Guayaquil is a river city. It is located at the juncture of the Daule and Babahoyo Rivers and the Guayas River forms its eastern border. The two square kilometers west of the Guayas encompass the main tourist attractions. Within this section of town you will find numerous good restaurants, hotels, museums, parks, and all essential services, such as banks and pharmacies. Malecón Avenue, the site of the Malecón 2000 project, parallels the Guayas and is a good place to start your tour of the city. The street numbering system in Guayaquil’s downtown is straightforward and is easily navigable walking or on public transportation. When traveling north or south of the city’s center take note of your surroundings, as streets are not as well marked. Also, be very cautious outside of the center, delinquency tends to be higher in these areas and travelers are often targeted.
Buses are Guayaquil’s most efficient and economical form of transportation. Dozens of bus routes run from the city’s center to its outskirts but no buses actually run within the center – walking or taxis are your only options. When in doubt, head to Malecón Avenue because the majority of the buses pass along Malecón during their route. In the evening, you are advised to carry limited luggage because petty theft is common.
Ask locals for the going rate and negotiate fares before entering taxis. Taxistas have been hurt by Ecuador’s economic crisis as much as everyone else and will occasionally overcharge tourists. Don´t be afraid to get out of the car, there are plenty more taxis waiting to give you a ride.
Photo by Ted Karsch.
Simón Bolívar International Airport, located 5km north of the city, offers international flights throughout South America, Europe, and the United States. TAME also provides national flights to Cuenca, Loja, Machala, Quito, and the Galapagos Islands.
The city’s main bus station, called Jaime Roldos Aquilera Terminal Terrestre, is located two kilometers north of the city center, just beyond the airport. The Station offers an abundance of ticket counters and bus companies. Fixed prices allow you to choose whatever bus company or travel times are most convenient.
The Railway Station is located in Durán, a suburb of Guayaquil on the east bank of the Guayas. Trains descend to Durán from the highland transportation hub of Riobamba. The route, known as “The Devil’s Nose”, is a breathtaking, and sometimes heart-stopping, descent along steep Andean mountainsides. You may take a bus, taxi, or ferry to get from Durán to anywhere else after disembarking (please refer to our trains page and transportation section for more details). The station is two blocks from the ferry landing.