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Located on the coast, Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador and the commercial hub. Even though it is in the same small country, it is a world apart from its mountainous neighbor, Quito. Guayaquil, with a population of about 3 million, has far more Western influence than most of the neighboring Latin cities. Smog, traffic, dirty streets and numerous stores displaying flat panel TVs and fancy electronics show the sharp contrast between what's coming and what has been. With a clear taste for the American way (and American fast food) much of Guayaquil is turning modern. This city is perfect for those looking for a cheap place to visit with a few nice things to see and access to the Galapagos Islands (by plane) and the beaches of Ecuador (by bus or car). With the use of the US$ the currency is easy to understand and negotiate. The mass importation of goods allows you to buy anything you want at any price you please. The locals speak fast and have a very strong accent, which can be a challenge if you're still just learning Spanish.
Best thing to see and do in Guayaquil is the spectacular multi-million dollar board walk. Several kilometres long, the state of the art walk way borders the inlet to the ocean. It has every thing from a physical exercise area, to a play ground, to an Imax theater, many restaurants, security guards every few hundred yards, a huge monument (on every postcard) to Simon Bolivar and much more.From the board walk you can pick a famous replica pirate ship and sail for a day for not too much money. The ship is old and well maintained and may well be the highlight of your trip to Guayaquil.
The climate is warm and humid all year round. Averge highs range from 28 °C in July and August to 32 °C in March and April, while average lows range from 19 °C from July to September to 23 °C in March. Annual precipitation averages around 1,100mm with most of it falling from January to April.
If you are planning to visit the Galapagos Islands, Guayaquil is the cheapest place to take a flight from. There are three air carriers that will take you across the Galapagos Islands as well as the Ecuadorean mainland. LAN-ECUADOR, Aerogal and TAME have non stop daily flights. Departing from Guayaquil is cheaper than leaving from Quito; it's closer and most of the Quito flights do make an stop at Guayaquil's airport for refueling and picking up passengers.
If you are driving, your horn is your best friend. Be careful, as the city is full of aggressive drivers, but if you are always on the defensive you won't get anywhere. 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.
Cruz del Sur operate international bus services to and from Peru. Guayaquil's bus terminal is well organized, but still keep an close eye on your belongings. There are frequent connections to almost every destination in Ecuador. Keep your items close to you during the midnight check points. The police will steal valuables when the men leave the bus to be checked for weapons; this occurs on night busses around Ecuador.
Guayaquil´s port is the biggest in Ecuador. You can travel to the Galápagos Islands and other destinations from here.
Taxis range from "taxi amigos" (un-marked taxis you call to pick you up) to the standard yellow cabs. Taxi drivers will try to overcharge 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.
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 reliable and easy-to-navigate transport system; has modern buses and stops. Fortunately, it boasts a good connection between downtown and to the main bus terminal and the airport. The Rio Daule terminal is located just across 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 (e.g. T1, CS, T3, etc.) 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 Peñas, Jardines del Malecón, 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.
Guayaquileans have a predilection for sea food, especially for "Cebiches" (raw fish marinated in lemon juice), "Encebollado" (cooked fish with onions and yucca) and"Cangrejadas" (crab gatherings), in which family and/or friends get together around a table with the typical tools such as a small hammer and a board to savour them, accompanied by different hot sauces. All the above dishes are served with rice which is "Ecuadorians daily bread". To enjoy these local specialties, visit Guayaquil's best Ecuadorian food restaurants and/or Sea food restaurants.
|Casa de Romero||Calle Velez 501 Boyaca||Guesthouse||84|
|Dreamkapture Hostal||Alborada Doceava Etapa Calle Juan Sixto Bernal; MZ 02, Villa 21||Hostel||76|
|Iguanazu||Cdla la Cogra av Carlos Julio Arosemena km 3 1/2 m||Guesthouse||-|
|Manso Boutique Guesthouse||Malecon 1406 Aguirre||Guesthouse||82|
|Tangara Guest House||Ciudadela Bolivariana block F, house 1 Manuela Saenz||Guesthouse||81|
|Hostel Nucapacha||Balsamos Sur 308 Urdesa Central.||Hostel||83|
|Hostal Suites Madrid||Quisquis 305 and Rumichaca Downtown||Guesthouse||82|
|Hostal Alborada||Alborada 6ta Mz. 665 V 7||Guesthouse||-|
|Tabuba Guest House||Sauces 2 Mz F112 Villa 109||Guesthouse||-|
|Atlantic Suites Hotel||Escobedo 812 Between Junin and Luis Urdaneta||HOTEL||62|
|Thefunkymonkeyhostel||Cdla. Vernaza Norte Mz 5 V11||Hostel||77|
|Hotel Jeshua||Padre Solano 1501 y Jose Mascote||Hotel||80|
|Murali Hostal Airport Guayaquil||Garzota 2 La Salle and 3er Callejon esq. mz 135||HOTEL||-|
|Hostal North Star||Avenida Isidro Ayora, Sauces 1, Manzana F36, Solar 14||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Suites Guayaquil||Avenida Leopoldo Benítez y Avenida Hermano Miguel MZ 2, V 9||Hotel||-|
|Puerto Azul||Vi�a a la Costa, Km 10 Puerto Azul||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Manso Boutique Guesthouse||Malecon 1406 y Aguirre||GUESTHOUSE||-|
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.
Internet cafes can be found nearly everywhere in the major cities and in many of the smaller ones. Cost is from $1 to $2 per hour in the large cities, and the better places have high-speed access. In some cafes, restaurants, and hotels you can find free wifi access, most of them protected by passwords; in most cases, you just have to ask for the password.
See also International Telephone Calls
The international telephone code for Ecuador is 593. The general emergency number is 911, but there are special ones of police (101) and fire (102).
The centre of most towns, cities and villages have telephone 'shops', advertised in the street as 'cabinas'. Go in, ask for a free phone booth and call. There is usually a digital display giving the cost (per second) of your call, whether local, national or international. You can call the United States for about $0.10 per minute and Europe for a bit more. Avoid making a phone call through an operator; the cost for an international call can be $3 or more per minute. For calls within Ecuador, it is possible to use a telephone cabin.
Some mobile phone SIM cards of various networks have problems working in Ecuador - you can purchase a local network SIM (for an unlocked phone) for a few dollars in local mobile phone shops. The costs of calling are higher though at around $0.45 an hour.
Correos del Ecuador is the national postal service of Ecuador. It's fairly reliable to send postcards and letters to other countries, though count on at least 5 days up to weeks for it to arrive. In general, postal services to North America are much faster than to other western countries. Prices start at around $1 (up to 20 grams), but rise steeply after that. You can get stamps at post offices or small shops/kiosks. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays, although there are slight variations throughout the country. If you are going to send heavier post or post which has more value, it might be better to contact private courier companies like DHL, TNT, UPS or FedEx, which are generally about the same price and much faster!
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