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Destination guide: Guayaquil
The city of Guayaquil offers endless tourist attractions and opportunities for excursions and exploration, including:
The Galapagos Islands
This archipelago is located 970 kilometers (603 miles) off the Ecuadorian coast, and consists of a series of 13 large volcanic islands, 6 smaller islands and 107 rocks and islets. The unique ecosystem is home to species that are unknown in other parts of the world including prehistoric iguanas, lava gulls and nocturnal swallow-tailed gulls, giant turtles, Galapagos penguins and hawks, and many other exotic birds. The site has been nicknamed "the Enchanted Isles".
The marvelous beaches, turquoise waters, marine life and coral formations are a paradise for visitors, who are welcome to surf, snorkel and dive the waters or discover the on-land lava formations, endemic vegetation and multitude of exotic birds.
Guayaquil Historical Park
The entertaining Guayaquil Historical Park takes visitors on a walk through life as it was experienced in the early 20th century. The park is made up of three areas: the wildlife zone, the urban architectural zone and the local traditions zone.
The park covers 8 hectares (20 acres) and includes a mangrove swamp that provides habitat for 28 species of animals and 90 species of birds such as parrots and harpy eagles.
Churute Mangrove Swamp
This ecological reserve can be found 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) from Guayaquil on Ecuador's border and is home to the country's largest and most important wetlands.
The mangrove swamps of Churute stretch over an area of 49,000 hectares (121,081 acres) and is the confluence of several streams and rivers. The trees in this grove can grow up to 30 meters (98 feet) high.
El Lago Park
Situated 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) west of Guayaquil, this park covers 41,000 hectares (101,313 acres) of land that include a man-made lake and several habitats including deciduous forest and dry tropical forest.
The park is a haven for picnics, walks, bird watching, horseback riding and water sports. This ecological site offers recreation to the public while preserving the natural surroundings for the enjoyment of all.
Cerro Santa Ana
Overlooking the city, Cerro Santa Ana is an icon of Guayaquil's past. Legend tells that in 1547, Spanish explorer Nino de Lecumberri was on his deathbed when he invoked the name of Santa Ana. She responded to his call, and in appreciation he mounted a cross with her name at the summit of this hill which was previously called Cerrito Verde. The new name has been used ever since.
Also known as "Iguana Park", this natural space is located downtown across from the Guayaquil Cathedral. Visitors are invited to explore its pathways where they will find a variety of iguanas and a monument to Simón Bolívar.