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The city of Guayaquil in Ecuador

The city of Guayaquil

Guayaquil is the largest city and economic center of Ecuador with a land area of 344.5 square kilometers. Guayaquil is also the largest port city. Almost 2.5 million people live here.

Seafood and the music are an absolute must. These two factors give the city a “Caribbean soul”. The climate is humid tropical.

The city has undergone a huge transformation in recent years by the administration (mayor). Now you can find here huge parks and green areas, which are good places of recreation for the inhabitants of the city with all the stress of a big city. Worth mentioning are the Malecón 2000 on the riverbank of the “Rio Guayas” and right next to it the hill “Las Peñas”, on which the city was built.

Guayaquil was founded on July 25, 1538 with the name “Muy Noble” and “Muy Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil” by the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana. However, this place already existed as a small village before.

In 1600 there were already 2000 people living in the town and in 1700 there were over 10,000. In 1687 more than 260 pirates under the command of George d’Hout (English) and Picard and Groniet (French) attacked the town. Of the pirates, 35 were killed and 46 wounded. Of the inhabitants of Guayaquil, 75 were killed and more 10 than wounded. The pirates took the women as concubines. Quito paid for the agreement not to destroy or burn the city.

In 1709, the English captains Etienne Courtney, Woodes Rogers and William Dampier joined them with 110 pirates. However, they then had a problem with a yellow fever epidemic.

On October 9, a group of civilians supported by soldiers from the “Granaderos de Reserva” overwhelmed, mostly without bloodshed, the royal occupiers and arrested the Spanish leaders. Guayaquil thus declared itself liberated from the Spanish conquerors and became a free province of Guayaquil “Provincia Libre de Guayaquil”. To this day, October 9 is a holiday celebrating the liberation of Guayaquil.

The new airport “Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport”, the best airport in South America, is located right next to the International Bus Station. From this airport one flies today to the whole world. However, as everywhere, not all flights are non-stop. For example, I flew once from Hamburg, via Amsterdam to Guayaquil. Cheaper it was then once with a flight from Hamburg to Munich and then Madrid and directly to Guayaquil with “Lan Chile”. The seats were a bit more comfortable (legroom) than the “expensive airlines and the food had “taste”.

If you want to visit the Galapagos Islands, Guayaquil is the cheapest way to get there. If you fly there from Quito, you make a stop in Guayaquil anyway, so you pay more.

I should perhaps add that Guayaquil, like most big cities in the world, is full of drivers who have little regard for pedestrians. The city’s bus system is well developed and very cheap. If you don’t change buses, you only pay 25 cents, no matter where you go. So every time you get on a bus, you put a 25 cent piece to the driver (as appropriately as possible).

A visit to the bus terminal “El Gran terminal Terrestre de Plaza Norte” is always worthwhile. From here, buses also go to other countries. I once paid only $6 for a tour from Guayaquil to Peru (border area). The trip took five and a half hours. At almost every station “flying traders” get on and want to sell you something. Whether it is chocolate or candy or even music CDs. Thus it is never boring during the trip.

If you want to take a cab, you should pay attention to the license plates. Cabs with camera surveillance have continuous orange (slightly yellow) license plates. Personally, I also take the private cabs (not designated as cab), they are usually cheaper after prior price agreement. However, I do not recommend this to tourists. There are also “black sheep” among them, who make phone calls during the ride and then sometimes “ladrones” (robbers) get in at the next stop. But who wants an “adventure”, please….

One more thing about the parks: I live near the park called “Malecón del Salado”. It’s only a 10 minute walk from me. I’m often there when I’m realizing ideas on paper. It is just beautiful there. Right next to it is also the University of Guayaquil and great restaurants.

Not to be missed are the museums: “Museo Municipal”, “Museo Nahim Isaias”, “MAAC” and “Presley Northon”, all located in the city center.

I can also recommend a walk up the hill “Las Peñas”, which is the origin of Guayaquil. Beautiful are the colorful houses, which already attract from a distance. From there you can see the whole city. It is only 440 steps to the top. However, I always take the steeper stairs on the side of the river bank and then light a cigarette at the top, which always upsets the younger ones. They pant and I breathe calmly and then just ask, “What?” with a grin on my face….

Equally top is the park “Parque de las Iguanas”, in the center of the city, where it teems with primeval little lizards (iguanas). Huge shopping malls, such as the “Mercado Artesanal”, are well worth a visit. They do not need to fear a comparison with those of Europe. On the contrary. In my opinion, they are simply more beautifully constructed. Not as commercially cold as most of the ones I know from Germany. Much more colorful and with many exotic plants.

Furthermore, one must visit the “Parque Histórico”. This is one of the highlights if you are in Guayaquil and interested in the fauna and flora, as well as the history. A huge area with all kinds of animals and a variety of plants, half zoo and half history and botany. Not only did I get an absolutely delicious coffee there, but I was also explained how coffee is prepared. Not as a powder, but as an extract (liquid) infused with boiling water.

In the city of Guayaquil, you should also visit once the street “6 de Marzo” in the last two months of the year. Best in company of a confidant, who knows the city. There you will be amazed by the famous works of art of “Años Viejos”, figures made of papier-mâché with all themes from the world.

And of course not to forget and worth a visit is the “Bahía”, a market directly at the “”Malecón 2000”, with countless narrow aisles, where you can buy just everything at low prices. Only who is not careful, has quickly paid too high a price. But that is the case everywhere in the world. There you can buy everything from reading glasses for 2 dollars to music systems and air conditioners. I buy there regularly, However, I also know the prices very well by now.

If you take a rental car, you can also admire the cocoa and banana plantations around Guayaquil.

So, that’s it for now….

If you want to know more about the city and the country, feel free to write to me.

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