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Why You Should Explore Guayaquil on Your Next Trip to the Galapagos

Why You Should Explore Guayaquil on Your Next Trip to the Galapagos

Since the day I took the desk of the Ecuador & Galapagos Program Director at Wildland Adventures, we have focused our land arrangements in the capitol city of Quito. There’s a lot to be said for this arrangement: Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site for very good reason, and it is the obvious gateway to the world famous market town of Otavalo as well as other charming Andean villages. The only flights to Ecuador’s incredible Amazon basin depart from Quito, and the birding heaven of Mindo-Tandayapa is a convenient 2 hour drive from Quito.

But Quito isn’t the only star in the Ecuadorian firmament. On my recent trip to Ecuador this spring, I spent more time in Guayaquil on the Pacific delta of the Rio Guayas, and came away very impressed with that city’s attractions and advantages:

  • Transfer times between the cities’ airports and main tourist centers are hugely different! Perhaps 10-15 minutes in Guayaquil, compared with 1-2 hours (traffic depending) for Quito
  • The flight times between Guayaquil and Galapagos will be shorter than those from Quito. Almost all flights departing Quito will stopover in Guayaquil anyway, so when you factor in the earlier Quito departure time as well as the layover, you are definitely saving yourselves a bit of sleep when based in Guayaquil
  • The roundtrip flights from Guayaquil to the Galapagos will be slightly less expensive, averaging $485 per person as compared to $535 per person out of Quito
  • For those travelers with altitude sensitivity, Guayaquil is at sea level, eliminating the need for acclimation upon arrival to Quito’s 9350’ elevation
  • Guayaquil opens up new opportunities for exploring the southern regions of Ecuador, such as the Manglares-Churute Ecological reserve, Pacific beaches, and even Cuenca, the sparkling colonial gem of the southern Andes

Here's an example of the Guayaquil arrangements that can be substituted for Quito for any Galapagos adventure


Arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most important port, located on the wide Rio Guayas. Airport reception and transfer to the Hotel Man Ging, a lovely new hotel in the heart of Guayaquil, close to all attractions. Overnight: Hotel Galeria Man Ging


Following breakfast, begin your Ecuador vacation with a tour of Guayaquil, beginning at Parque Seminario, with its lumbering giant land iguanas, before strolling past the neoclassical Town Hall and Moorish Clock Tower, arriving at the vibrant bustle of El Malecon. More formally known as Malecon Simon Bolivar, this is a pleasant 2.5 mile long bustling promenade which passes parks, gardens, playgrounds, a museum, theatre, and grand artworks, all within sight of the wide Rio Guayas, rolling its way to the Pacific. Anchoring the northern end of the malecon is historic Las Penas, a neighborhood of brightly painted homes scattered along cobblestone streets winding their way up the 444 steps of Cerro Santa Ana. Cafes, art galleries and shops are interspersed with the homes, ending at the Fortin del Cerro (Fort of the Hill), whose cannons protected the city from pirates in bygone days. Enjoy the magnificent view before continuing to the city cemetery with its ornate marble tombs and statuary. A visit to Parque Historico combines natural history in the form of a small zoo with natural habitats for birds, reptiles and other native species with a cultural park, emphasizing exhibits of traditional crafts, agriculture and customs. Overnight Hotel Galeria Man Ging 

Hotel Galeria Man Ging

Hotel Galería Man Ging is one of Guayaquil’s newest accommodations, Hotel Man Ging has received high marks for service, comfort, and convenience. Located in the heart of Guayaquil’s tourist district, the 94 spacious rooms feature LCD cable TVs, digital safe, soundproof windows, hairdryers, wi-fi, mini-bar. The hotel is decorated with the works of many of Ecuador’s finest modern artists, a mini-art museum at every turn. The US consulate is directly across the street, and Plaza del Centenario just a few blocks away.

Finally, if you needed more reasons to base yourself in Guayaquil, because of the shorter transfers and the overall lower costs of Guayaquil, you can save on the costs of the land portion of our basic 11-day itinerary. Those are valuable vacation $$$ you can use for more travel!  

Your friendly Galapagos expert,

Sherry Howland

Got questions about Guayaquil or travel to the Galapagos? Ask me

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