniques behind their creations. It’s a chance to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural significance and traditional craftsmanship that goes into each piece.


One of the highlights of Mercado Artesanal is its collection of Panama hats, a traditional Ecuadorian hat known for its exceptional quality and craftsmanship. These hats, despite their name, are actually from Ecuador and are meticulously woven from straw by skilled artisans. They make for a stylish and practical souvenir to take home.


In addition to crafts and artwork, Mercado Artesanal also offers a wide range of other products. You’ll find an assortment of traditional Ecuadorian clothing, including embroidered blouses and ponchos, as well as colorful textiles such as woven blankets and rugs.


The market is also a great place to shop for unique souvenirs and gifts. From small trinkets and keychains to intricately designed pottery and ornate masks, you’re sure to find something that captures the spirit of Guayaquil to bring back as a memento of your visit.


When visiting Mercado Artesanal, be prepared to bargain. Many vendors are open to negotiation, so don’t be afraid to haggle and try to get the best price.


After exploring the market, take a break at one of the food stalls or small cafes scattered throughout. You can savor traditional Ecuadorian snacks like empanadas or indulge in a cup of freshly brewed local coffee.


Overall, a visit to Mercado Artesanal is a delightful experience that allows you to support local artisans while acquiring unique and authentic pieces of Guayaquil’s culture. So, ensure to set aside some time to wander through this bustling market and discover the magic of Ecuadorian craftsmanship.


Cerro Santa Ana

Rising above the cityscape of Guayaquil, Cerro Santa Ana is a picturesque hill that offers panoramic views of the city and a charming exploration experience. This colorful neighborhood, located in the heart of Guayaquil, is a must-visit destination for its unique architecture, vibrant streets, and stunning vistas.


To reach Cerro Santa Ana, you’ll need to climb a series of 444 steps that wind their way up the hillside. As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city skyline, the Guayas River, and the surrounding areas. Take your time to pause and enjoy the stunning vistas along the way.


At the top of Cerro Santa Ana, you’ll find a charming plaza surrounded by colorful houses, art galleries, cafes, and gift shops. Each house is adorned with vibrant facades and beautiful architecture, creating a lively and picturesque setting.


The neighborhood’s narrow, cobblestone streets are lined with charming local shops and boutiques, selling a variety of crafts, clothing, and souvenirs. It’s the perfect place to browse for unique and handmade items to take home as mementos of your Guayaquil adventure.


One of the standout attractions in Cerro Santa Ana is the iconic lighthouse, El Faro. Climb to the top for an even more spectacular panoramic view of the city, river, and surrounding landscape. It’s a great spot to capture memorable photos of your visit.


As you explore Cerro Santa Ana, be sure to stop by the various cafes and restaurants along the way. Enjoy a refreshing beverage or a traditional Ecuadorian snack while soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of this hillside neighborhood.


In the evenings, Cerro Santa Ana comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. The neighborhood’s restaurants and bars become hubs of activity, offering live music performances, cultural shows, and a lively ambiance. It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the local scene and experience the warm hospitality of the Guayaquil residents.


Cerro Santa Ana is not only a captivating neighborhood but also a testament to the revitalization efforts of Guayaquil. The transformation of this once rundown area into a thriving and colorful destination is a true triumph for the city and its residents.


Whether you’re seeking stunning views, vibrant architecture, cultural experiences, or simply a charming place to wander, Cerro Santa Ana has it all. So, lace up your walking shoes and prepare for a memorable journey to this enchanting hillside neighborhood in Guayaquil.


Plaza Lagos Town Center

Situated on the outskirts of Guayaquil, Plaza Lagos Town Center offers a unique shopping and entertainment experience. This modern open-air mall is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, featuring a wide range of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.


Plaza Lagos Town Center is designed with a European-style architecture, complete with cobblestone walkways, fountains, and scenic lakes. The ambiance is inviting and charming, providing a pleasant setting for a leisurely day of shopping and relaxation.


The mall is home to an impressive array of fashion boutiques, offering a mix of well-known international brands and local designer labels. Whether you’re looking for trendy clothing, accessories, or footwear, you’ll find plenty of options to suit your style.


In addition to fashion, Plaza Lagos Town Center boasts a variety of specialty stores catering to different interests. You can explore stores offering home decor, electronics, beauty products, gourmet treats, and much more. It’s a shopper’s paradise with something for everyone.


When you need a break from shopping, there are numerous dining options to satisfy your cravings. Plaza Lagos Town Center offers an extensive selection of restaurants, cafes, and food stalls serving both local and international cuisines. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Ecuadorian dishes or international flavors, you’ll find a delectable range of choices to tantalize your taste buds.


Aside from shopping and dining, Plaza Lagos Town Center provides various entertainment options for visitors of all ages. You can catch a movie at the cinema, enjoy a game of bowling with friends, or even try your hand at virtual reality experiences. There are also events and live performances held at the plaza throughout the year, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.


Surrounding the mall, you’ll find beautifully landscaped gardens and scenic lakes, offering a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a leisurely walk, relax by the water, or simply enjoy the view as you soak in the peaceful ambiance.


Plaza Lagos Town Center is more than just a shopping destination; it’s a place to indulge in a complete leisure and entertainment experience. Whether you’re looking for retail therapy, a gastronomic adventure, or a fun-filled day with the family, this modern mall has it all. So, plan a visit to Plaza Lagos Town Center and enjoy the best of shopping, dining, and entertainment in Guayaquil.


Malecón del Salado

Located in the northern part of Guayaquil, Malecón del Salado is a tranquil and scenic waterfront area that offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city center. This hidden gem is tucked away along the banks of the Estero Salado, a serene estuary that is home to an abundance of diverse plant and animal species.


Malecón del Salado is a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers. The area is rich in biodiversity, making it a fantastic spot for birdwatching. As you stroll along the boardwalk, you’ll have the opportunity to observe various bird species, including herons, ducks, and even flamingos.


The boardwalk itself is beautifully landscaped, with lush greenery, gardens, and seating areas where visitors can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Take a leisurely walk, breathe in the fresh air, and soak in the natural beauty of the estuary and its surrounding flora and fauna.


One of the highlights of Malecón del Salado is the Botanical Garden, which showcases a wide variety of plant species native to Ecuador. The garden offers a peaceful oasis where you can learn about the country’s rich flora, including orchids, bromeliads, and ferns.


For art enthusiasts, Malecón del Salado is home to the Contemporary Art Museum of Guayaquil. This museum features rotating exhibitions of modern and contemporary artwork by both local and international artists. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Guayaquil.


Along the malecón, you’ll find a selection of cafes and restaurants offering beautiful views of the estuary. It’s the perfect spot to sit back, relax, and savor a delicious meal or a cup of coffee while enjoying the picturesque setting.


Malecón del Salado also hosts a variety of cultural events, including live music performances, open-air movie screenings, and art exhibitions. Check the local schedule to see if there are any upcoming events during your visit – it could be a great opportunity to experience the vibrant cultural scene of Guayaquil.


Whether you’re seeking a place to connect with nature, appreciate art, or simply enjoy a peaceful stroll, Malecón del Salado offers a serene and refreshing experience. With its natural beauty, abundance of wildlife, and cultural attractions, this hidden gem is a must-visit when in Guayaquil.


Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral

Situated in the heart of Guayaquil, the Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral is a magnificent and historic religious landmark that holds great cultural significance to the city. Also known as the Catedral Metropolitana de Guayaquil, this stunning cathedral is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and architecture admirers.


The Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral boasts a striking Neo-Gothic architectural style, characterized by its tall spires, intricate detailing, and grand arched windows. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a serene and reverent atmosphere, with beautiful stained glass windows, ornate altars, and magnificent religious art.


The history of the cathedral dates back to the 16th century when the city was first founded. Over the years, the cathedral has undergone several renovations and expansions, preserving its historical significance while incorporating modern features.


Within the cathedral, you’ll find several chapels dedicated to different saints and religious figures, each offering a unique and intimate space for prayer and reflection. The main altar is adorned with valuable religious art and sculptures, capturing the devotion and craftsmanship of the artists who created them.


One of the most revered features of the Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral is its ornate wooden pulpit, intricately carved with religious motifs and figures. This pulpit is a true masterpiece of craftsmanship and a testament to the rich artistic heritage of Guayaquil.


Attending a Mass or religious service at the Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral is a memorable experience that allows you to witness the faith and spirituality of the local community. The impressive architecture and the harmonious sound of the choir and organ create an atmosphere of reverence and awe.


Adjacent to the cathedral, you’ll find the Archbishop’s Palace, an elegant colonial-style building that serves as the residence of the Archbishop of Guayaquil. The palace is an interesting historical and architectural landmark worth exploring while visiting the cathedral.


The Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral is not only a religious symbol but also a beacon of strength and resilience for the Guayaquil community. It has withstood earthquakes, fires, and other challenges throughout its history, earning its place as an iconic symbol of the city’s faith and endurance.


Visiting the Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral allows you to appreciate the city’s rich religious heritage and marvel at its architectural splendor. Whether you’re seeking spiritual solace, interested in history and art, or simply appreciate the beauty of sacred buildings, a visit to this grand cathedral is a must when in Guayaquil.



Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and main port, is a destination that offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant Malecón 2000, wandering through the charming streets of Las Peñas, or immersing yourself in the natural wonders of Parque Seminario and Malecón del Salado, Guayaquil has a myriad of experiences to offer.


From the bustling markets filled with intricate handicrafts to the tranquil plazas and cathedrals steeped in history, Guayaquil combines the old and the new in a captivating way. The city’s revitalization efforts have transformed once-neglected areas into vibrant and thriving spaces, where locals and tourists can come together to enjoy the best of what Guayaquil has to offer.


Guayaquil is not only a feast for the senses but also a hub of gastronomic delights. From the traditional flavors of Ecuadorian cuisine to international fusion dishes, the city’s diverse culinary scene is sure to satisfy every palate.


As you explore the city, you’ll encounter the warm hospitality and vibrancy of the Guayaquil residents. From the bustling streets to the lively plazas, the welcoming nature of the local people adds an extra layer of charm to the experience.


Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, an art lover, or a foodie, Guayaquil offers something for everyone. The city’s rich heritage, stunning architecture, and natural wonders create a destination that is both captivating and unforgettable.


So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on an adventure through the vibrant streets, historical landmarks, and scenic landscapes of Guayaquil. Immerse yourself in the culture, indulge in the local cuisine, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Guayaquil is waiting to welcome you with open arms. Are you ready to explore all that this vibrant city has to offer?