Guayaquil has urban parks for people who want to enjoy the gifts of nature. Parque Seminario or Parque de la Iguanas, located in the downtown area, is a place for recreation and a shelter of life and history. The main attraction is he iguanas that move freely throughout the area.
Its history and touristic offer lay in the three names created throughout the years: Parque Seminario, Parque Bolivar or Parque de las Iguanas. This public space of unique beauty is the oldest and it is located in the heart of Guayaquil, surrounded by a colonial atmosphere, which deserves a visit.
This park occupies a block among the streets named Chile, Chimborazo, Clemente Ballén and 10 de Agosto. It is located across the Metropolitan Cathedral, a place of gothic and majestic style. Around Parque Seminario one can find other colonial buildings, such as the museum and municipal library, which stores with jealousy the history of Ecuador.
Being located between the buildings and the traffic, Parque Seminario serves as an air filter, perfect for a rest of the recreation of its local people or tourists. Everyday dozens of tourists come to this park, attracted by the spectacle of the docile iguanas, which move around the bushy trees, the ornamental gardens and its cobblestone floor.
There are dozens of reptiles that have grown up to one meter long. With time they have lost their fear of humans, so they let people pet them. Their color varies between the different shades of green and gray. Since they are cold/-blooded, when the sun is very intense (at noon) the reptiles descend from the trees and rest on the open areas. They adopt a straight posture, raise their head and let the visitors see the folds below their throat.
That is how they stall still, and take advantage of this opportunity to touch them, feed them, and take pictures with the iguanas.
These animals know exactly that the territory of this park belongs to them. That is why they do not even try to escape, but in the park there are guards –people in charge of their care- who feed and protect the iguanas.
How did they arrive here? It is said that these reptiles have inhabited this land since 1535, before the Founding of Guayaquil, between the roofs and willow trees, whose fruits are iguanas’ favorite food. But those habitats were reduced, and the forests became streets and neighborhoods. Without the bodies of water, the iguanas looked for small green and fenced spaces and they decide to stay in this park.
In the center of the park there is an equestrian monument in memory of Liberator Simón Bolívar, in which he is riding a horse this statue was brought from Italy in 1889. It is made of bronze and it lays on marble base. There is also a gazebo with statues of wild boars inside the vegetation of almond, croto, and palm trees. In another space of the park there are also a lagoon and a fenced artificial cascade, which ends in a water mirror, where different species and sizes of colorful fish and turtles live. Parque Seminario is an important point of civic concentration during the festivals of July and October. You shouldn’t miss them! Come and visit the park during these times of the year.
The average temperature in Guayaquil is 25 degrees Celsius. To get to this cosmopolitan city you can travel by air or from any city in the country, through public transportation.
From this park it is also possible to walk towards the Malecon 2000 (Waterfront Promenade 2000) and the Guayas River, going in opposite direction of the Cathedral. On the way you will find malls and art shops.
Despite its physical appearance, iguanas are not offensive. But if you feed them, you should be careful because they have sharp saw teeth, which could cause injury. When you touch them, they are cold, and their skin is rough and scaly.