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Guayaquil, officially Santiago de Guayaquil is the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador, with around 2.69 million people in the metropolitan area, as well as the nation's main port. The city is the capital of the Ecuadorian province of Guayas and the seat of the namesake canton.
Guayaquil is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Guayaquil.
|POPULATION :||• City 3,500,000|
• Metro 5,000,000
|FOUNDED :||Settled July 25, 1547|
Independence October 9, 1820
|TIME ZONE :||ECT (UTC-5)|
|LANGUAGE :||Spanish (official)|
|AREA :||• City 344.5 km2 (133.01 sq mi)|
• Land 316.42 km2 (122.17 sq mi)
• Water 28.08 km2 (10.84 sq mi)
• Metro 2,493.86 km2 (962.88 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||4 m (13.2 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||2°11′S 79°53′W|
|SEX RATIO :|
|AREA CODE :||4|
|POSTAL CODE :||090101 to 090158|
|DIALING CODE :||(+593) 4|
Guayaquil is a sea port, and its personality derives much from that fact. Also, the climate is hot and humid. These two factors give the city a 'Caribbean' soul, where foreigners are usually well received, tropical music rules and seafood is a must do. An old travel book once counted the attractions in Guayaquil as one: "The Public Cemetery". Not so, anymore; the city has undergone a great change in these last 10 years as a result of great efforts made by the city administrators. Now you can find great parks and green areas all over the city (for example Peñas and the Malecon), and the city has a new look which attracts tourism from inside and outside the country.
Guayaquil was founded on July 25, 1538 with the name Muy Noble y Muy Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana. Even before it was founded by the Spanish, it already existed as a native village.
In 1600 Guayaquil had a population of about 2,000 people; by 1700 the city had a population of over 10,000.
In 1687, Guayaquil was attacked and looted by English and French pirates under the command of George d'Hout (English) and Picard and Groniet (Frenchmen). Of the more than 260 pirates, 35 died and 46 were wounded; 75 defenders of the city died and more than 100 were wounded. The pirates took local women as concubines. Quito paid the ransom demanded by the pirates with the condition they release the hostages and not burn Guayaquil.
In 1709, the English captains Woodes Rogers, Etienne Courtney, and William Dampier along with 110 other pirates, looted Guayaquil and demanded ransom; however, they suddenly departed without collecting the ransom after an epidemic of yellow fever broke out.
In October 9, 1820, almost without bloodshed, a group of civilians supported by soldiers from the "Granaderos de Reserva", a battalion quartered in Guayaquil, overwhelmed the resistance of the Royalist guards and arrested the Spanish authorities. Guayaquil declared independence from Spain, becoming Provincia Libre de Guayaquil. Today Guayaquil is the main port and financial center of Ecuador.
Guayaquil features a tropical savanna climate (Köppen: Aw). Between January and April the climate is hot and humid with heavy rainfall, especially during El Niño years when it increases dramatically and flooding usually occurs. The rest of the year (from May through December) however, rainfall is minimal due to the cooling influence of the Humboldt Current, with usually cloudy mornings and afternoon and evening breezes. Guayaquil, along with most of the coastal region, was impacted by the April 16, 2016 earthquake of 7.8 magnitude.
Climate data for Guayaquil
|Record high °C (°F)||37.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||31.2|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||27.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||23.0|
|Record low °C (°F)||20.0|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organization|
Guayaquil is the nation's largest city and the capital of Guayas Province. It is on the Guayas River about 60 kilometres (40 mi) north of the Gulf of Guayaquil, near the Equator.
Guayaquileños' main sources of income are: formal and informal trade, business, agriculture and aquaculture. Most commerce consists of small and medium businesses, adding an important informal economy occupation that gives thousands of guayaquileños employment.
The Port of Guayaquil is the most important commercial port of the country, most import and export merchandise that gets in and out of the country passes through the Gulf of Guayaquil. It is also important to remember that it is the largest city in the country and most industries are located either in the city or its peripheral areas.
Ongoing projects seek urban regeneration as a principal objective to the growth of the city's commercial districts, as the increase of capital produces income. These projects in the city driven by the recent mayors have achieved this goal after investing large sums of money. The current municipal administration aims to convert Guayaquil into a place for first-class international tourism and business multinationals.
There are cyber cafes around to communicate with distant friends and relatives. These often have telephone booths for making VoIP phone calls. Some malls (Mall del Sol, Riocentro Los Ceibos) even offer free Wi-Fi in the food courts, in addition to free entertainment. Buy $30 worth of groceries at Mi Comisariato and get a two for one coupon to the movies. A single weekday ticket is $2.80 as of 3 January 2007.
Prices in Guayaquil
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.05|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$15.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$15.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$35.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$67.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$6.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$3.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.30|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$8.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$7.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.18|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$4.50|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$2.10|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$72.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$68.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$115.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$|
37 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
136 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
The new José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport [www], 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 flights to New York, Miami, Houston, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Madrid, Amsterdam, Lima, Bogotá,Panama City, San José, San Salvador, etc.; and a new 4 times a week to Cali and twice a week to Medellín, Colombia. Not all flights are non-stop. Taxis to a hotel in the northern suburbs shouldn't cost more than $3 and a ride to downtown, where most attractions are located, is about $5. Currently there are plans to build a new international airport about 20 minutes from Guayaquil, near Daular.
If you are planning to visit the Galapagos Islands, Guayaquil is the cheapest place to take a flight from. There are three air carriers that will take you across the Galapagos Islands as well as the Ecuadorean mainland. LAN-ECUADOR, Aerogal and TAME have non stop daily flights. Departing from Guayaquil is cheaper than leaving from Quito; it's closer and most of the Quito flights do make an stop at Guayaquil's airport for refueling and picking up passengers. If you are visiting the islands take shoes and they don't have taxis! Research the limits. You must walk everywhere.
International departure airport tax was just recently increased in Guayaquil and is exactly $29.75 (January 2010). About $15 cheaper than Quito airport.
Guayaquil´s port is the biggest in Ecuador. You can travel to the Galápagos Islands and other destinations from here.
Cruz del Sur operate international bus services to and from Peru.
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.
Guayaquil's bus terminal is well organized, but still keep an close eye on your belongings. There are frequent connections to almost every destination in Ecuador. Keep your items close to you during the midnight check points. The police will steal valuables when the men leave the bus to be checked for weapons; this occurs on night busses around Ecuador.
If you are driving, your horn is your best friend. Be careful, as the city is full of aggressive drivers, but if you are always on the defensive you won't get anywhere. Gas stations are full service.
You can also rent a car cheaply just outside the airport, paying around $35 a day. Carmax is one of the less expensive yet reliable companies available.
Transportation - Get Around
Metrovia is a modern bus rapid transit system that runs mostly from north to south and east to west of the city. The fare per ride costs 25 cents (as of April 2010). You can use both cash and an electronic card to pay. It is a reliable and easy-to-navigate transport system; has modern buses and stops. Fortunately, it boasts a good connection between downtown and to the main bus terminal and the airport. The Rio Daule terminal is located just across the street from the main bus terminal and some blocks away (around 15 minutes walking) from the airport. Remember to match the code of the bus (e.g. T1, CS, T3, etc.) with the station where are you heading to, since not all buses stop at all stations. You can use the map posted at each station for this purpose. The following stations will drop close by to some tourist attractions: La Catedral, Las Peñas, Jardines del Malecón, Banco Central and Biblioteca Municipal.
Taxis range from "taxi amigos" (un-marked taxis you call to pick you up) to the standard yellow cabs. Taxi drivers will try to overcharge tourists. Nicer taxis are metered by GPS, but the majority of taxis do not have meters. Always agree on a price (or make sure the meter is running) before you get into a cab.
You can also rent a car at one of the places just outside the airport. Prices range from $25 and up per day. 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 a taxi. It's the safest way to travel in GYE. Always take the taxi at night.
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. The bus is not a good idea in Guayaquil. The boys take your cell phones and other items. Ask for a taxi at the hotel you are staying. Get the driver's ID and a business card from him. Not all yellow taxis are created equal. They are not always safe. Travel in pairs at night.
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There are about 20 malls in the city. A nice place to buy is Via Samborondon.
- Mall del Sol
- Mall del Sur
- Riocentro Norte
- City Mall
- Riocentro Los Ceibos
- Riocentro Sur
- Riocentro Entreríos
- San Marino
- Alban Borja
- A new mall recently built, Village Plaza, near Riocentro Entreríos.
Besides that, there are several popular spots like
- Mercados Artesanal
- La Bahia
- There are many typical dishes to try from such as encebollado, seco de pollo, ceviche, and caldo de salchicha.
- There are also many international fast food chains throughout the city such as:
- Burger King
- Kentucky Fried Chicken
- Taco Bell
- Pollo Tropical
- Parrillada del Ñato; foods such oven cooked pizza, grilled meat, and more are served.
- Red Crab. best restaurant in the city. Coastal food: fish, crabs, shrimp; a big variety of dishes and combinations. A little pricey for the medium. Has two locations: 1. in Urdesa: Av. V.E.Estrada 1205 y Laureles. 2. in Samborondón: Plaza Nova, Km. 2,5 vía a Samborondón.
- Chinese restaurants (Chifas) are found throughout the city, and their food is very good.
- 'El Patacón' restaurant in Urdesa serves typical dishes, mostly based on verde (green bananas also known as 'Plátano Macho' in Central America).
- Vegetarian food is not very common in Guayaquil, but there is a guesthouse in the Centro called Manso that serves quinoa and lentil hamburgers and other dishes that combine Ecuadorian ingredients in fast food format for veggies.
- Wendy´s, 9 de Octubre 421 entre Chile y Chimborazo, . 7am-10pm.
- There is a lot of great cuisine in Guayaquil's centre. If you are more daring, you can go to this downtown area, near 9 de octubre avenue; there are Chinese restaurants called "chifas" and typical restaurants where you can eat the seco de pollo, caldo de salchicha, etc.
- A myriad of more upscale shopping opportunities and bars can be explored around the Urdesa neighborhood, especially along its main drag, Victor Emilio Estrada. Wonderful small food carts are scattered throughout, called "Carretillas". Common on the streets, those with "Shawarma" (the Lebanese gyro) are particularly delicious. These abound, due to a large expatriate Lebanese community which has been a part of Guayaquil for almost a century.
- Lo Nuestro has a good variety of typical dishes.
- You can also go to a restaurant where the best 'encebollado' is sold. The place is called "Encebollado cordero"; it is located near the IESS.
- Samborondon is located at the northeast of the city. There are a lot of restaurants with a great variety of food. Here you can find Japanese, Italian, American, and typical food, too.
- Taberna Libanesa is an excellent place, located just behind the Supermaxi, Via Samborondon. Cozy and elegant, with excellent Lebanese food. They serve lunch and dinner and have a few tables on the veranda of this upscale shopping center.
- There is another place called Urdesa. In the Victor Emilio Estrada you can found a great variety of good food and also a nice place to visit.
Sights & Landmarks
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 a long park beside the Rio Guayas ("Guayas River"), with shops, an IMAX theater, gardens, and a beautiful view of both the river and downtown.
- The "Malecon del Salado" located next to the "Estero Salado" (an estuary of sea water). 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 (Area regenerada), very secure to walk and look around.
- Museums (Museo Municipal, Museo Nahim Isaias, MAAC and Presley Northon Museum are located in the center of the downtown)
- 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 "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 cheap souvenirs from all regions of Ecuador. Near the Malecon Simón Bolivar.
- The cemetery north from the centre has a few impressive graves and statues as well as plenty of more normal graves. Worth a visit if you're into graveyards.
Other interesting places near Guayaquil:
- "Parque Histórico", an interesting recreation of the early 20th century years of Guayaquil, the look, the people and the food. Includes a small zoo.
- "Crucero Discovery", rides up and down the Rio Guayas. You can catch it at Malecon Simón Bolivar. Crazy parties at night.
- Traditionally, Salinas has been the main beach, but since 2008 General Villamil Playas has attracted a big part of the local and international tourism. Fishing, surfing, and other water sports. Many modern hotels and delicious sea food. Interesting night life. Wonderful whalewatching during June to September.
The following places are interesting to see if you are daring:
- 6 de Marzo is an interesting street to visit about 10 blocks from the downtown area during the week before New Year's Eve, because the street is lined with "Años Viejos" or old years, papier-mâché figures ranging in size from about 12 inches up to 10 or more feet tall. These are often political, movie or cartoon characters.
- La Bahía, just off the southern end of the Malecon Simón Bolivar. Huge market area full of shops and stalls of almost anything imaginable. Because it is so cheap you will have lower social class people and have to be a little careful with belongings.
- Cocoa or banana plantations are located around Guayaquil city.
Great nightlife; you can go to 5 or more discos in one night, and don't need to travel much. The usual price for entering is $10-$15 consumable, depending on where you go. Usually the parties there last to 4AM. but you can always find something else to do in this city. Visit the "Zona Rosa", located at the secure regenerated area, with several options of night life. Several brands of beer are available.
- El Gran Yate, Alborada (close to Dreamkapture). Crabs and beers, 1$ a crab
- Bloom Club, Aventura Plaza Local 46 (Av. Las Monjas, Urdesa), , e-mail: [email protected]. Opens from Thursday to Saturday at 20:00 - 04:00. It is a mid-size club for 200 people approx. offering a broad selection of music and drinks, very popular among people from 20 to 40 y.o. The Shopping Center "Aventura Plaza" offers security and has a nice park inside, with a huge iguana sculpture on it; it features other sport and karaoke bars, small discos and some good restaurants as well, at affordable prices. A parking lot is available at no cost but if you plan to drink, taking a cab is better, and at your departure it is recommended to ask the host to get you a secure taxi. The entrance fee is $20 consumable but if you are an International traveller you can enter for free and pay as you drink showing your passport or International ID. The costs ranges from $3 to $5 a beer, and $6 to $10 a glass of rum, vodka, whiskey or a cocktail, or a bottle starting from $75.
Things to know
Biblioteca Municipal de Guayaquil (Municipal Library of Guayaquil) serves as the public library of Guayaquil.
There are many language schools and some universities. Guayaquil is also home to the only U.S. accredited college in all of South America, Broward College, Ecuador.
Lots of English speakers work at English academies or schools teaching English. Legally, they should have some kind of visa that permits them to work, but some schools don't pay much attention to the legal status of the teachers. Wages are not up to U.S. standards and hours can be rough (mornings, evening and Saturdays), but a passable living is possible. Indeed, some people come to Ecuador to work specifically because the economy is dollarized.
Safety in Guayaquil
There's been a high increase of crime in Guayaquil in 2009, especially violent crime.
Guayaquil is well known as Ecuador's most dangerous and violent city. Always remain aware of your surroundings. Don't pay attention to anyone trying to speak to you on the streets, not even to wealthy-looking people or beggars. Avoid walking alone around the downtown area at night, especially off Avenue 9 de Octubre or well-lit areas. Don't flash money or valuable things in public. Never walk in suspicious areas. Guayaquil is especially dangerous at night, so avoid walking on streets at night.
Attacks have been reported where someone will distract the target so that the attacker can put a choke hold on the victim from behind and make the victim pass out in order to easily rob the person. It is better to radio taxis instead of hailing one off the street, as there have been many cases of robberies involving taxi cabs in the last year. It is better to avoid wearing jewelry that is expensive or appears to be of high quality.
Be aware in Plaza Centenario, especially when it is very crowded. The only relative safe areas in downtown Guayaquil are Avenue 9 de Octubre, Malecón 2000, Malecón del Salado, Las Peñas, and Plaza de la Administración. Don't ever cross any other street unless you know where you are.
The inside of Malecón 2000 is safe during the day and night. There are tons of security guards hanging around during the day. The only drinkable water is bottled water.