Guayaquil is Ecuador´s largest city with about 3,000,000 inhabitants. Situated at sea level its port “Puerto Maritimo” is the main sea port of the country where about 80% of the country´s imports and more than 50% of its exports are handled. It is the commercial and industrial center of Ecuador and lies on the west bank of the river Guayas about 60 km from its outflow in the Gulf of Guayaquil.

CLIMATE
The climate in the dry season is warm and pleasant, in the rainy season between January and April a hotelroom with air conditioning is recommended.

For more information go to Guayaquil weather

VISA
Most nationalities will need a visa to enter Ecuador. You can get a tourist visa at the airport or the border. Depending on your nationality, you will get 60 or 90 days. You can get an extension at the migration office at the migration office (Av Rio Daule, next to the bus terminal, Tel. 229-7004). You can also get a work, student, business or residence visa, which is more complicated and expensive. Because chances are that you will be asked to show your passport at a checkpoint, it is not advisable to overstay your visa.

ARRIVAL
The “Simon Bolivar International Airport” is about 10 minutes (by taxi) north of the city centre. If you carry luggage, take a taxi. During daytime you can walk half a block out of the terminal to the “Av de las Americas” – the taxifare is almost half as cheap there. But it is not safe to leave the terminal area at night.

SIGHTS
Even though most people who come to the city are rather business visitors than tourists, Guayaquil offers some attractions that are worth seeing:
The old district “Las Peñas” is the only part of the city where the wooden houses were not destroyed by fire and you can get an impression of the old, picturesque colonial Guayaquil.
Or you walk along the riverside that has been refurbished in the project “Malecón 2000”. There you find a mall and a park with historical monuments (the area is open till 12am).
Guayaquil´s churches as “La Merced” or “San Francisco”, the beautiful cemetery below “Cerro el Carmen”, several museums, the Botanical Gardens and parcs (the Parque Bolivia in front of the Cathedral is filled with tame iguanas) are also definitely worth a visit.

List of museums

TOURIST INFORMATION
Ministerio de Turismo
P Yacaza 203 y Pichincha,
building: Banco Pacifico, 5th floor,
Tel.:256-8764,
fax: 256-2544,
open Mon to Fri 8.30-16.30

FESTIVALS
The foundation of Guayaquil is celebrated on Jul 24-25 and the city´s independence on Oct 9-12. Both holidays are lively and offer many public events.

EXCURSIONS
Guayaquil is the base for most Galápagos visitors. The Galapagos Islands are world famous for its fauna (sea lions, turtles, penguins, dolphins, reptiles, birds, etc.). They are also the birthplace of Darwin´s famous theory of evolution. A trip to the islands is not cheap: expect to pay roughly 1000 dollars for a four-day trip.
Other excursions can be made to the “Cerro Blanco Forest Reserve” with its impressive variety of birds or the “Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve”. There you can see dolphins, waterbirds and other animals and take a canoe trip into the mangroves (reservation 3-4 days in advance).

For more information contact travel agencies

SAFETY
The city grows very rapidly. Almost every day people from the country move to Guayaquil on their search for work. Poverty and crime are serious problems, so take good care of your belongings throughout the city, especially in the city center. On no account walk around after dark and avoid carrying valuables with you.

TRANSPORTATION
Because of the population explosion the public transportation has been stretched beyond limit. If you need to go only a short distance in the center you might be quicker if you walk. The bus is a cheap alternative (US$ 0.15) outside the rush hour if you know where you are going. Otherwise take a taxi (especially if you carry luggage). Taxis have no meters so prices are very negotiable.
Reasonable prices:
Airport, bus terminal à center: US$ 2-3
Urdesa, Policentro, Alborada à center: US$ 2
Airport à bus terminal and other short trips: US$ 1

Buses from the center to
– Urdesa: No 15
– Policentro: No 13
– Albanborja: No 14
– La Garzota, Sauces: No 74

ACCOMODATION
The prices for hotels are generally higher than in Quito and it is advisable to ask if service and tax (22%) are included. If you would like to stay in a better hotel you might want to book in advance. Guayaquil offers a variety of hotels, from luxury class to simple hostals. Most hotels are downtown but the area is unsafe. Alternatives are hotels in the districts “La Garzota”, “Sauces” and “Alborada”.
Some useful phrases for organizing accommodation:

Do you have a room available? – Hay una habitación libre?
A double room – un cuarto doble
With breakfast and dinner – con media pension
How much does the room cost? – Cuanto cuesta la habitacion?
Does it have its own bathroom? – Tiene baño privado?
Can I see the room, please? – Queria ver el cuarto, por favor.

List of accomodation

RESTAURANTS
The district “Urdesa” is famous for its good international kitchen but you can also find good eating places in the newer centers of “La Alborada” and “La Garzota” or in the center (often within the larger hotels). Also here it is worth asking if service and tax (22%) are included in the price.

Some useful phrases for eating at a restaurant:

A table for one/two/three/four persons, please. – Una mesa pro una/ dos/ tres/ cuatro personas, por favor.
breakfast/ lunch/ dinner – desayuno/ almuerzo/ merienda
Where is the bathroom, please? – Donde estan los lavabos, por favor?
Enjoy your meal! – ¡Buen provecho!
There is a knife/fork/spoon missing. – Falta un cuchillo/ un tenedor/ una cuchara
The bill, please! – ¡La cuenta, por favor!

List of restaurants

NIGHTLIFE
The main center for nightlife is the “Kennedy Mall” which offers a variety of bars and discos (prices: midrange to expensive). Entrance to discos is usually around US$ 5-9 and drinks are expensive.
A special highlight: When Guayaquil´s soccer clubs “Emelec” or “Barcelona” win a home game the Av 12 de Octubre transforms into a party zone for the whole night.
Some useful phrases for going out:
A beer, please = una cerveza, por favor
A big bottle of Pilsener (national Ecuadorian beer)=una Pilsener grande
What kind of cocktails do you have?= ¿que tipo de cocteles tiene?
Would you like to dance?=Le/te gustaria bailar?
What would you like to drink?= Qué le/te gustaria tomar?
Do you have a boy-/girlfriend?=Tiene(s) novio/a?

List of bars and discos