A couple weeks ago, I was walking around in 90°F weather, speaking Spanish and eating coconut ice cream almost everyday. This is Guayaquil, the city my parents grew up with and where they met. Although, I have a very close connection with Ecuador it’s been over 5 years since I’ve visited. Now that I’m 20, I’m seeing this country through a different point of view and I’m happy to share everything I know about my country.
Guayaquil is one of the most popular cities, other than Quito (capital) and Cuenca which you probably hear about most often.
The colorful buildings you see behind is what the entire city used to look like, where is all started.
Where I am standing is El Malecón 2000, which was made in (you guessed it) 2000. It’s said to be best parts about Guayaquil. A 1.5 mile long boardwalk stretches across next to Guayas river, filled with monuments, restaurants, shops, foundations and the first IMAX theater in South America.
I visited in December, so El Malecón was also decorated with a tall bright christmas tree and these red colorful letters that spell out Guayaquil. Similar to the block letters in Amsterdam, everyone wants a picture and it’s hard to find a moment to yourself.
Walk to the end of the boardwalk and you’ll find an endless amount of stairs that take you through Las Peñas (Santa Ana Hill) to a breathless view at the top. Las Peñas consists of very old and colored houses that have been turned into shops, restaurants and bars. Although it’s now considered to be tourist attraction, this hill was where the city was born and it has a lot of history. Each house has a picture frame hanging next to it showing you how the house orginally looked like over 100 years ago.
Each step is numbered so you can brag about how any steps you walked up (:
If you ever find yourself in Guayaquil, I would definitely recommend climbing up Las Peñas. With over 400 steps and the blazing Ecuadorian sun, it’s a pretty hefty walk especially if you haven’t been active in a while. But just grab a water bottle (maybe a few), sunglasses and your camera for Instagram-worthy pictures.
Las Peñas is often criticized for being dangerous and a popular spot for burglary, but that is no longer a problem. The stairs are safe, there’s a safety guard almost every 50 steps and I felt no sense of danger. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend wearing expensive jewelry or waiving around your brand new iPhone but that goes for anywhere in Guayaquil. Dress simple, grab a pair of comfy sneakers and go during the day for the best view.
The view after 400 steps