|Travel Ecuador : Guayaquil :|
Guayaquil is the country’s largest city and most important port town. The city is huge, sprawling in all directions. The city is hot and humid year-round.
Many travelers will find themselves in Guayaquil for a day or two either before or after their Galápagos trip, as the city is an important hub for getting to and away from the Galápagos. There are a few attractions and things to see and do if that is the case.
One of the nicest options is to stroll along Guayaquil’s relatively newly rennovated Malecón 2000. Here you can observe guayaquileños going about their daily life. There are interesting monuments and pretty parks. There is also a good selection of bars and restaurants, serving mainly, but not exclusively seafood to their patrons.
Other parts of the city have recently been gentrified and are pleasant places to wander. In addition to just walking around taking in the sights, Guayaquil offers an Iguana Park and a Historical Park. The Historical Park has a number of different zones that you can visit, including The Wildlife Zone, the Urban Architectural Zone and the Traditions Zone.
All-in-all, while Guayaquil probably does not offer the expanse of attractions that other Ecuadorian cities can provide, it does have enough to see and do to keep the traveler busy for a couple of days.
In Guayaquil there are a variety of different hotels and accommodation options to choose from. This is not surprising as it is the largest city in the country, with a busy port. Some of the best hotels in town are to be found in the busy center, within a short walk from the Malecón 2000. This is probably the most convenient place to stay due to the convenience of being close to the main attractions, including the Malecón. There are cheaper places to be found. Some of these are further out, closer to the airport, which can be convenient for early starts to get to Quito or to the Galápagos Island.
Guayaquil offers a number of trendy restaurants to its visitors and locals. By far the largest number of them serve up excellent seafood, given Guayaquil’s proximity to the river and coast. However, there are international options available, including Italian foods such as pizza and pasta, and American food - burgers. Many of the better restaurants can be found along the length of the Malecón 2000.
As a major, bustling port town, it will come as no surprise that Guayaquil Ecuador offers a variety of nightlife for the traveler. Some of the more upscale places are to be found on the Malecón. Guayaquileños love to party away the long, hot nights and so you will find plenty of fashionable bars and clubs, if that’s your thing.
Guayaquil has a swanky new airport and a large number of national and international flights travel here. In particular, frequent flights can be found to Quito, a journey that lasts for around 35 minutes. Almost all of the flights that go to the Galápagos Islands stop briefly in the Guayaquil airport to pick up more passengers. Guayaquil has excellent international links with Europe, North America and Latin America.
The bus terminal in Guayaquil is also new and offers buses to almost everywhere in the country.
Transport around the city is relatively painless. There is an excellent public transportation network, including buses and taxis. If you decide to take a taxi, ensure that your driver uses his taxi meter, so that you are not overcharged for your trip.
As with any large city, especially port cities, Guayaquil has its fair share of crime. Most of this is low level, petty crime such as robbery and pickpocketing. Still, you do not want to be a victim of this and there are precautions that you can take against it.
Never carry more cash than you might need for your daily activities out with you from your hotel. Women should avoid taking a purse with them at night. Always call a taxi at night, even for a journey of just a few blocks. Don’t wear expensive jewellery and do not flash around electronics such as cameras and ipods.