Cerro Santa Ana
It was on this hill, 60 meters high, that the city of Guayaquil was born. From this iconic location in the center of the city you can take a 360-degree visual tour, with breathtaking views of the whole city, in just a few steps. It has become a vibrant entertainment hub for the locals, with gastronomic, cultural, and leisure activities to suit everyone.
Lining the well known Diego Noboa steps up to the top of the hill, all 444 of them, you will find craft shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
From 6pm, the atmosphere starts to light up, with jazz, salsa, reggaetón and electronic music pumped out at every turn. The supply of drinks and snacks available at the small establishments is wildly diverse, guaranteed to please palates of all tastes and all ages.
At step 10 you will come across one of the first and most popular hotspots of the surrounding, Diva Nicotina. The stuff legends are made of in Guayaquil, the bar boasts live shows with national music performances. There are regular tributes to rock bands, but for jazz lovers, Diva Nicotina offers the famous “Jazz Wednesdays”, beginning at 10:00pm with a cost of $5 per person.
Just before you reach the top of Cerro Santa Ana you will find the only lookout bar in Guayaquil, Puerto Pirata Bar. Its exterior is a replica of “La Capitana”, a ship loaded with treasures that was wrecked off the coast of Chanduy. The decoration of the place aims to mimic the original interior design of La Capitana, which is only fitting for the port city, with the river a stones throw away.
On the Las Peñas side you will also find numerous options for places to hang out and have fun, to see where the evening takes you. Arthur’s Café is known for its wide range of typical Ecuadorian food: Humitas, hayacas, patacones with cream cheese, muchines, and empanaditas all made from local plaintain. But since it’s not all about the food, they also offer a traditional cocktail menu, including mojitos, margaritas and piña coladas as well as all the other usual suspects.
If you are craving a cultural experience and are already familiar with the works of great Ecuadorian artists, we recommend stopping in at La Casa de la Artista Plastica, a contemporary art gallery that offers a little something different. Further down the path you will find the Christian Moreano Gallery, a workshop type space where painting classes are held for all ages. Visitors can have their portraits or caricatures done by the artists to take home.
The most emblematic bar in the area is Rayuela. It is well known due to the resounding praise for their food, as well as the promotions they offer. For example, a bottle of red wine and a pizza for $25.00 was the special for the day of our visit, with these specials changing daily. At Rayuela the recommended shot for tequila lovers is the famous Silver Bala, and for groups of friends who frequent the place, their order is never without at least one portion of nachos.
Another entertainment center well known by the locals of Guayaquil is La Paleta, an ideal spot to go with friends for good music, exquisite finger food and everyone’s favorite cocktails. Very bohemian in its vibe and decoration, it makes customers feel at home as soon as they walk in the door. The cheese board and Sangría come highly recommended at La Paleta, which opens from Wednesday to Saturday from 8:30pm till late.
Joy is probably the most eponymous spot in Las Peñas, where you can buy the famous Montecristi “Panama hats”. The models are varied, in different colors, with different decorative bands, and are available across every different price range. The staff are very experienced and have a knack for recommending the perfect hat every time.
Further along the stairs is Casa Pílsener. This spot is highly recommended for those who are looking for a little more tranquility and a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a cold beer with friends. Their 2×1 promotions in the afternoons are notorious, with acoustic rock nights every Thursday from 10:00pm onwards.
The options at Cerro Santa Ana are endless, by the end of your tour you will certainly have found more than one place that fulfills your expectations. Regardless of whether the plan is quiet or adventurous, whether your group prefers to eat a pizza, have a beer or visit a gallery, this area offers a little bit of everything in the wonderful bohemian atmosphere of this part of Guayaquil.