The “Las Penas” neighbourhood of Guayaquil in Ecuador looked a great place to visit according to things to do in Guayaquil. It was rated #2 in Trip Advisor. Situated at the northern end of the Malecon in Guayaquil it was declared as a Cultural Heritage Site in 1982. Great photos can be found on the web, we couldn’t wait to explore.
So, Las Penas Guayaquil, where did we go wrong?
Our first attempt was on Sunday 10th May, 2015 which happened to be Mother’s Day. We had our walking shoes on, water bottles in hand, all ready to climb the 444 steps to the church and lighthouse and have lunch in one of the many restaurants that we had read about.
We walked along the picturesque Malecon from our hotel enjoying the water views and the craft bobbing up and down on the river. We reached the bottom of the steps, looked up and started to climb the 444 steps. Not far into the climb we wondered where on earth are the restaurants and the bars that were supposed to be open, we were expecting a buzz of people enjoying the colourful neighbourhood, sitting outside eating and drinking. We felt the scorching heat off the concrete pathway as we climbed, our water bottles were now empty. We huffed and puffed and reached the top and enjoyed the cool breeze from the top of the lighthouse. The view is worth the climb, but still we wonder what is going on.
We commence our descent and pop into one of the two bars that were open for a beer. Looking out over the city we relax with our icy cold beer and enjoy the view. Ecuador does close down on a Sunday, which is rare these days anywhere, giving families time to be one another. That must be the explanation we say to ourselves as we head back down to the only shop open which was the ice cream shop at the bottom of the hill. Beer and ice cream for Mother’s Day lunch, a first for this combination.
Second Attempt Six Weeks Later
6 weeks later we have to be back in Guayaquil, this time we plan to visit on a Wednesday for dinner. Heading off the same path at 4pm in the afternoon, we arrive to Las Penas to find that everything is now closed except for one bar. Restaurants have “Clausurado” seals taped to the doors, it is like a ghost town, only people around are the inhabitants. We venture into the only place that is open for a beer and try to find out what has happened. The council has closed many of the businesses, not really sure whether it is hygiene reasons or whether they are just doing due diligence because of the soon to be busy period.
A few weeks later we find a report on the Ecuador Expat Facebook page that stated 13 businesses have been closed and they are hesitant to talk about it for fear of retaliation from the city. Those who will talk have said it has to do with the bars not meeting new regulations which require them to be at least 7 metres wide with at least 70 square meters of space.
Should we attempt a third time in Guayaquil
To Travel Too Tip: if you want to head to Las Penas for a drink or a meal check the current situation before you go. If it is the view you want definitely go.
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