Guayaquil the Ecuador's largest city
and is the focus of the nation's economy. Its is wrestling
its reputation as a sweltering, dangerous port town and standing it on
its hot head. Guayaquil has recently undertaken massive urban renewal
projects (which are focused primarily on attracting tourists to the
city) on a scale nearly unmatched in South America.
Its flagship development project, called Malecon
2000, has transformed the once dangerous waterfront along the wide Rio
Guayas into a 2.Skm outdoor architectural showpiece. The historical
neighborhood of Las Peñas, as well as Guayaquil's principal downtown
thoroughfare, 9 de Octubre, have also been restored. All these areas, as
well as the city's downtown parks, plazas and museums, merit a day or
two of exploration.
Guayaquil has several colonial landmarks, including
the church of Santo Domingo (16th cent.). It is the seat of three
universities and a polytechnic institute.
Although most people fly to the Galapagos Islands
from Quito, all flights to the islands either stop or originate in
Guayaquil. Subsequently, Guayaquil is the next best place after Quito to
set up a Galapagos trip. Besides being Ecuador's most populous city, the
provincial capital is also, by far, the country's most important port.
More exports and imports pass through Guayaquil than all other
Ecuadorian ports combined.