The majesty of the biggest city in Ecuador

Guayaquil tour mainland

The majesty of the biggest city in Ecuador

Ecuador largest city is a Guayaquil city, which is the most populous one in Ecuador. The official language here is Spanish. It is a famous point of interest, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. Despite the fact that it does not hold the crown of the capital of Ecuador, it is the most economically important city. Because of that (and many other factors), their rivalry for supremacy vs Quito persists for years. But why it started, and what makes a Guayaquil city so different from its capital neighbor?

The foundation of Guayaquil city

The settlement, which is known as Guayaquil city nowadays, starts its history in 1530. There is no direct agreement on who actually founded Guayaquil city. The two pretenders are the Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar or the Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana.

Sebastián de Belalcázar was one of the Spanish conquistadors. He managed to colonize the northwestern cities of South America with great success. Even though, the Ecuador largest city was destroyed twice by the local Indians. The city itself was an important trade point between the Andes and Mesoamerica tribes. They opposed the Inca expansion before the Spanish colonizers came to their land.

old guayaquil

However, 7 years later, Francisco de Orellana renamed the Guayaquil city into Santiago de Guayaquil. It happened after establishing the city in its current location. The roots of this history are referred to as religious motives. Francisco named the city in the honor of Saint James the Great, one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ. As for the “Guayaquil” reference – some say that it was an honoring mention of a local Indian chief and his wife’s combined names.

Much later, in 1822 the biggest city in Ecuador became famous for its Guayaquil Conference. The leaders of the Independence movement (Simón de Bolívar and José de San Martín) have gathered there to discuss the future of Gran Colombia countries. Peru was one of the main topics of this discussion. Both had different opinions, but eventually, the Bolívar vision of the future became true. The numerous republics for the independent nations have received a favor instead of the European type of monarchy.

The city suffered from earthquakes numerous times and still, it was rebuilt into a magnificent and remarkable place.

Guayaquil climate and nature

The biggest city in Ecuador is located in the marvelous harbor on the west coast of the South Pacific region, near the equator. The Guayaquil elevation is only 13.2 ft above sea level, making it an ideal place for tourists with altitude health issues.

The climate here is tropical. There are two main seasons in Guayaquil city: dry and humid. The dry season lasts from June till September, and the humid season lasts from October till May.

The temperature during the dry season is quite hot (around 29 °C), which is great for resting on beaches and having sunbathing. We’ll talk more about that later.

The dry season is probably the best time to visit and explore Ecuador largest city. You won’t be worrying about the rain season spoiling your expectations.

guayaquil river

Still, if you’ve visited Guayaquil city during the humid season, you can still enjoy a day-to-day refreshing breeze. Also, you may walk nearly everywhere, thanks to the low Guayaquil elevation, and still keep a good pace.

The Guayaquil city is located nearby the Galápagos Islands. If you’ve ever wanted to see these exotic Godzilla-like serpents in their natural habitat – that is your best chance. The archipelago is one of the most amazing places in the world, so it’s definitely worth visiting it at least once. Keep in mind that the Galápagos Islands are quite isolated territory. To preserve the unique ecosystem, a few tourists are allowed to visit the archipelago.

Oh, by the way – you won’t get there without visiting a well-known Guayaquil airport, so let’s go straight to the point.

Guayaquil airport

The official title of the Guayaquil airport is Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín de Olmedo. Initially, it was titled Simón Bolívar International Airport, however, this title became too common in other countries, like Colombia, Venezuela, etc. It was named after the famous poet, mayor, and former president of Ecuador.

guayaquil airport

It can handle more than 7 million passengers per year, making it a tremendously popular route in Ecuador.

The Guayaquil airport has its own official network of taxi drivers, available 24/7. Their title is Cooperativa de Transportes Aeropuerto Guayaquil. The Guayaquil airport is located around 5 kilometers from Guayaquil city. Usually, the ride to the city will take around 20 minutes and cost around $5.

Guayaquil port

The Guayaquil city won’t be that famous without being the port capital of Ecuador. The Guayas River is the historical part of the city. It formed its strong economical influence during both the colonial and republic periods. That’s why the Guayaquil city is often called “the city of the large river”.

Guayaquil port

The import and export routes pass through the Gulf of Guayaquil, which is the main reason why the Guayaquil port exists. It’s a successful urban area (2.5 kilometers), where are located attractions and other public areas. The biggest city in Ecuador exports cacao, coffee, bananas, and Amazonian oil as its main products.

More than one hundred years ago, the port was infamously known as a “plague port”. Various types of afflictions were common there: cholera, bubonic plague, typhoid, etc. plagued the city until 1920. A government invented the hygienic projects, which reduced the level of lethality. Eventually, these actions stopped the spread of diseases. Today, the government invests a lot into its infrastructure to make the biggest city in Ecuador worth visiting.

Guayaquil beaches

Ecuador largest city does not have its own Guayaquil beaches, being a coastal type of city. Nevertheless, it will take you only a couple of hours to reach the tropical, sea paradise and enjoy it to the fullest.

Guayaquil beaches

Among the most popular Guayaquil beaches, you can find such popular destinations, as:

  • Punta Carnero (a popular Guayaquil beach for surfing);
  • Puerto López (a place where you can participate in whale watching);
  • Salinas (a party-oriented place, where you can enjoy parades, fests, and loud music);
  • Playa de Chipipe (a place where the President of Ecuador spends their vacation);
  • Las Playas (another great Guayaquil beach to relax or surf);
  • Montañita (amazing place for experienced surfers);
  • Engabao (mostly for fishing and surfing activities);
  • Mar Bravo (this Guayaquil beach with large waves is a welcome place for experienced surfers);
  • Villamil  Playas (a convenient beach with a shopping center nearby).

As you can see, there are a lot of Guayaquil beaches, which may please even the most demanding tourists. You will most certainly enjoy the benefits of an exotic vacation in any of these places.

Rivalry with Quito

One of the most popular topics – which town is better to visit first: Guayaquil city or Quito city? There is no direct or obvious answer to this, however, their rivalry is real and there are reasons for it.

guayaquil vs quito

Both Guayaquil city and Quito city are regional power bases, with strong economies. However, the taxes and funds are controlled in Quito (the capital of Ecuador). In addition, the government lays were usually shared mostly with Quito. And it feels like pouring fuel on a fire of already complicated relations between both cities.

Their rivalry already lasts for generations and there is no particular end on the horizon. Even politically, they were different. Quito city is more conservative, while Guayaquil city is liberal.

A certain level of racism and stereotypes is also available here. The citizens of Quito city may think that they are more “cultural” or “civilized” and their neighbors from Guayaquil city are more “blunt”. There is a special way to differentiate these people. The citizens of Guayaquil city are called “costeños” and the citizens of Quito are “serranos”. Serranos are known for their “elitism”, while costeños are indicated as “lazy, unclean” people or even as “monos” (monkeys). There is no objective reason for that, and still, a mindset of local people was formed under these pressing factors.

Eventually, people of both cities should understand that they depend on each other. Quito city provides the required funds to improve the urbanistic part of Guayaquil city. In return, the economic benefits of the Guayaquil port can’t be underestimated for Quito’s wealth. If this cultural rivalry will ever end – it would be a benefit for both sides.

Is it safe to visit Guayaquil?

In terms of geography, there are no active volcanoes nearby (as opposed to the Quito city), so it’s definitely a “safer” place. Even though, the level of poverty in Guayaquil city is even higher than in Quito city. It makes it an uncomfortable place for careless tourists, where pickpockets are a regular thing.

Use common sense – never walk alone at night. Taking a taxi is always a wise decision to avoid trouble. Also, it’s not recommended taking anything precious with you (credit cards, etc.) or leave it in a private room. Take only the required amount of cash and lock everything else in the safe of your hotel. If you’ve decided to take a bus – pay attention to your precious things and always leave them before you.

Should you visit Guayaquil city?


It is clear that the biggest city in Ecuador is an amazing place to visit, despite its cultural rivalry and social issues. The geographic conditions make it a universal choice for people of all ages. You can visit the sunny beaches for sunbathing or surfing. Swim with iguanas on the nearby Galápagos Islands archipelago. Or simply enjoy the old and modern architecture of the port capital of Ecuador during any season. We definitely encourage you to visit the famous Guayaquil city – a place you will never forget.


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