Guayaquil - A Thriving River-Port City
The largest city in Ecuador, Guayaquil is a busy river and seaport city in the Costa Region. It is generally considered to be the economic capital of Ecuador and the thriving entrepreneurial spirit of its people give evidence to this fact. Not only is this city located on the coast, but it is also the center of activity for the Lower Guayas Basin – a fertile valley that has a large agricultural yield. Guayaquil is also the perfect place to start your Ecuadorian adventures as it allows for easy travel through the rest of the country. If you are planning to travel, you might be tempted by the exotic flowers and fruits of Ambato, enjoy the beaches of Playas, Banos and Salinas, or head towards the Amazon Rain Forest – all are within easy reach of Guayaquil. And to top it off, the Galapagos Islands are only a two hour flight from Guayaquil.
While many choose to use Guayaquil as a stopover on their way into Ecuador, the city has quite a bit to offer. Besides historical attractions, museums and archeological ruins, there are a number of reserves on the outskirts that offer ecotourism opportunities. The promenade along the Guayas River makes for a great afternoon stroll. If you're looking for a different way of dining, try one of the restaurant boats bobbing on the Guayas river in the Las Peñas district which offer great seafood. From the deck of the boat you'll be able to watch boats of all kinds – from sea-going vessels to dugout canoes. Fishing trawlers and banana peddlers also make use of these waters.
Also quite interesting is the Church of Santo Domingo and the Cathedral, which were both built in the 1400s. The Church of Santo Domingo houses a water fountain that is said to have restorative properties and the Cathedral boasts beautiful stained glass windows. The Parque Del Centenario is roughly four blocks big and displays a number of monuments that will further educate you as to the city's history. If you'd prefer to head outdoors, the Parque Bolivar is a wonderful botanical garden where you will find turtles and iguanas that have made their homes here.
Guayaquil hotels are usually quite clean and neat and are generally within easy reach of the airport. October is the city's fiesta period and, if you are here during this time, you will likely enjoy taking part in the festivities. There is a lot more to Guayaquil that you will only discover if you take the time to explore the city for yourself.