As I stood in the lighthouse atop of a hill, staring across the sea of colorful impoverished Ecuadorian homes, I felt the waves of gratitude sink in. Exploring the globe is a love of mine but I never thought I’d visit Ecuador so soon. South America is a continent where most travellers prefer to do a multiple city tour of, especially if you’re from the other side of the globe. My time in Ecuador was short but was it ever amazing.
Being a part of the Young Living family has brought me to more places in the world that I’d ever thought. What with Young Living having farms all over the world? No big deal! 😛 Our schedules were packed to the rafters with the YL itinerary, visiting the farm, taking our sweet time at the YL health spa and the YL Academy. If you haven’t read my post about that yet, the link is here.
We could’ve extended our stay but we decided to extend our trip to our transit city, London. So we had 1 day to learn a little more about Guayaquil and thankfully the ever-so-friendly local guide, Jose, agreed to do a separate private tour for us!
Parque de Seminario
We started our day at Parque de Seminario (Seminary Park) in front of the Catedral Metropolitana de Guayaquil. It’s a small pre-historic park located in the center of the city that is overrun by iguanas that it’s now also known as Parque de las Iguana (Iguana Park). Locals stroll pass, play chess or play music to the rhythm of their own time while iguanas crawl around freely on the grass and trees! Oh, and pigeons too! Humans, reptiles and birds are all welcome, no biggie! It was believed that this park has been home to iguanas since the colonial times, no wonder they’ve now made it their home.
Catedral Metropolitana de Guayaquil
We briefly stepped into the second oldest church in Ecuador, dating back since the 1700s before it was renovated in the 1920s after a fire. There was a service at the time so we didn’t get to explore much of the beautiful architecture but we did manage to capture some. This renovated neo-Gothic style cathedral has been rebuilt several times and now showcases impressive glasswork and paintings that even I was in awe of.
Cerro Santa Ana
A must visit, the Santa Ana hill is home to Barrio Las Peñas neighbourhood where we started our ascent up the 444 steps (maybe even more).The gradual climb up the stairs weren’t as gruelling as one would think, with friendly and smiley passer-bys, pretty fountains and the amazing architectures. Gorgeous colonial-style homes, shops, restaurants and cafes, it’s a neighbourhood full of culture, colors and a sense of calmness.
We then reach the top of the hill to be welcomed by a mini esplanade comprising of Lighthouse Cerro Santa Ana and Santa Ana Chapel Hill. Climb up the lighthouse and you’ll definitely be at the highest point of the city overlooking a 360 degrees view of Guayaquil. Heading over to the other side of the esplanade, we see the hill of the rural homes a little clearer. The bright and beautiful colors of the houses are such a deception to what it really is. Home to the impoverished. Never judge a book by its cover right? Letting the view sink in, I was filled with waves of gratitude.
Parque Histórico Guayaquil
A park where colonial history meets zoo, it’s a family-friendly destination that I reckon both kids and adults will love. It comprises of 3 zones; Wildlife, Urban Architecture and Traditions. The Wildlife Zone exhibits exotic animals, some of which are endemic to the city, living in a semi-natural habitat. The Urban Architecture Zone showcases the development of early-20th-century architecture in Guayaquil which has a restaurant, soon-to-be hotel and live theatrical plays! Focusing more on local traditions, crafts and agriculture, the Traditions Zone leds us deeper into how the poorer community lives.
Lunch at Lo Nuestro
This is a must-eat! A colonial meets modern style local bistro that serves delicious home-cooked Ecuadorian dishes. Fresh foods, live music, intricate decors and a 3-tiered tray full of desserts of your choice. It’s a more-than pleasant surprise for our tummies to end our Ecuador trip.