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Santiago de Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city and a bustling, industrial port overlooking the sluggish Guayas River. Founded in 1538, the city is gateway to both Ecuador’s southern Andes and Pacific coast as well as provides access to the breathtaking Galapagos Islands. Long avoided by visitors owing to its rundown architecture and seedy reputation, the government has made huge efforts to regenerate the port and fresh investment has breathed life back into the city. The seafront promenade of the Malecon buzzes with cafes, bars and parks while the historic Las Penas quarter has been revitalised and the colourful wooden houses brought back to their former glory. Within the city centre, colonial monuments vie with shopping malls and land iguanas run free in the Bolivar Park, arguably the city’s most famous attraction!