Ok, we’re checked in to our hotel! No time to relax, let’s go see this place! Downtown Guayaquil, Ecuador! A quaint town on the west coast of Ecuador that lies mostly on a river that runs through it. The Rio Guayas! A short walk from our hotel, we find the Parque Bolivar, honoring the one and only Simon Bolivar, a famous hero here.
Inaugurated in 1895 it was originally called the “Seminario Park”, in honor of a donation made by Miguel Suarez Seminario. It is the home of the great Liberator, Simon Bolivar and is also known as the “Park of the Iguanas” because a great number of these prehistoric reptiles make their habitat in these gardens and trees. Yes, I said trees. It can be a little creepy to look up and see these creatures looking down at you. I hope they can’t jump! They are Green Iguanas also known as the Iguanas of Guayaquil.
On the west side of Parque Bolívar is the “Catedral Metropolitana de Guayaquil” cathedral originally built in 1547 as a wooden building – however, like much of Guayaquil, it was destroyed by fire. The present structure, completed in 1948 and renovated in 1978, is simple and modern, despite an extremely ornate front entrance.
Ecuador places like to put these big bold signs to remind you of where you are! Really fun to check out and visit!
You may even see the “Q”uirky lady that I go everywhere with! My wife and love, Elee!
Enough about the history, our intrepid group of travelers continues touring the area, noting the colorful crosswalks, statues and sights as we find the “Malecon”, a broad Esplanade, Roadway and Seawall on the coast, in this case, on the Rio Guayas.
We encountered Vendors of all kinds, a Food Court, boats along the river and locals and tourists alike walking about enjoying themselves! One of the most stiking features we witnessed was the cleanliness of the streets. There was a lack of litter or graffiti of any kind, which was quite wonderful to see and in stark contrast to what we anticipated!
Then, we were told, there was a hill to climb with a view from the top! Well, don’t tell a photographer twice! But my traveling group was of the same mind, so off we went in search of the hill. Again, strikingly clean streets which we did not expect for a 3rd world country! I have seen 1st world countries with less respect for their neighborhoods! And, you’ll notice, we came across the sign that marked the beginning of the steps up the hill.
Very colorful buildings on the way up, laundry hanging out to dry, people milling everywhere! Vendors approached us at every turn, trying to get customers to buy their wares! Restaurants and Bars tried to pull up in, but we were forced to inform them that if we joined them for a local concoction, we might not make it to the top!
So, the climb continued, until we reached what we thought was the top. You might notice the steps were numbered (which I’m sure saved many an argument later, especially after some of those bars refreshed weary travelers! Alas, at the top was a tower that offered even more spectacular views! So, of course, we had to climb another 150 (or so) more steps to make it to the actual top! (Click on the pictures for a larger view!)
But the views were quite worth it! You might notice one of the photos from the top includes a view of a future hotel (just to the right of tall building) that we would be in tomorrow.
Being up the top for sunset was a treat also! Then, with one of our group with bad knees, we had to start down. Anyone who knows knees, you know that going down steps is the absolute worst (sorry Elee!) but like the trooper she is, she worked her way down. Well, what do you know? One of the local bars that tried to seduce us in on our way up, was quite successful on our way down! You’ll see our selfie in the open air restaurant enjoying cool refreshing drinks! I must add that Guayaquil was quite warm and humid, even at sunset!
Then, you might ask, what’s the deal with the couple having an intimate moment? Well, anyone who gets to know me, knows that everywhere I go, I always find pairs of lovers to photograph!
The last photo??? What is that??? There is a story there too! This picture has a story to it. We heard about this restaurant in the back streets of Guayaquil and we located it and ate there. Good food! On the menu, they offered red and white wine. Elee ordered a glass of white wine. No problem! Next thing we know, the waiter gets in a car (The restaurant was open air on the street) and leaves. About 30 minutes later he returns with a bottle of Chardonnay (which he clearly went to a store to buy) and then they served us our drinks, LOL. Then, after we were done, we asked the restaurant to call us a taxi. So the waiter walked into the street and called out to his friends to see who wanted to be a taxi for us! So one of his friends became our taxi back to our hotel. Are we crazy or what????
Our appetizer? Deep fried zucchini slices topped with local cheese and some kind of bread topping. Yum!