Guayaquil is a sea port, the biggest in Ecuador, and the climate is very hot. These two factors give the city a 'Caribbean' soul, where foreigners are usually well received, tropical music rules and seafood is a must do. The city has undergone a renaissance in the last 10 years as a result of efforts made by the city administrators. 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.
The new José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport elected as best South American Airport, is located near the new business district center and is next to the International bus station. If you are planning to visit the Galapagos Islands, Guayaquil is the cheapest place to take a flight from.
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. You can rent a car cheaply just outside the airport, paying around $35 a day.
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 realiable and easy-to-navigate transport system; has modern buses and stops. It provides a good connection between downtown and to the main bus terminal and the airport.
Be aware: There's been a high increase of crime in Guayaquil in 2009, especially violent crime. Avoid walking alone around the downtown area at night, especially off Avenue 9 de Octubre or well-lit areas. Also, the only drinkable water is bottled water.
Places to visit:
The Malecon Simón Bolivar: 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.
Parque de las Iguanas: Home to hundreds of tame iguanas, some fish in a pond, ablack squirrel or two, and some turtles.
La Bahía: Just off the southern end of the Malecon Simón Bolivar. Huge market area full of shops and stalls of almost anything imaginable.
Guayaquil is 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.
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.
The city has hotels for every budget, and decent hotel rooms can be had for around $10 a night.
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