Guayaquil vs Quito: Why You Should Visit Guayaquil Instead of Quito

Guayaquil, Ecuador | © Jess Kraft/Shutterstock
Guayaquil, Ecuador | © Jess Kraft/Shutterstock
Photo of Angela Drake
Founder, Not Your Average American13 July 2017

There are lots of reasons to visit Guayaquil instead of Quito, especially when you consider that this largest city in Ecuador has an international airport with direct flights to the Galapagos Islands. When compared side-by-side, several factors might sway you towards this port city full of its own unique culture, history and architecture.

The heat

If you love summer and thrive in subtropical temperatures, then you will love Guayaquil. The average high hovers between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit year round. Humidity is worse January through May, but is rarely unbearable.

Iguana Park, Guayaquil | © Dan / Flickr

The altitude

While the altitude in Quito is a grand 2850 meters (9,350 feet), Guayaquil lies close to sea level. No need to worry about altitude-related health problems or your ability to hike, bike, or even walk around the city.

The lifestyle

Living in a port city requires a different approach to life than living in the high mountain capital city of Quito. Guayaquil comes to life in the cooler evenings when locals flock to outdoor plazas and the breezy Malecon 2000. School vacations are scheduled to escape the most extreme heat of summer – January through March – and Guayaquileños hit the beaches in droves.

Malecon 2000, Guayaquil | © Dan/Flickr

The nightlife

Like many coastal cities with hot and humid days, Guayaquil comes to life at night. There are several neighborhoods where the nightlife is the main attraction with plenty of trendy bars, great restaurants, modern music and colorful people to keep it all exciting.

The food

Ecuadorians flock to the coast to eat the delicious traditional foods found all along the famous Ruta del Sol. In Guayaquil, the specialty is crab and restaurants are full to the brim on Thursday and Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, as Guayaquileños gather with mallets in hand.

Ceviche de Camarón | ©Rinaldo Wurglitsch | Wikipedia

The coast

If you plan on visiting any beaches while in Ecuador, Guayaquil makes an excellent starting point. It lies just south of some of the most beautiful beaches on mainland Ecuador.

Parque Nacional Machalilla | ©Ecuador Planeta Magico | Wikicommons

The Galapagos Islands

In order to visit the Galapagos Islands, you pretty much have to fly through Ecuador. With many direct flights from the United States, your route to the archipelago could be more direct through Guayaquil.

Galapagos Islands | © pen_ash/Pixabay