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Ecuador I don't have many nice things to say about this city, Guayaquil, Ecuador. It's a dirty, hot, crowded city with great airline deals when compared to Quito (which is beautiful, friendly and just plain nice). This will also give a good starting point for minor culture shock. They do have a nice waterfront area called Malecon 2000 and La Rotonda, (not beach or swimming) with a monument to the person who founded the city and a big park that is nice during the day. It's a bit nerve racking with very mobile little ones, because of the water, but still a nice day trip.

ecuador guayaquil

They also have an old pirate type ship you can visit on the docks. There is a nice section to this city where they have the US standards- McDonalds, KFC, Dunkin Donuts etc. and some local flavor in between, and a policeman on every corner. (Ave Nueve de Octobre) I, being from the US, am not used to seeing security guards and police carrying guns larger than my children but you get comfortable with it after a while knowing that they are there to protect you. Plaza San Francisco is a nice Colonial plaza also but again, watch it at night.

I know there must be more nice places in Guayaquil to visit but I have yet to find them. Guayaquil is a very BIG city and also spreads out for a long distance. With careful planning, your stay here could be fun, depending on what you are looking for. If you will be traveling by rent-a-car out of the city, try to do so in daylight and plan so you will have your entire drive in daylight. The roads are treacherous in some areas and a rent a car is like a neon sign on the dark that says TOURIST-I HAVE MONEY.

You may find yourself in Guayaquil for whatever reason (mine was a flight delay once and a weeks' worth of Embassy visits another). I have stayed in this hotel 2 times over 2 years and found it to be a good standard for this huge city, which has many unsafe areas and grossly overpriced hotels. It is just a little bit pricey by Ecuadorian standards ($61 USD per night for 3 adults 1 child) but it's clean, has A/C, cable tv, is well attended and has a restaurant. The elevator is a nice plus too. It is located close to the airport (but not in it's flight path) and has airport shuttle service that is free, but not offered up unless you ask for it.

Hotel Las Americas- Guayaquil Av Machala No 811 y Av9 de Octubre TelÃÆ'©fono: (593) (4) 2291777, (593) (4) 2944444, (593) (4) 2291842

Seminario Park is located on Avenida 10 de Agosto and Chile. They also called it Parque Bolivar. There is a pond of Tilapias as well as a statue of SimÃÆ'³n Bolivar in the center of the park. That park has friendly ‘wild' iguanas about 4 to 5 feet long that you can see on the ground or in the trees. They are quite friendly and will come within about 5 feet of you and hang around and they will gladly eat if you leave some food and back away. Hint: they like green stuff and bread.

Guayaquil has improved its security over the past few years and has had less crime than in the past but still consider the following: Never walk around with valuables. Try to wear simple clothes and avoid wearing expensive jewelry. (What is a $69 10k gold everyday necklace to you is about a weeks salary to thieves.) Be careful around the bus terminals and bank/ATM entrances. Always try to take taxis at night. If the street around the corner looks dark and suspicious- chances are, it is.