The bucket list dream trip is an action – planned, booked, and paid; an ultimate journey to the world-famous Galapagos Islands! The volcanic paradise is located in the Pacific sea off the coast of the planet’s most legendary equatorial country, Ecuador. But, there is no getting to the Darwinian paradise without touching on land first. The wayfaring pilgrimage undoubtedly reflects an overnight stay in the multifaceted coastal city of Guayaquil. It will soon be evident; this gleaming Latin city is far more than a layover destination, so plan for a few days to cherish it all. Before setting sail to the Galapagos Islands, check out these top 5 things to do in Guayaquil:
Plaza Lagos is a scenic town center brimming over with trendy restaurants, shopping boutiques, and water gardens. Located in the Samborodon neighborhood, the plaza offers luxurious amenities under the Ecuadorian sun, with distinguished locales for walking, relaxing, shopping, or taking in the sunset. Regarded as one of the safest and most serene first-class locations in Guayaquil, it’s a favorite place for locals and visitors alike any hour of the day.
Malecon 2000 is the name given to Guayaquil’s incredible 2 km long, waterfront boardwalk. Snaking along the city’s founding river, the Rio Guayas, the modern yet historically relevant pathway is an icon of the city. A place of intrinsic pride for Guayaquilanos, the promenade has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a notable model of urban regeneration. The pedestrian area highlights culutural monuments, gardens with fountains, shopping opportunities, a boat dock, IMAX theaters, food courts, and more.
A popular highlight of Guayaquil travel is posing for photos or simply mingling with the resident iguanas of Parque Seminario. Also known as Parque Bolivar or Parque de los Iguanas, the breathtaking 17th century park houses the provoking Palace of Guayaquil and the Cathedral of Guayaquil. The magnificent framework provides a startling backdrop for capturing the native iguanas who have resided in the park since the beginning of the city’s colonization.
The sparkling Ecuadorian waterfront city of Guayaquil provides ample opportunities to capture the scenic city reflected in the surrounding waterways. One site that shouldn’t be missed is the Velero Bridge referred to locally as Puente El Velero. Particularly picturesque after dark, a blue web of light stretches over the water resembling the beacon of a sailboat drifting in the Guayas River. The two best ways to see the Velero Bridge are by driving over it through Barcelona Ave or from the boardwalk along Malecon 2000.
Considered one of Guayaquil best secrets, the mystical Parque del Historico in Guayaquil offers a delightful connection to history and nauture, right in the heart of the city. For those with only enough time to visit one place in the city, this is the locale that takes precedence over all others. The 19-acre Eden is a natural preserve effectively protecting both the inherent local culture and the endemic animals of the Guayaquil region. The experience is a true step back in time where visitors can relish the splendors of the old age while commencing in the native habitats of rare and endangered Ecuadorian species. A lucky few can even rest their heads for the night among the luxurious suites of the park’s restored colonial mansion, Hotel del Parque, awarded as the best hotel in Ecuador.