Dirty, crowded, dangerous. These were the words used most often to describe Guayaquil, Ecuador from the moment I arrived in Quito. Even Quito’s nightly news promoted a threatening image of Guayaquil. So, I became afraid and sorry for the earlier version of myself that planned to stay in Guayaquil for a portion of my vacation from work.
But then an Ecuadorian co-worker expressed his suspicion that much of Quito’s news on Guayaquil was propoganda to get people’s minds off of how dangerous Quito is. Another co-worker, citing how much negativity Guayaquil receives, beamed about her time in the coastal city and provided me with a list of her favorite things to do there. With enough of this support for the potential to actually enjoy myself in Guayaquil I grew excited for my 6 day trip there!
The enthusiasm of the latter co-worker rubbed off on me and I really enjoyed my time there. Now, it was sweltering hot at almost all times, but I’d say that was the biggest negative! I also dealt with much more cat calling in Guayaquil, while in Quito it is rare for me. All that aside, I never felt myself to be in grave danger and found myself taking the same level of precaution I use in Quito.
My favorite place that I visited was Parque Historico – part forest reserve, part 20th-century architectural reserve, and part information source on so-called ‘peasant life’ during the early days of cocoa farming. Though Malecon 2000, Guayaquil’s beautiful long strip of boardwalk, comes in a close second.
For honorable mentions:
(1) Guayaquil’s Museum of Contemporary Art, located at the tip of Malecon 2000, was a pleasure, especially because I’m big on visiting Museums while traveling.
(2) Isla Santay was a great, although hot, day trip where one can be in nature, see crocodiles, and learn about how the Isla Santay initiatives impact the local community.
(3) Parque Seminario (aka Parque de las Iguanas) is filled iguanas who call it home and seeing it in real life turned out to be really cool!
Should travelers take the average precautions, Guayaquil is a great place to spend a few days. It’s more than just a layover on your way to Galapagos or elsewhere.