Winter at Tantora

Under $100: Guayaquil, Ecuador

by Nicole Quasté

Feb 28, 2018

Guayaquil © Jesse Kraft |

Under $100 / South America

As the largest city in Ecuador, its commercial hub and main port, Guayaquil is a sprawling urban gem comprised of high-rises and charming rural hillsides dotted with colorful villages.

As a large city, prices can rack up if you’re not careful.

For some affordable activities, walk the Malécon 2000, a promenade along the Guayas River, boasting live music, green areas, shops and restaurants; stroll Plaza Lagos; and walk up the Santa Ana and El Carmen hills for views of the city.

You can also get a glimpse of the city’s history and culture at the Museo Antropologico y de Arte Contemporaneo, free to enter. Visit the Parque Historico Guayaquil, a beautiful protected green area surrounded by colorful, historic homes and a small zoo.

Skip the international cuisine in Guayaquil, and stick with local favorites like patacón con queso, a fried, flattened plantain topped with melted cheese; Ecuadorian-style ceviche; encocados, stews made with coconut milk; and empanadas de verde, made by rolling out mashed, green plantains into a pastry shell and filling them with either ground beef or chicken cooked with onion and spices, or with a mild white cheese.

Top places for cheap eats include Restaurant El Jardin, El Sabroson, Dulceria La Palma, Corozo El Verdadero and De Verde, Pinton y Maduro. The city also has a great nightlife scene, and while many clubs and bars charge an entrance fee of around $10, drinks at some spots are as little as $3.

To get around the city, use registered yellow taxis, which have a fixed price of $3–5 from the airport to downtown, and around 50 cents for rides once you’re in the city. The Metrovia is another great option, at only 30 cents a fare.

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