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About Guayaquil

History of Guayaquil

The history of the territory of the Ecuadorian capital goes back to the pre-Columbian period, when there are 4 different periods: Pre-Ceramic, Formative Stage, Period of Regional Development and Integration Period. Diverse cultures lived in the region in each period; among them the most renowned, the Huancavilca culture won the fame of indomitable, since it's the only culture that the Incan empire could never conquer completely.

There are various chronicles that talk about the details of the wars between the Huancavilcas and the Incas. This fight, full of revenges, betrayal and conspiracy, was extended until the Spanish arrival, being non resolved with the capture of the inca Atahualpa by the conqueror army. The Inca emperors Túpac Yupanqui, his son Huayna Cápac and his grand-son Atahualpa had the same objective, to conquer the untameable and ferocious Huancavilca.

The first settlement of Guayaquil took place in Quito, founded in August the 15th 1534, with the intention of replace it into a more appropriate territory for the activities of the conquest. It was in 1540 that the city was relocated in an ancient Huancavilca territory, close to the hill Santa Ana and at the right side of the Guayas river. This new city developped a new timber and unique architecture in America, due to the talent of the carpenters and the quality of the wood of the surroundings. Its location and port of privilege climate meant to Guayaquil to be transformed in the biggest sea shipyard for Spain.

Guayaquil is famous for being the crib of freedom, since it was one of the first cities to obtain its independence and was the scene of the meeting between the liberators Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín. It was also the point of departure to numerous armies that fought in the battles of Junin and Ayacucho, which stopped the Spanish conquest in the american territory.

Helpful information

-The climate of Guayaquil is warm/tropical, and has 2 different seasons: the rainy and the dry season (temperatures don't drop more than 77 °F (25 °C) and the warmest days don't go over 82 °F (28°C).
-Ecuador has 4 regions (different from Peru, that has 3): coast, amazonia, sierra and islander region (Galapagos islands). In those regions the rainy season and the dry take place in different periods of time: on the coast the rains go from December to May; in the amazonia the rains start in January and decrease in September; in the sierra the rains go from October to April.
-The high season goes from June to September. If you are thinking of travelling in that period, make your booking of tickets, hotel and tours in advance, since if you don't do it you could be out.
- The currency of Ecuador is the US$. We recommend you to get to know the city without carrying bills of more than $50, since the Ecuadorian people don't use them very often. The most used are the dollar cents, although the amounts used are different from the USA. A coin of 10 cents can be of less value than one of 0,50. It's better if you take your time to understand how the cents work. You should have an extra pocket to keep all the coins.
-It's an indispensable requirement to show a certificate of vaccine against the yellow fever (if you come from a country that has a high risk of contagion) to visit other cities of Ecuador; in Guayaquil it's not necessary.
-The current type used in Ecuador is 120v. Don't you connect your electronic devices if your country has 220v. Take an electrical transformer or ask one where you lodge.
-Ecuador has 2 timezones: GMT - 5 (continental) y GMT - 6 (insular/ Galapagos islands).
-One of the main tourist attractions of Ecuador, Galapagos islands, is at 621  mi (1000 km) from the Peruvian coast.
- You can get to the islands by aerial way, since they have an airport in the island of San Cristobal and another in Santa Cruz. The time of travel is around 1 hour.
-Galapagos is one of the most expensive destinations, since just the plane ticket costs between $300 and $420, plus the entrance to the Parque Nacional de Galapagos ($100). The services in the island are also more expensive than in the firm land.
-To get around from one island to the other you can take a public transportation that costs approximately $30.

How to get around in Guayaquil?

To get around in Guayaquil won't be complicated, since the distances are not long and you will find low-cost means of transportation as Metrovias, buses and taxis.

Metrovia is the main mean of transportation of Guayaquil, similar to the Metropolitano in Lima. Metrovia connects the most distant areas of the city, operating from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The buses are also similar to Lima in the way of operating. If you want to enjoy your stay in Guayaquil we don't recommend you to use this mean of transportation, despite the fact that is the low-cost. The taxis in Ecuador are mostly formal. Take always formal taxis from authorized companies. You will recognize it because inside you will see the picture of the driver and a security camera.

-The travel by Metrovia costs $ 25 cents. Keep in mind that most of the time is crowded of people.
-The buses collect between 25 cents and $1 in short and long distances.
-The taxis drivers collect $ 1 on average to cover short distances (they have a taximeter, so the rate you pay is fair).

Risks and cautions in Guayaquil

In the period of rains there is a risk of landslide of mud and rock and slipping of huge land parts. In the past there have taken place natural accidents due to the negligence of some people.

Guayaquil, as most of the metropolis, harbors its risks.  The most common risks to the traveller are the thefts. But, take it easy, just some places in guayaquil are considered dangerous. The tourist areas, in general, have constant surveillance.

You can find here some tips we can give you to have a pleasant stay without shocks in Guayaquil:

-Not to take with you high amounts of money on the street. Just the necessary.
-Leave the highly valued objects at the hotel or any place of confidence.  never take them with you.
-Take authorized taxis. It's easy to identify them, it's enough to look inside if there is a photography of the driver and the regulation security cameras.

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Tourist attractions of Guayaquil

Getting to Guayaquil

Parque Seminario (Parque de las Iguanas)
Location: Av. Chile, between Clemente Ballen and 10 de Agosto
Hours: all day
Price: free entrance
This park is located in the historic center of Guayaquil, also known as Plaza Bolivar due to the equestrian monument in honor of the liberator Simon Bolivar that is placed there. Probably it's the unique place in the world where huge wild iguanas live in harmony with the urban life of the town, at the view of tourists and locals.

Catedral Metropolitana de Guayaquil (San Pedro Apostol)
Location: in front of the Parque Seminario
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Price: it doesn't say
It was originally built on wood in 1547, and was the mother church of the town. It was located close to the Cabildo (town hall), at the Plaza de Armas (nowadays Parque Seminario) until the church was destroyed in 1692 due to a fire.  After this unlucky event the church was rebuilt in the republican period begining the 20th century. It was in this last reconstruction that the style given to the church was semi Gothic. This sacred place for the devoted people is one of the most visited of the region. Keep in mind that once inside you can't take pictures, since it's forbidden. It's a real pitty.

Malecon Simon Bolivar (Malecon 2000)
Location: close to the Guayas river, at few blocks from the Parque Seminario
Hours: all day
Price: free entrance
This pier is considered one of the most successful urban models of America. It was declared "healthy public area" by the OPS (Organizacion Panamericana de la Salud) and the OMS (Organizacion Mundial de la Salud). It suffered a urban restructuring of the city that started in 1999, which culminated with the end of the construction in 2000 (reason why it's known as Malecon 2000). There are natural, historic and modern areas that transform it in a tourist attraction that stands out with more than 2.5 km of area. During your stay you'll find museums, cinemas, malls, restaurants, bars, recreational areas for children, areas to practice sports, historical monuments, fountains, squares, viewpoints, artificial lakes and all the necessary to make of your stay something sublime.

Malecon Salado
Location: facing the Estero Salado
Hours: all day
Price: free entrance
Close to the Malecon Bolivar is part of the urban  project that remodeled the main urban areas of the city. Its area covers 400 meters with viewpoints to the town and the "estero" (as a marsh). In those areas you will find gardens, recreation areas, fountains, little squares, a suspension bridge of 55 meters and the crowded Plaza de los Mariscos, famous due to its exquisite coastal gastronomy.

Cerro Santa Ana (hill)
Location: close to the neighborhood Las Penas, to the north of the Malecon of Guayas river
Hours: all day
Price: free entrance
It's the natural viewpoint of Guayaquil, known as Cerrito Verde in the past, it's the favourite of the tourists, since it's placed in the traditional neighborhood Las Penas. At the peak of the hill, after going through 444 stairs, you will find the lighthouse (from where you can obtain the most impressive view of Guayaquil) and the chapel Virgen de las Mercedes.

Barrio de las Penas
Location: at the north of the Malecon Bolivar
Hours: all day
Price: free entrance
It's the bohemian neighborhood par excellence, where the happy life of its stone pavement streets is reflected in the colonial architecture style of the coloured houses made on wood, a classic emblem of the Guayaquil city. Enjoy the environment of dream facing the river, with a beautiful view of the Santa Ana hill.

Around Guayaquil

Galapagos islands
Location: at 621 mi (1000 km) to the west of the Ecuadorian coast
Hours: all day
Price: high budget tour
It's an archipelago made of 6 main islands and 215 islets (very small islands) that represent one of the biggest tourist attractions of Ecuador. it was declared as Human Heritage by the Unesco, since it harbors an exotic fauna unique in the world. The famous English naturalist Charles Darwin made researches in those islands that made him formulate the evolution theory in the 19th century. Among the animal species that you will admire in such an interesting tour there are old giant turtles, flamingos, albatross, and even peguins and big iguanas.

 

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What to do in Guayaquil

Tour across the Plaza de la Musica

Location: Malecon Salado until the bridge of Calle 17
Hours: 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Price: free
Enjoy a placid afternoon surrounded by decorating plants and a view as few of the estuary while you walk around this peculiar square with a guitar shape, where you will find water fountains, an area of foods, games for the children and an atrium for free music spectacles outdoors.

Visit to the Botanical Garden
Location: Av. Francisco de Orellana y calle 24-BNE, to the north of the city
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Price: $1,5 - $3
In the 5 hectares there are nearly 324 vegetal species, observable in its natural habitat, surrounded by old timber and fruit trees, besides an interesting variety of exotic plants. During your route you will be fascinated by the impressive orchids collection there is, as well as the 60 species of butterflies that live there.

Zoologico El Pantanal
Location: km 23 of the Via Daule, at 15 min. from the Guayaquil downtown
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Price: $3 - $6
To go through the zoo, across the 31 hectares takes approximately 1hour. A guide will go with you, telling you all you need to know about the 100 species of flora and fauna that live in the area. Some of the animal species you can find there are: jaguars, afrikan lion, bengal tigers, zebras, pumas, spectacled bears, macaws, boas, crocodiles, camels, among many others in this greatest zoo, one of the best of the world.

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Gastronomy in Guayaquil

Typical dishes of Guayaquil

Arroz con menestra y carne
This coastal dish is emblem of the Guayaquil town, traditional and popular wherever you look at. It's a costum to eat it at night, with a cold soda water. It can be prepared with chickpeas, chicken or chops.

Seco de pollo
It's another popular classical dish of Guayaquil. It's prepared with a piece of chicken,  seasoned with rice and fried banana.

Humitas
It's similar to the humita from Peru, based on ground sweet corn and boiled meat, all of it inside a corn leaf, the "panca".

Ceviche
The popularity of this dish go beyond borders, spreading through all the coast of the Pacific. In Guayaquil it's prepared in a different way from the Peruvian, since it's made of shellfish, marinated with lemon or orange, although the ingredients vary, so the result is delicious and diverse.

Guatita
It's a popular dish among the people who look for recover energies  to relieve the hangover. It's a stew of "guatita" (stomach of the cow) served with peanut sauce with potatoes. You will find it in the menu of the breakfast in some restaurants.

Encebollado
It's one of the original and oldest dishes of Guayaquil, eaten in general for breakfast. If you haven't tasted it, you don't really know Guayaquil. It's prepared with manioc, fish, tomatoes, celery, onion, chilly pepper, garlic and varied spices.

Restaurants in Guayaquil

Restaurante Aguacate
Location: Av. Las Monjas 307 y Calle 4ta
Hours: 12:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Price: $5 - $22
This restaurant is specialized in typical and creole dishes from guayaquil. In its menu, very varied, you will find the popular ceviche, in different versions (shrimp, fish, squid), grill, dishes with shellfish, appetizers, salads, special menus  and drinks that complement the traditional flavor of the dishes.

Restaurante Riviera
Location: Victor Emilio estrada 707 and Ficus
Hours: 12:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Price: $10 - $20
Although the prices are high, the excellent service and the exquisite flavor of the pasta make of this restaurant the perfect option to the diner who looks for the best. The only thing you should keep in mind is that you won't find typical food from Ecuador, since it's an italian restaurant of gourmet kind.

Marrecife Marisqueria
Location: Av. Miguel H. Alcivar y Francisco de Orellana
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Price: $7 - $25
If you look for having a experience of unforgettable flavors, we recommend you the rice with shellfish ("arroz con marisco"), specialty of the house, a restaurant specialized in sea food. Although the place is not as good as the dishes, the service is great. The appetizers come really fast and last longtime, since they are wholesome. The main dish does not take so long time to be ready, so you won't have complaints about the service.

Red Crab
Location: Victor Emilio Estrada 1205
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Price: $5 - $10
As the name indicates, at this restaurant the crab is the main star. You will have a traditional experience with creole food, prepared with shellfish of the best quality in a pleasant environment that you can enjoy with all your family. The chef recommends crab's soup, just a delight of deities.

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Accomodations in Guayaquil

Backpacker

Hotel Rio Guayas
Location: Eloy Alfaro 1008, between Gómez Rendón and Brazil
Rate: s/ 33 - s/ 125
It's a central hotel located at 3 blocks from the pier and a few kms from the main tourist attractions of the city. It stands out for the service of its staff, the tidyness and comfort of its installations. You will feel that you pay less than what you get. Even if the facade is not so appealing, the inside will surprise you. The rooms have private bathroom, shower, wifi and parking lot.

Munay Rooms
Location: Francisco de Marcos 1415, between Av. Quito y Pedro Moncayo - 2º piso
Rate: s/ 25 - s/ 49
This calm place is one of the cheapest, but it's well-known for the service of the reception. You will feel home. Inside the construction you will find a livingroom with cable TV, hammocks, tourist information and a large shared hall; there is also a shared kitchen, very complete. You can be lodged in shared or private rooms, depending on your budget.

Mid-range

Hotel Jira
Location: Capitán Najera 518, between Chimborazo and Coronel
Rate: s/ 65 - s/ 103
Its central location is great to be close to the access to the main places of the town, altough it's not a 100% safe area, but you won't have any problems. The service of the personel is solicitous and pleasant; may be the rooms are humble, but very comfortable. The building has  coffee shop, wifi and TV (some rooms have air conditioning).

Luxury

Urdes Suites Hotel
Location: Balsamos Sur 421 and Ébanos Urdesa Central
Rate: s/ 148 - s/ 263 (breakfast is included)
One of the most recommended lodging places in Guayaquil, due to the personalized service, the comfort for the guests and its services. The rooms have air conditioning, private bathroom, shower, a good wifi and cable TV. Some suites include an equipped kitchen. Additionally you will have access to computers (to use the internet) in the hall and parking lot.

 

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Important dates in Guayaquil

Carnaval

(begining of February)

The joyful celebration of carnival starts weeks before the central days in the different neighborhoods of Guayaquil. If you travel to Guayaquil in carnival, let you carry by the color and rejoicing of the parade that goes through the pier with allegorical cars, groups of dance and troupes.

Fundación de Guayaquil
(July the 25th)
The "Fiestas Julianas", as they are called, arrive with festivals, serenades, parades, troupes, exhibitions and a great participation of the locals in the previous days to the central event that commemorates one more year of the city's foundation.

Independence of Guayaquil
(October the 9th)
The anniversary of the guayaquil independence is celebrated with a great variety of civic and cultural events. If you are in Ecuador that period don't you miss the militar parade and the nautical parade that takes place in the Estero Salado.

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Nightlife in Guayaquil

Guayaquil offers a whole world of possibilities for the intense party nights that you live in the city. The areas that you can keep in mind are the Zona Rosa (close to the Malecon 2000), the neighborhood Las Penas or the exclusive place Samborondon. Each of those areas have a different atmosphere, since the Zona Rosa is more popular among the people who prefer nightclubs and uncontrollable amusement. The neighborhood of Las Penas is mostly bohemian, well-known among the people that prefer a calm and cultural environment.

To have a drink

Rollings Tone Bar
Location: Circunvalación Sur 110 and Victor Emilio Estrada
Hours: no available information
Price: no available information
If you like 70s and 80s music, this is the time machine that you were looking for. The bar doesn't have just good music, and backward atmosphere, but also an assorted menu of snacks and drinks as "pina colada, mojito, and michelada". The happy hour is everyday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Pub 39 Karaoke
Location: Av. Las Monjas and Carlos Julio Arosemena
Hours: no available information
Price: no available information

Diva Nicotina
Location: Cerro Santa Ana escalinata 10
Hours: no available information
Price: no available information

To go out in Guayaquil

Nite Discotec
Location: Av.Victor Emilio Estrada 1240 and Costanera
Hours: no available information
Price: no available information
In this nightclub of 3 rooms you will find the most recent music hits and drinks that will guarantee your amusement.

Para Cortarse Las Venas
Location: Samborondón, Mall del Sol, paso peatonal a Sonesta
Hours: 8:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m.
Price: no available information
At this bar they propose live shows, innovating the local entertainment in a well distributed place, appropriate to enjoy it with friends.

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How to get to Guayaquil by bus?

To get from Peru to Guayaquil by bus is easier than it seems to be. The most common routes to Guayaquil leave from Máncora, Tumbes, Piura, Chiclayo, Lambayeque, Zorritos and Sullana, through the terrestrial transportation company Civa, with an average rate of 90 to 110 soles.

You won't need a passport to pass the border, since Peru is part of the Andean Community, as well as Ecuador. You must bring your ID card, just indispensable to make the border procedure.

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