Awesome things to do in Guayaquil | The perfect city in Ecuador
Located on the banks of the river Guayas, Guayaquil is one of the most popular destinations in Ecuador. With a spectacular promenade, numerous cocoa plantations and iguanas that seem to be everywhere, its charm and beauty attracts many tourists on their way to Galapagos Islands.
Tips & Tricks
Whether you choose to enjoy the famous tourist attractions, visit museums or wander the streets to learn more about the local lifestyle, you will quickly notice that Guayaquil is a very safe city.
Our favorite Guided Tours
Seminario Park (also known as the Iguana Park) is the main attraction of the city. It was built in 1868 and is special due to the iguanas roaming around. Although not very large, the park is home to dozen of iguanas, happy to welcome visitors. The reptiles can be seen all day in the trees or near an artificial lagoon that is close to the main monument, the statue of Simon Bolivar.
The best time to visit the park is in the afternoon. Then you can encounter vendors that are selling fresh salad, specially prepared for the iguanas. Their presence involves a new day of easily acquired food, so the reptiles get down from the trees, gather around the benches and wait to be fed.
Tips & Tricks
Guayaquil is the perfect city to begin your journey to Galapagos. Among reptiles with tails up to one meter you can get a preview of what awaits you in the Archipelago.
Malecon Rio Guayas is the promenade area on the banks of the Guayas River. It is 10 minutes away from Iguana Park and is considered an important part of the city’s identity. Here you can find almost everything you expect from a tourist area: a mall, an amusement park, museums, souvenir shops, even green areas where you can feed birds. If you want to spend a nice day, from here you can hop on a sightseeing bus or take a cruise on the river. See the city in a different view and admire from a distance its iconic monuments. If you can not stay more than a day in Guayaquil, Malecon 2000 is definitely the place for you.
Tips & Tricks
High-value banknotes must be verified before being accepted in stores. Because you can often get lost in the language barrier with Ecuadorians, it is better to avoid this aspect in crowded areas. Change your money at the hotel in the smallest possible amounts, especially if you go to Galapagos. At a better rate, you can choose an nearby foreign exchange office or an ATM. Street money changers may not be legal, but if absolutely necessary, you can trust them with some small amounts of cash.
Museo Miniatura Guayaquil en la Istoria – Miniature Museum
Miniatures Museum was inaugurated in 2006 and is located at the end of the promenade. Here is presented an impressive exhibition of miniature clay sculptures that depict the history, culture and customs of Guayaquil, viewed from the perspective of time. It is a unique project in the world that presents 15 dioramas, which are recreated the significant moments since the city was a jungle inhabited by the aboriginal population Huanvavilca until the metropolis of today. The entrance ticket costs 3$, and a full tour lasts about 40 minutes.
Barrio Las Penas – the first neighborhood of Guayaquil
Behind the Miniature Museum is Las Penas, the first neighborhood of Guayaquil. It is a 400 year old historical monument, which was repeatedly destroyed in colonial times by fires. In 1982 the neighborhood became part of Ecuador’s cultural heritage, and in 2002-2008 it was restored, making the colorful houses on the Santa Ana hill a symbol of the city.
Accommodation and Flights
Since Guayaquil is a city visited by many tourists on their way to Galapagos, there are many accommodation options. Prices for one night with breakfast included start at 80$, without fees and local taxes that must be payed on arrival. For an extra 10$, the hotel also provides transport from / to the airport.
Depending from where you are coming, flights to Ecuador change really often. For an accurate status of all the flights operated domestic and international, you can take a look here.
Our best option for arriving to Guayaquil was from Bucharest – Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP), with 5 hours stop in Madrid, at Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD). We flew 4 hours with Tarom, then another 12 hours with Latam and landed in Guayaquil at Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport (GYE).
Tips & Tricks
Hotel Continental is an excellent choice for staying in Guayaquil. With a perfect location near the Iguana Park, the view over the iguanas and the Metropolitan Cathedral is spectacular. Unfortunately however, during our stay, the fairness and kindness of the entire staff was disappointing 🙁