Posted in South America on January 9, 2014
I visited the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador (around 3 weeks ago now) before my venture into the Amazon Jungle and up into Colombia (where I am now.) As with all of these first impression-style posts it’s impossible to really get an in-depth view of a city in just 3 days, but what you can do is get a good first impression to see whether or not it is somewhere you would like to go back to. Hopefully it will also give you an idea as to whether you want to visit the city too. With that in mind these were my first impressions of Guayaquil;
Super Hot Temperatures
Naturally in a country named after the Equator you would expect most places here to be hot. Being situated at a much lower altitude than many of its neighbouring cities in the Andes (to the East), Guayaquil can be stifling at times. In fact, unless you have A/C in your room night time temperatures can feel unbearable at times. I recall having one particularly amusing conversation with a taxi driver in Guayaquil who (with a straight face) seriously complained that he had to wear a thicker polo shirt at night because it was ‘so cold’ in Guayaquil right now. I didn’t mention that in colder countries there are people who need to wear long sleeved garments because the weather is actually cold. I imagine a winter jacket and gloves might blow this guy’s mind!
– Average temperatures in Guayaquil during the day when I was there were around 33°C. At night it was approximately 25°C but often felt quite humid.
The highlight of any visit to Guayaquil has got to be a visit to the neighbourhood of Las Peñas. These bright little houses perched upon the hill overlooking the riverside were stunning. Yes the area is touristy but it is undeniably full of character. The local people who lived here were also extremely friendly. It’s definitely the place to bring your camera for both pretty pictures of the area and aerial shots of the river front and city once you ascend the hill.
El Mirador – River Front Beauty
If you’ve been in inland cities for a while a stroll down the Mirador riverfront walkway in Guayaquil is something you’ll certainly enjoy. The chain food stores you’ll pass on the way probably not so much, but the waterside views coupled with the weather are something nice to do here most days of the year.
Crazy people at Mercado Artesanal
If you want to meet the locals in Guayaquil head here. The actual goods for sale here were in my personal opinion a bit tacky but the atmosphere at Mercado Artesanal was so vibrant and eclectic that it was certainly worth the visit regardless. Of course, as with any big and busy market like this it’s best to keep an eye on your belongings as you pass through. This place is like a pick-pocket’s paradise, but it’s certainly worth getting lost in here for half an hour or so just for the ‘experience’.
In all honesty the main reason why anyone comes to Guayaquil is to get a bus to somewhere else. I booked 3 nights here thinking there would be more to do but probably could have done everything of real note in just 1 day. That said, the bus station is really modern, has free wifi throughout, and the city in general is a nice place to stop for a night if you’re making your way to/from Peru to break up the journey. It’s just not somewhere I would advise booking too many nights in prior to your arrival. It’s a city best experienced in 1 day and as a launch pad to some of Ecuador’s incredible natural landscapes.