Guayaquil is the principal city of Ecuador. Eventhough it is more considered a commercial city rather than touristic, it is the main and only entrance for the Galapagos Islands and the southern beaches . Salinas beach is famous for the deep sea fishing and scuba diving; Machalilla, Montañita, Pto. Lopez and Salango, offer nice beach resorts including archeological tours, whale-watching programs, birdwatching, and the most beautiful beaches in South America… sea, sun & sand…
CITY TOUR: (3 HRS. APROX)
Visit the city starting with the Centennial Park in Avenue 9 de Octubre. Continue in this avenue to see the city regeneration, passing by the first firemen station, the Masonic temple and the few buildings from beginning of the 20th century. Continue through 9 de Octubre Avenue, the principal street in downtown area. Pass by the San Francisco Plaza, Banco Central building, and Civic Plaza in front of the Government House and City Hall. A short walking tour from this point to the municipal museum (2 blocks ahead) and Visit the Seminario Park, well known as Ïguana’s Park, infront of the Cathedral Church. Continue our visit through Chile street up to the intersection with Avenue Olmedo, passing by the First State University of Guayaquil, an old building with white columns and wide windows, typical from guayaquilenian architecture.
Our second stop will be at the South Market in Malecon 2000, to visit the Integration Plaza and artisans market, the Union Club and the first fort of Guayaquil where a statue of Jose Joaquin de Olmedo (first major of Guayaquil) stands in front of the Guayas River. Continue the visit through the Malecon Simon Bolivar to our next stop: the Civic Plaza. see the Moorish Tower , the City hall, and the Rotonda Monument.
Continue by car among the Malecon passing by the botanical gardens and northern end and visit to Las Peñas, the old neighborhood where the city was born, located at the foot of Santa Ana Hill. Continue the visit to the north of the city , passing by the General Hospital, Cementery and principal Avenues.
SANTA ANA HILL AND ART GALLERIES: (2 HOURS )
Star the visit driving through Malecon Simon Bolivar up to Santa Ana Hill. Visit the Hill , with its colorful houses and 422 steps all the way up to the Top of the City View Point. Visit the Chapel and the lighthouse. During the stairways, we will stop at coffee shops and souvenir stores.
After this visit, we continue through the old neighborhood of Las Peñas to visit the art galleries and enjoy the artists work at their own ateliers.
MALECON 2000 AND CAFÉ COSTEÑO: 2 1/2 HOURS
Start the at the Southern Market, then a second stop at the Civic Plaza, entering the Moorish Tower and walking through the plaza up to La Rotonda. A third stop at the Garden Park in Malecon, walking to enjoy the variety of tropical plants, flower and almost 12 different birds. Stop at a riverside coffee shop for an afternoon coffee and “humitas” (corn tamal filled with cheese stuffed in corn shell).
MUSEUMS OF GUAYAQUIL: 3 HRS.
Municipal Museum of History. A tour through its 5 main rooms: prehispanic cultures, colonial art, Independence, and its largest archaeology collection and religious art. MAAC, Contemporary Art and archaeological Museum, located at the north bound of Malecon and the Presley Norton Archaeological collection are some of our choices in this tour. According to passengers preference, a visit to the Firemen’s museum will also be included.
PARQUE HISTORICO GUAYAQUIL- 2 hours ( except Mondays)
Parque Historico Guayaquil is a project of the Banco Central an attempt to recapture our culture for our children. This visit is an invitation to discover our profound sense of identity, and a mirror in which we can see the traditions that make up our origins as a city and the roots of our culture. Once inside you will find yourself transported to a world where past becomes present. In one beautiful journey you will see before your very eyes the species that used to populate the ancient province of Guayaquil. From deers to tapirs, monkeys, wild cats, you will discover an amazing world, and at the same time discover that nature is an essential part of our lives, and not just something to admire from afar. You will also take a trip through the countryside to a hacienda of the day, with its buildings its traditions and its wealth, and discover the way in which the craftsmen used to work. You can watch or, if you are feeling lively, take part in the duties of the hacienda, and discover this unknown side of coastal life, a side which has remained virtually unchanged since the colonial era.
CERRO BLANCO PROTECTED FOREST ( 4 hours approx)
Located 16 kms. On the road between Guayaquil and Salinas, it is one of the few forsts with a limestone foundation in the world and it is a representative sample of the Dry Tropical Forest. It is a refuge for more than 196 species of birds.
You can walk through the natural paths (3 different ones) and visits may vary according to the path chosen from 1 hour to 5 hours.
COASTAL FARMS AT “LA RUTA DEL CACAO” 5-6 hours)
Visit a traditional farm on the ecuadorian coastal plain only 10 mts. Above sea level. This is called an agroturism visit, as you will be able to feel, see, and share the traditions of our countryside workers. You will see our plantations (banana, cacao, balsa, and others) as well as the coexistance with the abundant wildlife which includes monkeys, wild cats, bears, crocodiles and others( only at Jambeil). Another activity you will be able to learn about is shrimpfarming. Visits are restricted on months of January to April due to our rainy season.
- “El Castillo” 40 mins. From Gye. Road: Guayaquil – Salinas
Manglares Churute – 6 hours full day
Located 45 minutes away from Guayaquil, Churute keeps some of the few remnants of pristine mangrove forest that can be found along the ecuadorian coast, as well as a rain lagoon and several hills. Optional activities in the area include canoe rides along the natural channels, hike to the pluvial pond to meet its interesting inhabitant, the horned-screamer, birdwatch through the day or hike into the hills to see the howler monkeys and experience the flora and fauna of the cloud forest.
The program will include a 45 minutes ride from Guayaquil to board the canoe that will take us around canals and mangroves for approximately two hours, having the chance to see the birdlife, as well as the local fishermen and crab catchers in their daily activities. Stop in a local community, where snacks will be served. Return to Guayaquil.
LAS PEÑAS ART GALLERIES &CASA CACAU ART LOUNGE ( 3 hrs)
Star visiting Las Peñas Neighborhood, the oldest colonial area in town, where wooden made houses became the architectural heritage in town from the beginning of 20th century. This houses have become art galleries where visitors may share with the local artists their job and paintings. Continue the visit to Casa Cacau Art Lounge, to visit Ms. Patricia Leon a prominent local artist who is closely involved with the history or the cocoa plantations, and the visitor will have the opportunity to taste and try the different types of cacao’s preparation. Also she uses chocolate as main ingredient to create different items such as creams, candles and also uses the cocoa for her paintings.
This visit can be also combined with a local meal at her house.
COOKING CLASSES ( 4-5 hours)
In this tour, the passengers will learn some ecuadorean recipes such as the locro de papas ( potato soup) or the Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche or a grilled seabass with patacones. Will start at the market buying the necessary items for the preparation, and then visit a local family house to share the cooking experience with the family, while preparing the food and have the opportunity to learn about guayaquileños lifestyle. Passengers will have the preparation as the lunch.
PANAMA HAT FACTORY ( 1 -2 hours
Another nice visit will be the Ecuandino panama hats factory. The passenger will get first a visual description of the toquilla palm and the whole process to get the straw that will be used for the hats. Then, we will visit the factory to share with the artisans working on the final touches for the hat to be ready for export. And finally will have the visit to the showroom to admire the final work on hats and sandals worked on straw and leather. Possibilities to buy the products
PACIFIC COAST: ANCIENT TRADITIONS FULL DAY
Depart Guayaquil early morning. Take the Pacific Coast Highway for one hour 30 minutes approx.
First visit at Atahualpa , a small village of ebony-artists, who have been working in furniture for more than 100 years ago. Continue the visit through the Oil Camp of Ancon, and the fishermen village of Anconcito. Lots of beautiful and unexpected moments can be experienced in this place.
Continue along the Mar Bravo Sea Shore Beach to reach Salinas, a coastal city located in the Province of Santa Elena, Ecuador. It is the seat of the canton that bears its name. The westernmost city on mainland Ecuador, Salinas is an important tourist center. Visit the Chocolatera viewpoint. a large cliff that is the most salient point of the Peninsula of Santa Elena where the north and south moving currents colide. From here, take the north highway up to Colonche, the tiny agricultural village well known for its religious beliefs. Admire the 250 years wooden made church.
Forward north,passing by the ancient fishermen villages of Libertador, San Pedro and Valdivia, a short visit to Barcelona and Sinchal, the two towns that became famous because all the families work the Straw…the principal material used on the toquilla hats. These elderly people had been working in peeling, cooking and drying the toquilla and have it ready for the knitters of the zone.
Another important mean of life of these people is the vegetable ivory seed. Sitio Nuevo is another surprise. Visit the settlers homes, turned out into their studios, with rustic machines and all their creativity to bring up amazing carved designs.
Continue to Montañita, a lively town full of restaurants, surfers, nice beach… Free time to have lunch, walk the tiny streets, relax at the beach. , We return to Guayaquil with the most satisfactory feeling of a great trip!