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
Among the alley ways 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
The view from Cerro Santa Ana

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
Cino Fabiani Guesthouse

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!

Un abrazo,



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  1. This looks like such a colorful neighborhood. Sometimes the best places to go are the ones everybody else skips out on. I stayed in a tiny town in Peru once that everyone else just passes through, and we found a great pottery artist there. So you never know!

  2. Looks interesting and very historical. However always when someone writes about traveling in the South America I start to think about a) language and b) safety. Was it there? Did people understand English?

    1. Most people speak Spanish, yes. But people who work with international travelers of course speak English, as other non-English speaking countries in the world. There are countries that are safer in South America, including Ecuador. I think safety depends on how well you present yourself. Right now I live in the US, and sometimes I feel safer when I’m actually abroad in other countries. It all depends on where you are and knowing the area.

    1. You can fly to Guayaquil from Quito, yes. Usually tickets to Galapagos are much cheaper from Guayaquil than Quito, so people visit the city as a layover. You can also take a bus, but it will take about 9 hours or so.

  3. This looks like such a cute and undiscovered little town. The vibrant colors just make it seem like such a happy place! Great that you can get cheap flights to the Galapagos here too – it would make for a great little stop on the way to or from!

  4. I wish I’d known about this beautiful little neighborhood when I visited Guayaquil before heading to the Galapagos. I would have definitely stayed there. Your photos are lovely.

  5. Nice! Great that it’s an affordable place to visit – would love to know about your favorite dining spots (and if it’s inexpensive, that means great food at all price ranges!). Cheers!

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