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Guayaquil is the largest and most populous city in Ecuador.
Guayaquil is one of the main South American ports in the Pacific. The climate is hot for the first semester of the year and breeze cool for the rest of it. A proud city of the tropics where foreigners are well received, music rules and seafood is a must.
The new José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport, elected as best South American Airport, is located near the new business district center and is next to the International bus station. In this airport, you can find daily non-stop flights to New York, Miami, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Amsterdam, Bogotá, Panama City, among many Latin American destinations.
International departure airport tax is included in the flight ticket.
If you are driving, your horn is your best friend. Being careful and common sense will get you to your destination. Gas stations are full service.
Guayaquil´s port is the largest in Ecuador. You can travel to Galápagos Islands from here.
Metrovia is a modern bus rapid transit system that runs mostly from north to south and east to west of the city. You can use both cash and an electronic card to pay. It is a realiable and easy-to-navigate transport system; has modern buses and stops. Fortunatelly, it boast a good connection between downtown and to the main bus terminal and the airport.
Within the city the local bus system is confusing but the locals will help you get where you want to go. It is also the cheapest way to get around the city as there is no metro system. For women it is safest if you sit at the front near the driver but don't be alarmed the bus is a safe way to travel around Guayaquil.
Taxis range from "taxi amigos" to the standard yellow cabs. Taxi drivers will try to over charge tourists. Nicer taxis are metered by GPS, but the majority of taxis do not have meters. Always agree on a price before you get into a cab. Preferably, don't take any street cabs as some taxi-kidnapping occurs. Call a taxi if you can or take taxis from known places like the airport, bus station, or commercial centers.
You can also rent a car at one of the few places to rent just outside the airport. Anyone with a drivers license from their home country can drive as a tourist in Ecuador. However, if you happen to be involved in a crash the police may take both drivers to jail until they sort everything out and decide what happened. Just take the bus.
What to see
These places are located in the downtown area, near the main hotels and at the heart of the regenerated area, a very secure walk.
The Malecon Simón Bolivar. It is the riverfront promenade for the Guayas River, with shops, theaters, museums, gardens and shopping arcades. The "Rotonda" monument in the middle of the Malecon, commemorates the famous meeting of Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin that took place there.
The "Malecon del Salado" located next to the "Estero Salado", here you can enjoy fresh air and wonderful sunsets, with restaurants of typical food, all framed within a very safe new park.
The renewed downtown area, very secure to walk and look around.
Santa Ana & El Carmen hills, you can see almost the whole city from here. You can walk up the 400 odd steps to the top from the Malecon Simón Bolivar. There is a lighthouse, museum, small chapel and park at the top. Along the stairs, vendors sell water, ice cream and other snacks.
Las Peñas, where the city was founded, was actually rebuilt and painted bright colors where most of Guayaquil's colonial buildings are.
Parks, we recommend to visit the "Seminario Parque de las Iguanas" downtown, which is home to hundreds of tame iguanas, some fish in a pond and a black squirrel or two, and do not forget some turtles.
The Central Bank Building has several giant paintings on the outside of the building.
Markets, you can visit the "Mercado Artesanal", where you can buy some very traditional souvenirs from all regions of Ecuador.
Parque Histórico, Avenue Rio Esmer Aldas, Guayaquil, Ecuador. an interesting recreation of the early 20th century years of Guayaquil, the look, the people and the food. Includes a small zoo, some old town-buildings.
The cemetery north from the centre has few impressing graves and statues as well as plenty of more normal graves. Worth a visit if you're into graveyards.
Zoológico El Pantanal, Km. 23 Vía a Daule, Guayaquil. Nice small zoo in the northern part of Guayaquil. Visit, if the kids want to see more animals after having been to "Parque Histórico"