I always fall for colonial architecture, so when I was in Guayaquil, Ecuador this past autumn, it’s not surprising I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous Las Peñas neighborhood.


Las Peñas was the first neighborhood built in Guayaquil – now Ecuador’s largest city. It was constructed 400 years ago in typical colonial Spanish style.

Unfortunately, it suffered various devastating fires that required rebuilding, but always in the colonial style, even once Ecuador had gained its independence.

These narrow, cobblestoned streets and colorful homes are fun to explore. If you’re wondering why all my photos make the neighborhood seem deserted, I should point out these were dawn shots. I started my days out early jogging, and always wound through Las Peñas before it was waking up and starting its day.

In the evenings, it’s very lively, with many bars, restaurants and al fresco dining enjoying breezes from the river.

I was told by the locals that this used to be the tough part of town, and that the police never stepped foot in these streets.

Things started to change once it was named a Heritage site, and financing began on refurbishing the neighborhood, beginning in 2002. Bars, restaurants and hotels soon followed, and this is now a treasured Guayaquil neighborhood. A testament to urban renewal projects.

Don’t miss out on a wander around Las Peñas on your next visit to Guayaquil.

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