|Guayaquil is Ecuador`s largest city and the country`s chief sea port and industrial and commercial centre. Founded in 1534 it lies on the bank of the chocolate brown Rio Guayas. There are now 2,000,000 people living there.
We took a taxi from the airport to our swanky hotel, the Palace hotel in downtown. After relaxing in our room (which had a kingsize bed and cable tv) we took a stroll down to the Malecon via the San Francisco church and Parque Rocafluerte. On the Malecon promenade there is Guayaquil`s most famous monument, La Rotonda. This commemorates the meeting of the liberators of south america - Simon Bolivar of Venezuela and Jose San Martin of Argentina - in the city on 26th July 1822.
The riverfront is a wide tree lined waterfront promenade known as Malecon 2000. It has been built to try and attract more tourists and contains shops, bars, gardens, fountains, monuments and shopping malls. It was a nice walk but we were getting hungary so we returned to a pizza restaurant on blvd 9 Octobre.
Nick`s Birthday !!!! After receiving lovely presents and cards from Monica we both went for a stroll around town and had a look at the cathedral (built in 1695). We also walked in the parque Bolivar where there were squirrels and lots of iguanas walking about ! The town has quite a few nice colonial buildings and although it is a big city, the area we were in was clean and nice looking.
After a late lunch we returned to the hotel and Nick spent some time on the phone to his family while Monica slept ! In the evening we headed to the restaurant `La Patio` in the Oro Verde hotel. It was a very good restaurant and we had some lovely food and a bottle of our favourite Trapiche Malbec wine. Feeling very stuffed, we returned to our room and watched some cable tv.
After breakfast we relaxed for a bit, enjoying a last little time in our lovely hotel room ! before heading to the bus station where we jumped on a bus to take us to Montanita.