Thursday 21 December 2017

ECUADOR: Guayaquil, Keep A Close Eye On To Your Belongings, Taxi-kidnapping Occurs

Guayaquil is the largest and most populous city in Ecuador.

Guayaquil is one of the main South American ports in the Pacific. The climate is hot for the first semester of the year and breeze cool for the rest of it. A proud city of the tropics where foreigners are well received, music rules and seafood is a must.

In the last decade, the city has undergone positive change. The beautiful riverfront promenade Malecon 2000 , green areas and modern shopping arcades all over the city attracts tourism from inside and outside the country.

Guayaquil, officially Santiago de Guayaquil OR St. James of Guayaquil, is the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador, with around 2.69 million people in the metropolitan area, as well as the nation's main port.

The city is the capital of the Ecuadorian province of Guayas and the seat of the namesake canton.

Guayaquil is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Guayaquil.

Guayaquil is recognized by the government as having been founded on July 25, 1538 with the name Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil Most Noble and Most Loyal City of St. James of Guayaquil by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana.

Even before it was founded by the Spanish, it already existed as a native village.

In 1687, Guayaquil was attacked and looted by English and French pirates under the command of George d'Hout (English) and Picard and Groniet (Frenchmen). Of the more than 260 pirates, 35 died and 46 were wounded; 75 defenders of the city died and more than 100 were wounded.

The pirates took local women as concubines.

In 1709, the English captains Woodes Rogers, Etienne Courtney, and William Dampier, along with a crew of 110, looted Guayaquil and demanded ransom; however, they suddenly departed without collecting the ransom after an epidemic of yellow fever broke out.

On October 9, 1820, almost without bloodshed, a group of civilians, supported by soldiers from the Granaderos de Reserva, a battalion quartered in Guayaquil, overwhelmed the resistance of the Royalist guards and arrested the Spanish authorities.

Guayaquil declared independence from Spain, becoming Provincia Libre de Guayaquil, and Jose Joaquín de Olmedo was named Jefe Civil or Civilian Chief of Guayaquil. This would prove to be a key victory for the Ecuadorian War of Independence.

On July 26, 1822, Jose de San Martin and Simon Bolivar held a famous conference in Guayaquil to plan for the independence of Spanish South America.

In 1829, the city was invaded by the Peruvian Army, which occupied it for seven months.

In 1860, the city was the site of the Battle of Guayaquil, the last of a series of military conflicts between the forces of the Provisional Government.

Led by Gabriel Garcia Moreno and General Juan Jose Flores, and the forces of the Supreme Chief of Guayas, General Guillermo Franco, whose government was recognized as possessing sovereignty over the Ecuadorian territory by Peruvian president Ramon Castilla.

Large portions of the city were destroyed by a major fire in 1896.

On July 8, 1898, the Guayaquil City Hall or Muy Ilustre Municipalidad de Guayaquil officially recognized the anthem written by Jose Joaquin de Olmedo in 1821, with the music composed by Ana Villamil Ycaza in 1895, as the Himno al 9 de Octubre Cancion al Nueve de Octubre, most widely known now as the Himno a Guayaquil or Guayaquil Anthem.

Guayaquileno’s main sources of income are: formal and informal trade, business, agriculture and aquaculture. Most commerce consists of small and medium businesses, adding an important informal economy occupation that gives thousands of guayaquilenos employment.

The Port of Guayaquil is Ecuador's most important commercial port; most international import and export merchandise passes through the Gulf of Guayaquil. As the largest city in the country, most industries are located either in the city or its peripheral areas.

Ongoing projects seek urban regeneration as a principal objective of the growth of the city's commercial districts, as the increase of capital produces income. These projects in the city driven by the recent mayors have achieved this goal after investing large sums of money.

The current municipal administration aims to convert Guayaquil into a place for first-class international tourism and multinational businesses.

Guayaquil is the nation's largest city and the capital of Guayas Province. It is on the Guayas River about 60 kilometres (40 mi) north of the Gulf of Guayaquil, near the Equator.

Guayaquil is constantly facing tsunami and major earthquake threats due to its soil stratigraphy and location near the Gulf of Guayaquil and the south of North-Andean subduction zone.

The city can be easily damaged by earthquake as its weak and compressible soil stratigraphy is composed of deep soft sediments over hard rocks and deposits in a brackish environment.

Also, the city itself is strongly affected by the subduction of the active Ecuadorian margin, an intraplate region where active faults locate; and the Guayaquil-Babahoyo strike-slip fault system, formed as the North Andean Block drifts northward.

The tsunami threat is caused by the nearby Gulf of Guayaquil which also is one of the major locations on the Earth where earthquakes tend to happen all the time. It has complex tectonic features such as the Posorja and the Jambeli –two major east-west trending detachment systems.

The Puna-Santa Clara northeast-southwest trending fault system; and the Domito north-south trending fault system; that have developed since the Pleistocene times.

Guayaquil features a tropical savanna climate. Between January and April, the climate is hot and humid with heavy rainfall, especially during El Nino years when it increases dramatically and flooding usually occurs.

The rest of the year from May through December, however, rainfall is minimal due to the cooling influence of the Humboldt Current, with usually cloudy mornings and afternoons, and evening breezes.

Guayaquil, along with most of the coastal region, was impacted by the April 16, 2016 earthquake of 7.8 magnitude. A bridge that was above a major artery, Avenida de las Americas, collapsed in the early evening of April 16, killing two people.

Typical Guayaquil cuisine includes mostly seafood dishes such as encebollado and ceviche. The most traditional dish of Guayaquil is Arroz con Menestra y Carne Asada (rice with lentils and grilled beef. Churrasco is also a staple food of Guayaquil.

During breakfast, Patacones and Bolon de Verde or fried plantain with cheese mashed and given a rounded shape play a big role. Pan de yuca is a typical snack in Guayaquil.

Local cuisine is heavily influenced by the diversity of Guayaquil's ethnic groups which includes Italian, Spanish and West African origins.

The oldest and largest religion in Guayaquil is the Roman Catholic Church. However, in the late 20th century and early 21st century, the fastest growing religion has been the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has an operating Temple in Guayaquil.

A future temple in Quito, plus many stakes, wards and branches. There are also a number of Evangelical and Pentecostal churches.

There are two major association football clubs; the Barcelona Sporting Club and the Club Sport Emelec. Each club has its own stadium; the Estadio Monumental Banco Pichincha is the home of the Barcelonistas while the Estadio George Capwell is the home of the Emelecistas.

These two teams have a long history of rivalry in Guayaquil and when these two teams play against each other the game is called El Clasico del Astillero.

The city is the birthplace of Francisco Segura Cano; and Andres Gomez and Nicolas Lapentti, Ecuador's two most famous tennis players, now both retired.

The Abierto de Tenis Ciudad de Guayaquil is a tennis tournament organised in Guayaquil by Gomez and Luis Morejon, and held annually in November.

Another major event in the city is the Guayaquil Marathon, which has been held every year on the first weekend of October since 2005. These race is certified by the (AIMS) Association of International Marathons and Distance Races.

The Parque Samanes is a sports park with courts for soccer, tennis, volleball, and basketball, two lakes, a soccer stadium and an amphi theatre for open air concerts and events.

It is connected to a forest reserve with trails for cycling and walking, as well as installations for Climbing and zip-lining.

The Malecon 2000 is a restoration project of the historic Simon Bolivar Pier. It will be a symbolic centre of the city, a mix of green areas and shopping. The tall ship Guayas has its home base here.

The Palacio Municipal is located in front of the Malecon and holds the political offices of city and provincial officials. Built in a neoclassical style, it is considered one of the most important architectural works in the country.

Las Penas is a neighbourhood in the northeast corner of the city centre; is the artistic centre of the city. Many of the area's 400-year-old houses have been converted into art galleries and several notable artists have studios in the area.

The Mercado Artesanal is the largest artisan market in the city. The market is housed in a 240-shop building that takes up an entire block.

Parque Centenario is located on Av. 9 de Octubre, between Lorenzo de Garaycoa and Pedro Moncayo. This is the largest park in the town centre, occupying four city blocks. A large Statue of Liberty dominates the central area of the park.

Parque Seminario,also known as Parque de Las Iguanas or Iguana Park is home to many iguanas, some of which approach 5 feet (1.5 m) in length. Tourists and locals alike often feed the iguanas mango slices from park vendors.

An equestrian statue of Simon Bolivar is located in the centre of the park.

Urdesa is a traditional neighborhood, for restaurants and stores.

Guayaquil Municipal Museum

Among Guayaquil's major trading points are the seaport, the largest in Ecuador and one of the biggest handlers of shipping on the shores of the Pacific; and Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport.

Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport, though using the same runways, had its passenger terminal completely rebuilt in 2006 and was renamed. The old passenger terminal is now a convention centre.

The main mass public transportation in Guayaquil is the Metrovia which is relatively new yet the most used way of public transportation. There are local buses as well with defined routes.

Though tremors were felt during the recent earthquake in Ecuador, the main areas of Guayaquil remain unscathed and structurally unaffected.

The origin of the name Guayaquil derives from the love story myth of Tribal Chief Guayas and his wife Quil.

The city was founded on July 25, 1538 with the name Santiago de Guayaquil by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana. Even before it was founded by the Spanish, it already existed as a native village of the Huancavilca tribe.

A plunder destination for pirates. In 1687, Guayaquil was looted by George d'Hout (English) and Picard and Groniet (Frenchmen). In 1709, the English captains Woodes Rogers, Etienne Courtney, and William Dampier along with hundreds of pirates, attacked Guayaquil and demanded ransom.

However, they suddenly departed without collecting when the epidemic of yellow fever broke out.

Throughout the years, the city became known for its great Shipyards or Astilleros with clients from all over the new continent.

In October 9, 1820, a group of civilians supported by soldiers from a battalion quartered in the city, declared Independence from Spanish Royalist Forces. Becoming The Independent Province of Guayaquil until 1822 when it was annexed to Simon Bolivar's Colombia.

In 1830, the Southern part of Colombia decided to leave the union and create an independent state called Republic of Ecuador.

Today Guayaquil is still the main port, trading and financial center of Ecuador.

The new Jose Joaquin 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.

In this airport, you can find daily non-stop flights to New York, Miami, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Amsterdam, Bogota, Panama City, among many Latin American destinations.

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. Currently there are plans to build a new international airport for about 20 minutes from Guayaquil, near Daular.

If you are planning to visit the Galapagos Islands, Guayaquil is the smartest place to take a flight from.

There are three air carriers that will take you across to the Galapagos Islands as well as to the Ecuadorean mainland, LAN, Aerogal and TAME have non stop daily flights, departing from Guayaquil is cheaper than leaving from the Capital city.

Most of the Quito flights do make an stop at Guayaquil for refueling and picking up passengers.

International departure airport tax is included in the flight ticket.

If you are driving, your horn is your best friend. Being careful and common sense will get you to your destination. Gas stations are full service.

You can also rent a car cheaply just outside the airport, paying around $35 a day, Carmax is one of the less expensive yet reliable companies available.

Guayaquíl has direct connections to all major Ecuadorian cities and indirect connections all over the country.

The huge mall/bus station or Terminal Terrestre for connections out of the city is right next to the airport a walking distance. You can buy tickets on the lower level and workers will often come up to you and ask where you're going in hopes of getting you on to their bus.

More than one company goes to most places, so ask around if you're looking for an ejecutivo or directo bus and you can save yourself some time and comfort.

The city also is served by international buses, to Chile, Peru and Colombia. Cruz del Sur operate international bus connections through Peru.

Within the city the local bus system is confusing but the locals will help you get where you want to go. Guayaquil's bus terminal is well organized, but still keep an close eye on your belongings. Keep your items close to you during the midnight check points.

Guayaquil´s port is the largest in Ecuador. You can travel to Galápagos Islands from here.

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 30 cents but you need an electronic card to pay, they don't accept cash anymore.

It is a realiable and easy-to-navigate transport system; has modern buses and stops. Fortunatelly, it boast a good connection between downtown and to the main bus terminal and the airport.

The Rio Daule terminal is located just crossing the street from the main bus terminal and some blocks away around 15 minutes walking from the airport.

Remember to match the code of the bus eg. T1, CS, T3, ect with the station where are you heading to, since not all buses stop at all stations.

You can use the map posted at each station for this purpose. The following stations will drop close by to some tourist attractions: La Catedral, Las Penas, Jardines del Malecon, Banco Central and Biblioteca Municipal.

Within the city the local bus system is confusing but the locals will help you get where you want to go. It is also the cheapest way to get around the city as there is no metro system.

For women it is safest if you sit at the front near the driver but don't be alarmed the bus is a safe way to travel around Guayaquil.

Taxis range from taxi amigos or un-marked taxis you call to pick you up, to the standard yellow cabs. Taxi drivers will try to over charge tourists. Nicer taxis are metered by GPS, but the majority of taxis do not have meters.

Always agree on a price or make sure the meter is running before you get into a cab. Preferably, don't take any street cabs as some taxi-kidnapping occurs. Call a taxi if you can or take taxis from known places like the airport, bus station, or commercial centers.

You can also rent a car at one of the few places to rent just outside the airport. Prices range from $25 and up per day. Anyone with a drivers license from their home country can drive as a tourist in Ecuador.

However, if you happen to be involved in a crash the police may take both drivers to jail until they sort everything out and decide what happened. Just take the bus.

Good places worth a visit:

These places are located in the downtown area, near the main hotels and at the heart of the regenerated area, a very secure walk.

The Malecon Simon Bolivar. It is the riverfront promenade for the Guayas River, with shops, theaters, museums, gardens and shopping arcades. The Rotonda monument in the middle of the Malecon, commemorates the famous meeting of Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin that took place there.

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 or Area regenerada, very secure to walk and look around.

Museums or Museo Municipal, Museo Nahim Isaias, MAAC and Presley Northon Museum are located in the center of the downtown.

Santa Ana & El Carmen hills, you can see almost the whole city from here. You can walk up the 400 odd steps to the top from the Malecon Simon Bolivar. There is a lighthouse, museum, small chapel and park at the top. Along the stairs, vendors sell water, ice cream and other snacks.

Las Penas, where the city was founded, was actually rebuilt and painted bright colors where most of Guayaquil's colonial buildings are.

Parks, i recommend to visit the Seminario Parque de las Iguanas downtown, which is home to hundreds of tame iguanas, some fish in a pond and a black squirrel or two, and do not forget some turtles.

The Central Bank Building has several giant paintings on the outside of the building.

Markets, you can visit the Mercado Artesanal, where you can buy some very traditional souvenirs from all regions of Ecuador.

Parque Histórico, Avenue Rio Esmer Aldas, Guayaquil, Ecuador. an interesting recreation of the early 20th century years of Guayaquil, the look, the people and the food. Includes a small zoo, some old town-buildings where moved here as well as a Hacienda Building and a small country-side farm-house.

There is also a garden where you can see all kinds of tropical fruits being grown. In case you know coffee only as the black beans, chocolate only as powder and sugar only as a white powder, this is the place to go. no entrance fee.

Jardín Botanico or Botanical Garden, ciudadela las Orquideas, Av. Francisco De Orellana in the northern part of the city. In the Botanical Garden you find many tropical plants directly under the blue sky as well as local animals and especially a butterfly farm.

The cemetery north from the centre has few impressing graves and statues as well as plenty of more normal graves. Worth a visit if you're into graveyards.

Zoologico El Pantanal, Km. 23 Vía a Daule, Guayaquil. Nice small zoo in the northern part of Guayaquil. Visit, if the kids want to see more animals after having been to Parque Historico.

Crucero Discovery, rides up and down the Rio Guayas. You can catch it at Malecon Simon Bolivar. Crazy parties at night.

Traditionally, Salinas has been the main beach, but since 2008 General Villamil Playas has attracted a big part of the local and international tourism. Fishing, surfing, and other water sports. Many modern hotels and delicious sea food. Interesting night life. Wonderful whale-watching during June to September.

6 de Marzo is an interesting street to visit about 10 blocks from the downtown area during the week before New Year's Eve, because the street is lined with Anos Viejos or old years, paper mache figures ranging in size from about 12 inches up to 10 or more feet tall.

These are often political, movie or cartoon characters.

La Bahia, just off the southern end of the Malecon Simon Bolivar. Huge market area full of shops and stalls of almost anything imaginable.

Because it is so cheap you will have lower social class people and have to be a little careful with belongings.

Cocoa or Banana plantations are located around Guayaquil city.

Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco, km.16 vía a la Costa,infront of the Unidad Educativa Cenest Harvard. 8AM-4PM. Just on the outskirts of Guayaquil, owned and managed by the NGO Fundacion Pro-Bosque, this reserve covers over 6000 hectares of tropical dry forest.

It´s open to visits 7 days of the week for guided or shorter self-guided walks to explore the plants and animals that live there. You need to reserve ahead on weekdays. There is also a cabaana you can stay in. From $4.

Biblioteca Municipal de Guayaquil or Municipal Library of Guayaquil serves as the public library of Guayaquil.

There are many language schools and some universities. Guayaquil is also 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 about 20 malls in the city and Samborondon.

Among the best places to shop:

- City Mall

- Riocentro Los Ceibos

- Plaza Lagos

- San Marino

- Riocentro Entrerios

- Village Plaza

- Mall del Sol

- Piazza

- Three Supermaket chains namely: Supermaxi, MiComisariato & Megamaxi are all over the city with superb availability for any need
Mercado Artesanal is an old building but definitely the best place to buy traditional souvenirs.

There are many traditional dishes in the range of seafood, white and red meats. Many with colorful names such as encebollado, seco de pollo, ceviche or caldo de salchicha. The traditional soups and stews this country offers are outstanding.

Vegetarian food is not very common in Guayaquil, but there is a guesthouse in the Centro called Manso that serves quinoa, lentil hamburguers and other dishes that combine Ecuadorian ingredients in fast food format for veggies.

Many international fast food chains are found throughout the city such as TGI Friday's, Burger King, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Chilli's Grill & Bar, KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken, etc.

There is a lot of great cuisine in Guayaquil's downtown. For a trip on a budget, it is the place to go.

La Parrilla del Nato, has Locations all over the city. Grilled meat and Sangria, the way its done on a South American port. Around 10 usd per person.

Chinese restaurants Chifas are found throughout the city, mostly Cantonese and the food is very good.

Puerto Moro with a few locations around town, it is a great choice. Any of the Suco Moro dishes are strongly recommended.

Cafe de Tere good place to have a real Ecuadorian breakfast.

El Patacon restaurant in Urdesa serves typical dishes, mostly based on Plantain, green bananas called Platano.

Lo Nuestro in Urdesa, has a good variety of traditional dishes.

Trattoria Piccolo Mondo, Balsamos 504 e/ Las Monjas y Ebanos. Real Italian cuisine. Around 20 usd per person.

Samborondon is located at the northeast of the city. Bocca and Terrazas are good choices.

Plaza Lagos is an excellent place, located a few minutes from the Samborondon main area. Traditional architecture and some of the best restaurants in town. A bit pricey but worth the visit.

The main road of the Urdesa area is the Victor Emilio Estrada St, North of the city. A large selection of international cuisine and nice bars.
Kosher food its available for delivery.

Great nightlife, you can go to 5 or more discos in one night, and don't need to travel much. The usual price for entering is 10 to 15 USD which are consumable in most places. Usually the parties there last to 4 am. but you can always find something else to do in this city.

Visit the Zona Rosa and Penas located at the secure regenerated area, with several options of night life. Several brands of beer are available.

El Gran Yate, Alborada (close to Dreamkapture). Crabs and beers, Free.

Bloom Club, Aventura Plaza Local 46,Av. Las Monjas, Urdesa. Opens from Thursday to Saturday at 20:00 - 04:00. It is a mid-size club for 200 people aprox. offering a broad selection of music and drinks, very popular among people from 20 to 40 y.o.

The Shopping Center Aventura Plaza offers security and has a nice park inside, with a huge Iguana sculpture o it; it features other sport and karaoke bars, small discos and some good restaurants as well, at affordable prices.

A parking lot is available at no cost but if you plan to drink, taking a cab is better, and at your departure it is recommended to ask the host to get you a secure taxi.

The entrance fee is $20 consumable but if you are an International traveller you can enter for free and pay as you drink showing your passport or International ID. The costs ranges from $3 to $5 a beer, and $6 to $10 a glass of rum, vodka, whisky or a cocktail, or a bottle starting from $75.

La Paleta, Las Penas. 18:00-02:00. Open from Wednesday to Saturday this places offers a great variety of cocktails in a cozy and alternative ambiance and lounge music.

The city has hotels for every pocket and decent hotel rooms can be had for around $10 a night.

Nucapacha Hostel, Urdesa Central. Balsamos Sur #308 at Los Todos Santos. checkout: 13:00. Clean hostel with breakfast, WiFi, and a large pool included in price. The pool is cleaned every 10 days or so. WiFi usually works,drops when the hostel phone rings.

Plenty of private rooms and spacious dormitories. Kitchen is stocked pretty well. The included breakfast is 1 scrambled egg, 2 slices of toast, jam, butter, coffee, and fresh juice. Staff is nice. Shared bathrooms are cleaned well daily. $11 dorm bed.

Guayaquil Airport Suites Mall del Sol, Torres del Sol directly across from the Mall del Sol. checkin: 2pm; checkout: noon. Luxury suites available within 3 minutes of the GYE airport with 24 hr receptionist and security, pool, elevators and dedicated private Wifi signal. From $49 per suite.

Hotel Rio, Esq. Boayaca y Victor Manuel Rendon. checkout: 08:00. Absolute dump, cheapest place available. Seems good on security, just a few streets away from Boulevard 9 de Octubre and the central plaza.

Mostly used by locals for short sexual liasons. No windows, no english, no internet. From $7 total for a two people shared room, matrimonial bed.

Hotel Andes Inn, L. de Garaycoa 1233 y C. Ballen. Cheap hotel. Cable TV. Windows and AC in more expensive rooms, cheaper rooms can be dark and grotty. Internet in lobby. From $12.

Hotel Berlín, Rumichaca y Sucre. Cable TV, Air conditioner, free Internet, in the center of Guayaquil near to Malecon 2000, Seminario Park. From $8,00.

Hotel Sander, Luque 1101,Very close to the Parque de Centennario. checkout: 13.00. Simple and clean place just a few blocks from the center of town. Rooms have TVs, fans and towels. From $17.

Hotel Alexander, Luque 1107 y Avenida Quito, Very close to the Parque de Centenario. checkout: 14.00. Neat and clean hotel, cheapest on it's category, just a few blocks from 9 de Octubre Ave. Has Hot Water, TV, WIFI, Internet Caffe in lobby, A/C, Restaurant, Laundry service, Room service. From $28.

Murali Hostal Airport Guayaquil, Garzota 2 La Salle y 3er Callejon esq. mz 135. Clean, safe, good value hotel just 2 short blocks from the Airport and bus terminal in Guayaquil. Pet-friendly, AC, Patio for smokers, Free WIFI in rooms. From $45.

Manso, located in the city's centro, right across the street from Malecon 2000, is a budget guesthouse that has full service riverview suites, and more economic rooms with with and withour air conditioner. Also rooms with shared bathroom and dorms with private bath US$12 per person.

Friendly staff, clean accommodations, wifi, and towel provided. Nice deco, beautiful historic landmark building.

Suites Guayaquil or Guayaquil Airport Hotel, Near Airport Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Guayaquil,Garzota, Cdla. Simon Bolivar Mz.2, V.9. checkin: 2:00 PM; checkout: 12.00 PM. free internet wi-fi, laundry,private rooms,cable tv,hot water,clean rooms. From $20 pers.

Casa Cino Fabiani, Numa Pompilio Llona #196, Barrio Las Penas, Guayaquil EC090150, Ecuador,Tell taxi driver to take you to Barrio Las Penas. It is the fourth house after the beginning of the cobblestones. The guesthouse is number 196. Check-in: At leisure.

Check-out: 12:00pm Cool guesthouse in a gorgeously restored building in pedestrianized area of bohemian Las Penas.

Very clean and in safe location with security guard and gate. Lots of private rooms with amazing views of the river and Malecon 2000. A/C available. Plenty of chill out areas with nice music. Breakfast included. Free WiFi and towels. Dorms from:~$15. Private Rooms from: ~$30.

Hotel Doral. Large hotel in the middle of El Centro, outstanding location, staff, beautiful rooms, awesome dining, near Malecon 2000, great restaurants, and a quick Cabify ride to the airport. Chile 402 y Aguirre, Guayaquil 090313, Ecuador.

La Fontana. One of the best mid-range hotels in town, exceptional location, friendly staff, nice rooms, cable. Price is around 45 dollars for a single, 50-55 for a double, but discounts are available. P. Icaza 404 y Cordova.

Iguanazu, Ciudadela La Cogra, Manzana 1, Villa 2, off Avenida Julio Arosemena km 3,5. From busterminal terrestre 5 $ by taxi. Most recommendable. Enjoy lovely views of Guayaquil in one of the hammocks on the large terrace or refresh yourself in the pool.

Starting from 15 $ for dorm, private rooms are available up to matrimonial class with own jacuzzi. Breakfast included, free internet access, modern cooking facilities, warm water and towels, friendly staff, nice guesthouse, very clean.

Marriott Courtyard Guayaquil, Av. Francisco de Orellana #236. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM. 144 guest rooms with complimentary high speed Internet access, comfortable beds and large work desks.

Grand Hotel Guayaquil known locally as the Hotel Guayaquil - 5 stars, 10 minutes from the airport in the heart of the city. Beautiful pool, waterfalls, stunning stained glass windows of the Cathedral and a 45 ft. hanging garden.

Hilton Colon International- 5 stars, located at the heart of the Northern area.

Hotel Oro Verde Not to be mistaken with the Hotel Loro Verde - 5 stars runs by the Swiss Administration.

Hotel Continental - 5 stars, in front of the Parque de las iguanas.

Holiday Inn Guayaquil Airport - Walking distance from the airport. Rooftop pool and hot tub; exercise room. Free high speed WiFi internet. Some staff speak English. Option to add breakfast for an additional $12.

Restaurant offers a buffet dinner for about $18 per person or options a la carte from the menu. Clean and highly recommended if only staying as a stopover to travel to the Galapagos Islands or other transfer locations.

Howard Johnson Hotel - 5 stars, near the airport

Sheraton Four Points Hotel - 5 stars, in front of the Mall del Sol

Best Western - 4 stars, near the main attractions

Marriot Hotel by Courtyard - Marriott Rewards category: 2 , located on the new downtown of Guayaquil at Kennedy's North area.

Best Western Guayaquil - 4 stars hotel located in the downtown area.

Hampton Inn Hotels - 4 stars hotel located at the main street on 9 of Octubre Avenue.

Unipark Hotels - 4 start hotels inside the Unicentro's mall.

DreamKapture hostal, Alborada 12 Av. Etapa, Mz-02 Villa 21. A friendly hostel with a nice outside area. They offer a book exchange and the accommodation comes with a delicious breakfast. Prices are on roombasis, but if it's possible you can share it with other people.

A dorm 11$ with Breakfast. A single room with private bathroom and with air conditioner $22, without a/c $18, breakfast included. They can pick you up from the airport and it will cost $15. 5$ taxi to Malecon or .30 cents bus drive,bus # 121 marked city mall which is a 10min walk from the hostel.

Close to Airport and Bus terminal. However, be forewarned. DreamKapture does not allow Ecuadorians to stay on the premises. If you are traveling with an Ecuadorian, you'd best look elsewhere.

Ecuahogar, Av. Isidro Ayora, Sauces Uno Mz F-31 Solar 20. Basic, but expensive rooms with a ventilator and television. Bathrooms are shared. Two bread rolls with marmalade and a coffee for breakfast is included in the price. A night in a single room costs $12.

It is far from the attractions area but near the airport and the national bus station or Terminal Terrestre.

There are cyber cafes around to communicate with distant friends and relatives. These often have telephone booths for making (VoIP) phone calls. Some malls or Mall del Sol, Riocentro Los Ceibos even offer free Wi-Fi in the food courts, in addition to free entertainment.

Consulates with offices in Guayaquil:

- United States

- Germany

- Greece

- The Netherlands

- Syria

- Switzerland

- Japan

- Colombia

- United Kingdom

- Israel

- Mexico

Piedra Blanca is just three hours away, where one can take rainforest tours, rafting expeditions and visit local fascinating cultural sites.

Other places that you can visit are the beaches at Playas which is about 90 minutes away, and the more popular Salinas beach which is about two hours away up the Via la Costa.

Quito is about a seven hour drive less than an hour flight also for about $125 round trip.

Cuenca is about a four hour drive,half-hour flight for about $120 round trip through beautiful and interesting scenery, including a mangrove preserve, cocoa and banana plantations, cloud forests and mountains.

Not to far out, perhaps 30-50 minutes, there is a beautiful cocoa plantation where they also make chocolate. The owners entertain tour groups by serving cocoa juice and plantain snacks before you are taken on a tour of the cocoa plantation right up to the final chocolate tasting.

You are then entertained with a delicious local lunch. Absolutely fabulous. It is past the orchids farm on the same road. The cost is $110 per person when booked via tour operator Canodos. The tour operator is essential if you don't speak Spanish.

There are several bus companies that cross the border for to Peru are available from Guayaquil. Most services stops close to the main cities along the Panamericana motorway; such as Machala, Tumbes, Mancora, Piura and all the way to Lima.

CIFA have a stand inside the main terminal, within the international section. Usually this is the company that provide the cheapest services and a popular choice among backpackers. They have several departure times a day and different services.

Procure the direct services that goes to your desired destination, since some services do stop a lot along the way. Their buses might have somewhat low cleaning standards.

Ormeno Buses leave daily around 11:00 a.m. close to the main bus terminal, where their office is located. Just go to the terminal, ask for the office of Ormeno and walk 5 minutes outside the terminal. Ormeno has been in business for several years.

Unfortunately, the buses where never renewed and are known for bad services, so air conditioning might not work. In case one should have problems at the Peruvian boarder, the bus drivers might not wait until the formalities are done.

Ecuatoriano Pullman, departs everyday at 11 PM from the main station, where their stand is also located at the international section.

Nevertheless, other companies like Ruta De America and Caracol can be valuable alternatives. Routa de America goes from Guayaquil to Lima every Sunday. Call their office in Quito for more information.

Tourism Observer

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