Ecuador’s largest and most populated city boasts one of the most important ports on the Eastern Pacific coast, which is why it was nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’ in the mid-17th century. The Malecón 2000 is a luxurious and impressive 2.5-kilometre boardwalk, recently built on top of the old Malecón Simón Bolívar and is lined with museums, gardens, fountains, shops, restaurants, bars and lookout points. Tourist boats leave its docks and head for the emblematic Guayas river, which was declared a ‘healthy public space’ by the Pan American and World Health Organisations.
Immerse yourself in the history of Guayaquil with an obligatory visit to the oldest neighbourhood of Las Peñas, located at the end of the Malecón, where you can still see vestiges of Colonial times. This was the city’s nucleus, and has been home to important players in both Ecuadorian and world history (Che Guevara worked for free as a paediatrician to his people when he stopped in Guayaquil). Today, it is a bohemian area, mainly inhabited by artists who seek inspiration in its narrow alleyways, old façades and stunning views of the Guayas.
Lovers of nature have plenty of options, as Guayaquil boasts a vast array of natural parks, the most noteworthy being the Guayaquil Historical Park. Located outside the city’s perimeter, the park is home to a mangrove swamp and a wooden walkway that crosses it. Here, you will see numerous species living together in captivity, including white-tailed deer, raccoons, peccaries, ocelots, sloths, monkeys and crocodiles. The park also houses a replica of Ancient Guayaquil, and some of its original buildings were even transferred to the park. This city is without a doubt the best place to discover the main fauna and history of the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’.
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