Barrio Las Peñas: The First Neighborhood in Guayaquil, Ecuador
Hey coffee and travel lovers, sorry for the absence! I’ve been pretty preoccupied with school lately and hadn’t had the time to really share more of my adventures. Anyways, since school now is officially over, I can finally continue writing about my travels in around Ecuador. So, let’s start off with one the of the prettiest neighborhood that I’ve stayed in and explored during my travels: Barrio Las Peñas.
A little history of Las Peñas
The Spaniards created and settled in Las Peñas during their conquest in the XV century. They named the neighborhood after the cliffs and rocks that formed the hill. Many prominent figures have lived in Las Peñas, including artists, writers and presidents; even the revolutionary Che Guevara also spent some time of his life in the area. In 1982, Las Peñas was declared as a Cultural Heritage in Ecuador. The barrio (neighborhood) has been restored a few times, including between the years of 2002 and 2008, while still maintaining its colonial architectural style.
What to see and how to get there
I think the best thing about exploring Las Peñas was enjoying the architecture. Everything was just so stunning, and you actually feel like you are in a different time period. If you like to take walks, go photo hunting and short hikes, go ahead and climb up Cerro Santa Ana (Santa Ana Hill). On your way up, you will pass through small cafes, restaurants, art galleries, etc., so enjoy every moment! Once up the hill, you will be able to see the view of the city and also the Guayas River. (Quick tip: don’t forget to bring water, a hat and mosquito repellent!)
Getting around in Guayaquil isn’t the easiest thing since it is a big city, and since I actually stayed in the area, it wasn’t a big deal for me to explore it. I would highly suggest that you ask more information regarding public transportation in the hostel/hotel where you are staying. I talked to a few fellow travelers, and they mostly went around the city by taxi. The public buses can be quite confusing, so I would probably suggest the same. However, be sure to double check with your accommodation, so they can give you suggestions/advice on which taxis to take.
My personal recommendation for Las Peñas
If you are visiting Guayaquil for more than 1 night, I would actually suggest staying in Las Peñas. During my visit, I stayed at the Cino Fabiani Guesthouse, which is actually located in the barrio. Staying in a very historical house and neighborhood was actually a very pleasant experience, and not many people know about this guesthouse (not even my Ecuadorian friend who actually lives in Guayaquil). So, if planning to stop by at Guayaquil, this would be my personal recommendation for you.
It’s a budget-friendly spot
My favorite thing about Las Peñas is the fact that it was budget-friendly. As a budget traveler, I love exploring places that offer a whole lot, but does not require a ton of money, and Barrio Las Peñas is definitely a perfect example of this! For me, this place was definitely worth checking out. On this note, I understand that many travelers often skip Guayaquil, but if you do find your way here, I hope you make time to visit this place. More people deserve to know about this little gem! Happy travels!