Guayaquil mayor forbids dancing at Cerro Santa Ana bars and music venues30 de agosto de 2013 09:12
Guayaquileñans are baffled by their citys recent ordinance to bars on the Santa Ana hill to forbid dancing.
The Las Peñas neighbourhood on the Santa Ana hill is one of Guayaquil’s most central and most popular nightlife destinations. It is also one where some of Guayaquil best live music venues are.
However, the municipality says it should be a tourist neighbourhood, not a party zone.
The colonial-era Las Peñas, perched on the Santa Ana hill, is Guayaquil’s oldest residential neighbourhood. Between 2003 and 2005, a portion of Las Peñas was regenerated along the border of the numbered staircase that leads to the top of the hill, where there is a chapel and a lookout. Businesses and bars opened in this newly regenerated pedestrian neighbourhood. As authors of the regeneration, the municipality established strict controls on the pedestrian staircase and the businesses within it, fencing it off from the rest of Las Peñas, hiring armed guards, establishing curfews and refusing entry to street vendors or unauthorized commerce.
A couple weeks ago, a sign appeared outside the Bucanero bar, on step #244, that read: “Dancing is prohibited.” The change is due to an agreement forced upon the area businesses by the municipality.
People say the new ordinances to control drinking and dancing in the neighbourhood go too far.
“We can’t go against the work the mayor did here, but we hope that dancing is allowed again, because it’s what the tourists who come here love to do,” says Óscar Cabrera, owner of the El Faro bar.
Ivonne Falquez, a tourist from Machala, called the new measure “unfortunate”. Falquez, who has been making trips to Guayaquil’s party scene since 2011, said the new rules will force her to go to Zona Rosa clubs further downtown, instead.
Michael Dávila, a tourist from the U.S. who was on the hill, was surprised to hear about the new rules. “So, the attractions will be limited to the historic properties? But that doesn’t bring many people to the area.”
Isabel Almeida, of Guayaquil, said: “I still can’t believe it. Why are they pushing us to the Zona Rosa? I wanted to celebrate my birthday here but now I won’t.”
Many people El Telegrafo interviewed said they prefer the Santa Ana bars to the Zona Rosa ones because the view is better and the neighbourhood is more picturesque.
A few weeks ago, business owners on the Santa Ana hill had to sign a new contract with the municipality. Besides the dancing prohibition, the document commits the businesses to lower the volume on their sound systems, only sell alcohol alongside food, control that clients drink moderately, and refrain from using multi-coloured lighting.
A spokesperson for the municipality, Xavier Narvaez, says the new ordinances aren’t meant to prosecute business owners, but are in place to assure the principles of urban regeneration.
“We can’t allow for dancing on the steps of Santa Ana.”
Another rule that is current in the area is a 2012 ordinance against clothes that “violate decorum.”