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The Pearl of the Pacific, the warm smile of Guayaquil

TH -- What to do in Guayaquil while on a vacation to the Galapagos Islands? Well, Guayaquil isn’t a mere gateway to the enchanting islands.

Ecuador’s largest city and seaport – today known as the “Pearl of the Pacific” – this vibrant city has gone through a metamorphosis over the past few years. You can now discover its sensitively restored Las Peñas district, its oldest neighborhood, where centuries-old houses line narrow, atmospheric streets. Climb 444 steps to the top of historic Santa Ana Hill and you will be afforded spectacular panoramic views of the city. And while Guayaquil also has a rich collection of museums, good dining and great nightlife, its crown jewel is the Malecon 2000 – a two-mile pedestrian walkway along the Guayas River, lined with trendy restaurants, cafés and shops, as well as the botanical gardens and a contemporary art museum.

Then too, you can consider a day trip in the Greater-Guayaquil region, where awaiting you are horseback riding excursions on coastal haciendas, visits to still-working plantations, equatorial sand and surf at nearby beaches, and a whole array of other exciting getaways. But the real highlight here is its people, the “Guayacos”. You won’t find warmer nor friendlier people in Ecuador than them. Share a story with them with “cafe pasado,” perhaps a cigar, and end-up being invited to one of its iconic (and social) dining experience: mangrove crabs.

 

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“We had a great time in the jungle. Our experience was amazing. Can’t wait to tell you more about it.”Michael McLane