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Guayaquil
Guayaquil´s Palace of Government
Train carriage on the Malecón in Guayaquil
Brightly coloured houses on the hillside neighbourhood of Cerro Santa Ana
Huge, ancient ficus tree on the Malecón in Guayaquil
Sailing ship in GuayaquilThe Rotonda monument in Guayaquil with flags flying

Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city and major port, is mostly a business destination and travel hub but also has a few
tourist attractions.


Guayaquil - Ecuador Destinations

Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador, home to its main port and much of the country's wealth.  The climate is hot and humid, often cloudy and overcast.  The mosquitoes bite through clothing.  Corruption is rife in Guayaquil and crime is a serious issue, especially outside of the central area.   The city is not as dangerous as it used to be in the 1990's but you should still remain aware of your surroundings and take sensible precautions.
Although Guayaquil is not the most attractive destination in Ecuador and has little in the way of culture, it serves as a transport hub for flights to the Galapagos Islands and buses to various beach resorts and other destinations in the costa, so you may need to spend a day or 2 here.  The city is very noisy so avoid hotel rooms facing onto main roads.  The heat and humidity are uncomfortable for most of the year so you will probably want a hotel with airconditioning or at least a fan.
Pass time ín Guayaquil strolling on the Malecón (waterfront) beside the River Guayas with its statues and monuments along the riverfront, visiting various museums and the picturesque barrio of Cerro Santa Ana with its coloured houses.  The Malecón is fenced in and the gates have security guards, so this is probably the safest place to wander.
The train carriage at one end of the Malecón is a reminder of Ecuador's famous railway on which it was once possible to travel from Guayaquil to Quito, now reduced to a fragment of track from the Devil's Nose and Alausi to Riobamba.  
Dining in Guayaquil is not always as varied or upmarket as you might expect in a city of this size, but the Malecón has a variety of eating opportunities, from takeaway snacks and fast food chains to restaurants.  The smarter hotels such as the Oro Verde and Uniparkhotel also have good restaurants. 
Guayaquil's taxi drivers are renowned for overcharging and think nothing of asking for 10 times what the fare should be, or even more if they can get away with it.  Ask your hotel to flag down a taxi and negotiate the price for you - taxi drivers here rarely condescend to use the taximeter.  Take a card with your hotel's address on it and check what the taxi price should be for your return trip.  Avoid carrying expensive cameras or jewellry in Guayaquil.  
The local accent is not easy to understand - Guayaquileños tend to speak very rapidly, missing the "s" off the end of words and running all the words in a sentence into one lump.   Be prepared for Spanish to sound very different here than in Quito.  If you can understand people in Guayaquil you are probably well on the way to fluency in Spanish.  Advanced learners might enjoy the challenge of the local accent here, but for beginners, Quito is probably a better location to learn Spanish.
Weather in Guayaquil is pretty easy to predict - hot, sticky, cloudy, often rainy.  You can expect to feel like a well wrung-out dishcloth any time you are not air-conditioned.  
Guayaquil's airport and bus terminal have both been renovated in the last few years.  The airport is now clean and efficient, and the bus terminal is reasonably efficient.  Guayaquil airport code: GYE.  The airport, officially the Aeropuerto de Guayaquil José Joaquín de Olmedo, is within the city but since traffic is usually very congested you should allow plenty of time for your journey.  In fact, allow plenty of time for any journey in Guayaquil.
Useful Spanish Vocabulary for Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city and main port:
malecón: waterfront promenade (be sure to pronounce the accent on the o, otherwise it means something entirely different and not very polite)
puerto: port
museo: museum
Ecuador Destinations: Guayaquil
Ecuador's main port and largest city, Guayaquil has a few tourist attractions such as the Malecón and several museums, but also a high crime rate. Guayaquil airport code GYE receives international flights.
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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