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- 23 Jan 2021, 3 nights
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Guayaquil in Ecuador has plenty to attract travellers, from its historic hillside houses to its revived waterfront. The largest city in Ecuador, it sits on the banks of the Guayas River and is a gateway to the famous Galapagos Islands. Stay to discover sunny plazas, parks with free-roaming iguanas and restaurants dishing up Ecuadorian favourites like ceviche and encebollado (fish stew). After dark, its bars and clubs come alive with locals dancing salsa and merengue.
Hostels in Guayaquil are brimming with South American charm. Choose a homely guesthouse with a communal patio and pool or stay in a traditional casa where the owners will gladly share insider tips on exploring the city. There are modern dorms right by the riverside, as well as private rooms close to the airport. Most Guayaquil hostels have free Wi-Fi and some serve breakfast too. Look out for those that also provide taxi services.
Malecón 2000 is the city's redeveloped riverside district. The 2.5km boardwalk is dotted with sculptures, parks, playgrounds and cafés perfect for a caffeine fix mid-stroll. In the historic neighbourhood of Las Peñas, which dates back over 400 years, cobbled lanes take visitors past colourful wooden houses. Nearby is Santa Ana Hill, where you can climb 444 steps to reach the fort of Fortín del Cerro. The district of La Bahia is home to the Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as a bustling market.
There's plenty to see and do in Guayaquil, from monuments such as the Hemicycle De La Rotonda to cultural attractions like the Museum of Anthropology and Contemporary Art. For a bird’s-eye view, take a ride on La Perla, the first Ferris wheel in Ecuador. Visitors can also cruise down the Guayas River on a pirate ship to admire the city from the water. Another popular attraction is Parque Seminario, where you can spot iguanas among the trees.
José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport is located about 9km north of Guayaquil. A taxi ride to the centre will take around 20 minutes; alternatively, you can hop on a Metrovia bus into the city. Within Guayaquil, many visitors opt to get around via private taxi. If you're looking to explore more of Ecuador, Guayaquil's new bus terminal has services running day and night to other popular destinations such as Quito and Cuenca.