Day 1: Guayaquil City Tour
Drive through the colorful streets of Guayaquil, one of the most important port cities of Ecuador. The first stop is Malecon 2000, an 80-million-dollar riverside complex built along a two-mile stretch of the Guayas River. The waterfront boardwalk features a multitude of restaurants, cafes, and shops, as well as museums with art exhibitions and free weekend jazz and classical music concerts. See Simon Bolivar Park, famous for its tree iguanas and then visit La Rotonda, the watchtower, Las Penas, and Santa Ana Hill, a charming colonial section filled with art studios, cafes, and restored 400-year-old houses. Continue to either the Historical Park or the Botanical Gardens.
Guayaquil Historical Park
A new attraction and the pride of Guayaquil is the Parque Historico, or "Historical Park." This eight-hectare natural mangrove habitat is surrounded by swamps and forests and is home to many species of trees, including the "Platanillo," which grows naturally around the Daule River's tideland. The fresh waters of the Daule River and the tropical climate are the perfect setting to bring the past back to life in this colorful ecological park. Visitors can experience the flora and fauna that once populated this coastal area, including parrots, tapirs, and deer. The Historical Park also hosts replicas of haciendas as well as communities populated by people in historic costumes. Well-trained, multi-lingual, local guides display the local crop of cocoa bean and show visitors other artifacts from the campo.
Guayaquil Botanical Gardens
Not far from downtown Guayaquil, overlooking the Guayas River, the Botanical Gardens house a very interesting array of orchids and an exhibition of flora native to Ecuador. This garden holds approximately 324 botanical species that can be observed in their natural habitat among hardwood trees, fruit trees, and ornamental and exotic plants. In addition, there is an auditorium, a gift store, and a coffee shop. You can also observe more than 73 bird species and 60 butterfly species in the Botanical Gardens. Its flora and fauna have made it an attraction appealing to eco-tourists, and it also provides scientific interest for both locals and foreigners who enjoy the orchids' natural reserve and the habitat preservation of these stunning species, some of which are in danger of extinction. Your Botanical Gardens tour includes a picnic lunch.