Guayaquil, Ecuador

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Reviewed by Lief Simon

Lief Simon is the managing editor of Global Property Advisor, Simon Letter, and Offshore Living Letter. He has purchased more than 45 properties, investing in 23 different countries around the world.

Guayaquil, Ecuador: Everything You Need To Know

View of the Malecon 2000, Guayaquil, Ecuador

Guayaquil is one of Ecuador’s largest cities, and it’s its main port. It serves as the economic and commercial hub of the country. Agriculture, manufacturing, trade, and services contribute to this city’s economy.

Guayaquil, Ecuador is known for its cultural scene which includes traditional music, dance, and festivals. This is one of the reasons why retirees and other expats find Guayaquil appealing.

Other reasons include a low cost of living compared to other South American countries, its tropical climate, accessible and high-quality health care system, developed infrastructure, and a growing expat community.

Also, Guayaquil has an international airport called José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport where you can find flights directly to and from the United States making this destination super accessible.

Guayaquil is also known for its proximity to biodiverse regions. The flora and fauna are simply gorgeous.

Spend time in nature and take in all the richness Guayaquil’s surroundings have from orchids to parrots to iguanas. And, if you’re a nature lover, this is a great city to live in. It allows you to have all the amenities of a large city while still being close enough to nature.

Expat Community In Guayaquil

Guayaquil’s expat community isn’t as big as Cuenca’s or Quito’s, but it is growing. Expats and retirees are growing more and more interesting in this Ecuadorian city.

The already existing expat community in Guayaquil includes retirees, entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and professionals.

Most importantly, you can get in touch with them via online platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. There should be groups created specifically for expats living in Ecuador, maybe even expats living in Guayaquil.

Getting to know your fellow expats may take some time, but once you’ve gotten to know one or two, you’ll slowly but surely get to know more and more.

Being part of an expat community provides support and opportunities of socializing with like-minded people. Plus, your fellow expats can help you get settled and learn the dos and don’ts of your new home.

They could even help you find a suitable attorney and real estate agent to help you get things sorted.

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Cost Of Living In Guayaquil

The cost of living for Guayaquil is generally considered to be among the lowest in South America, and definitely lower than North America and Europe.

A couple could live comfortably on a budget of about US$1,400 per month. However, your overall cost of living will depend on your choice of lifestyle. If you decide to adopt more of a local diet and lifestyle, you’ll see your budget numbers go down. Decide to live eating the same things you would eat back in the United States, however, and your cost of living will go up.

Here’s a chart to better depict what your cost of living in Guayaquil could be…

Apartment Or House Rental Budget (For A Couple)

Note: Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar.

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$600One-bedroom apartment in the city center.
TransportationUS$22US$1 per one-way bus ticket. US$22 for a monthly pass.
UtilitiesUS$77Electricity, including air conditioning, and water.
Cell PhoneUS$30Depends on the cell phone plan you choose. US$15 for 15GB valid for 30 days per SIM card.
InternetUS$240Eating out twice a week at a local restaurant, US$15. Beers twice a week at a local pub, US$2.72 for 2 beers. Movie theater trip twice a month, US$12 for 2 tickets.
GroceriesUS$400Monthly haul for a couple
TOTALUS$1,409

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Things To Do In Guayaquil, Ecuador

Lighthouse in Guayaquil, Ecuador
AdobeStock/jkraft5

The city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, offers its visitors a blend of cultural, historic, and outdoor experiences. Depending on your preferences, you’ll find something that suits your interests.

Here are the things you should consider doing when in Guayaquil…

1. Malecón 2000

The Malecón 2000 is a great place to visit. It has recreation areas as well as gardens with places to sit, relax, and people watch in the shade.This is a waterfront boulevard that stretches along the Guayas River.

You can have an afternoon or early morning stroll here and take in the city skyline, the river, and the historic Las Peñas neighborhood.

Throughout the Malecón 2000 you’ll also find historic sites and landmarks, museums and cultural centers, shops, boutiques, and restaurants.

2. Visit The Historic Barrio Las Peñas

The Las Peñas neighborhood is one of the oldest in the city. It’s filled with colorful homes, has narrow streets, and a vibrant atmosphere.

The importance of this neighborhood stems in that it’s considered to be the birthplace of Guayaquil. Las Peñas is one of the places Spanish colonizers first settled in the 16th century.

During your visit, you’ll be able to appreciate the original charm and architecture. The houses here have balconies, wooden shutters, and ornate ironwork, and the outsides are usually painted in blue, yellow, pink, or green. You’ll also find art galleries and studios here along with restaurants, cafés, and bars.

3. Parque Histórico Guayaquil

The Parque Histórico Guayaquil offers visitors the experience local history, culture, and nature.The park covers 250 acres of land. It includes historic exhibits, wildlife, traditional architecture, and botanical gardens. Cultural events are also held here on a regular basis. Traditional music, dance, and arts and crafts are showcased here.

4. Craft Market

The Craft Market, locally known as Mercado Artesanal, is a great place to visit if you’re looking for traditional Ecuadorian handcrafts, artwork, and textiles. These make for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Municipal MuseumThe Municipal Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing history, culture, and art.It was established in 1983 and is located in a historic building called Casa de la Aduana. The building itself used to serve as a customs house in the colonial period.

The Museum’s exhibits include pre-Columbian artifacts from various Indigenous cultures, photographs, and historical documents.

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Safety In Guayaquil

Guayaquil has made significant improvement in recent years in terms of safety. However, it’s important to remain vigilant and take all necessary precautions here.

As in any large city, Guayaquil has certain areas you’d best try to avoid. Make sure to know the names of these neighborhoods or areas and have a rough idea of where these are located.

When wandering around the city in general, keep your belongings on you at all times.

Avoid wearing flashy jewels and large bags which may attract unwanted attention to yourself. If you find yourself wandering the streets at night, be aware of your surrounds and attempt to stay on paths with lights and people.

If you use public transportation such as buses, know that they can get crowded, making it very easy for pickpockets. Avoid putting your phone and wallet in your back pocket.

Keep your house and car keys someplace safe where people can’t easily reach. If you carry a backpack or purse with you, keep them on your front rather than your back.

Health Care In Guayaquil, Ecuador

View of Guayaquil, Ecuador
Adobe Stock/jkraft5

Guayaquil, Ecuador has both a public and private health care system. In general, medicine in Ecuador is considered to be high quality at an affordable price. Ecuador’s cities, such as Guayaquil, are home to high-quality hospitals.

Guayaquil’s Ministry of Public Health handles oversees the public health care system. Public health care facilities offer a range of medical services including primary care, specialized care, and emergencies.

Doctors and staff are well-trained. However, public health care systems almost always guarantee a long line of patients and limited resources.

This city’s private sector is normally the preferred choice for expats and retirees. You’ll find private hospitals and clinics offering higher level services at modern facilities with advanced medical technology and English-speaking staff.

We recommend you look into purchasing private health care insurance. This’ll insure you’ll be able to get the highest quality health care Ecuador has to offer.

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Moving To Guayaquil, Ecuador

Before deciding to move, spend time in Guayaquil and get a better feel of what life here could be like.

Book a trip to Guayaquil, Ecuador, when it’s high season for tourists as well when it’s low season. This’ll help you decide if you’d like to live here full-time or part-time. If part-time suits you best, spending time here during both seasons will help you decide which season you enjoy most.

And, if after living in Guayaquil you suddenly decide it no longer lives up to your standards, you can always pack up and move back home or try someplace new.

Visa And Residency Information For Guayaquil

An Ecuador visa will be issued on arrival for citizens of the United States, Canada, and much of Europe. This tourist visa is typically valid for 90 days. Check the stamp to make sure you know how many days they gave you.

You can extend your 90-day stay one time, for an added 90 days. But, if you want to stay longer than 180 days as a tourist, you need to get a special tourist visa at the consulate. Get this in advance of your trip, it’s valid for up to one year. You can apply for this type of visa once every five years.

Now, if you’re interested in retiring in Ecuador, you’ll need to get a residency visa.

The Ecuadorian residency process follows two steps. Firstly, you need to hold a temporary resident visa. Once you have this you can apply for a permanent residency visa.

You need to apply for the residency visa in Ecuador, not in your home country. Head over to your local immigration office, and make sure you bring someone who is fluent in Spanish along with you if you’re not fluent yourself.

Documents such as police check certificates need to be authenticated. Depending on the country of origin, you’ll use either the apostille process or consular legalization.

Any document that is not in Spanish must be translated into Spanish. The translator must certify the translation as correct, and their signature must be verified by a notary.

For more information on visas and residency options for Guayaquil, Ecuador, contact an immigration attorney who speaks both English and Spanish fluently to help you out.

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Weather In Guayaquil, Ecuador

Weather-and-climate.com

The climate in Ecuador varies by region, mostly due to changes in elevation. When living in Ecuador, there is a varied topography, the country’s climate changes quite a bit according to altitude.

Guayaquil’s weather is that of a tropical savannah. This city experiences warm to hot weather throughout the year.

Average annual temperatures range from 25°C (about 77°F) and 32°C (about 90°F). The warmest months here run from December to April.

The rainy season in Guayaquil, Ecuador runs from January to April, and heavy rains accompanied by thunderstorms are common.

The dry season runs from May to December.

Guayaquil, Ecuador, FAQs

What Is Guayaquil, Ecuador, Known For?

Guayaquil, Ecuador, is known for its beauty and culture. It’s earned its name of “the pearl of the Pacific.” This city is also known for being Ecuador’s main port.

Do They Speak English In Guayaquil, Ecuador?

Ecuador’s official language is Spanish. However, English is spoken in major visitor centers.

In short, you will likely be able to get by with little Spanish in Guayaquil. We always recommend you learn enough of the local language if you’re planning on living here. This’ll make for better communication with locals, your house maid, store workers, and more.

Can I Drink The Tap Water In Guayaquil?

Tap water is not safe to drink in Ecuador in general. We recommend you either buy large water jugs for your home or boil water.

What Areas Should Be Avoided In Guayaquil, Ecuador?

Areas such as Carchi, Sucumbíos, the northern part of Esmeraldas provinces, and the south of Portete de Tarquí Avenue.

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