Guayaquil is a relatively undiscovered city when it comes to world travelers, but it has so much to offer those looking for adventure. Whether you like to delve into food culture, wild places, or big city living, there is a unique experience waiting for you in this underrated Ecuadorian city.
Try black ceviche
Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are some Ecuadorians who swear that ceviche de concha is the best ceviche they have ever eaten. This coastal specialty is made from the flesh of raw, black clams. The clam juice is reminiscent of squid ink, and any ceviche including black clams will be served in a glossy black sauce. Be warned: not everyone handles this ceviche well and stomach problems are common among international visitors who try this delicacy.
Tour the Río Guayas by pirate ship
Set sail from the Malecon 2000 in the Henry Morgan Sailing Ship and experience the river of old. You’ll learn about the history of smuggling along the coast of Ecuador. Sunset cruises provide the best photos of this wide river.
Barco Pirata Henry Morgan, Malecon 2000, Guayaquil, Ecuador, +593 4 251 7228
Visit howler monkeys
Just off the highway that runs from Guayaquil towards the beaches at the end of the peninsula, there is a protected tropical dry forest that is home to a community of howler monkeys. Hearing these animals in the wild is an experience not to be missed. Seeing them is even better.
Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco, Guayaquil – Salinas Km 16, Guayaquil, Ecuador, +593 98 622 5077
Buy a surfboard designed for you
Surfing is popular in Playas, a small, coastal town a short distance outside of Guayaquil. Locals Jimmy and Milton Zhañay have long shaped their own surfboards from eco-friendly balsa wood and decorated them with wood burned designs. Today, they take special orders and will help choose the right size, shape, and design, and then handcraft that board especially for you.
Zhañay Surfboards, Guayaquil, Ecuador, +593 98 028 7746
Eat with your fingers
While this may not sound so unique to Americans, the concept of eating with your fingers is strange to many Ecuadorians. In fact, chicken wings are often served with little plastic gloves. But in Guayaquil, everyone eats crabs with their fingers, no gloves allowed. For a true Guayaquil experience, head to La Pata Gorda and order the crabs Criollo-style.
La Pata Gorda, Sambordón, Guayaquil, Ecuador, +593 4 283 8359
Visit a cemetery
The municipal cemetery may not immediately come to mind as a place to visit in Guayaquil. This cemetery is the resting place of 18 Ecuadorian presidents, as well as many other political figures important to the Revolution, the founding of the Republic, and beyond. It has a beautifully-designed and well-maintained entrance, while in further corners there are photographic graves of everyday people. A local organization offers tours that focus on the more famous graves.
Cementerio Patrimonial, José Mascote, Pedro José Menéndez Gilbert 101, Guayaquil, Ecuador, +593 4 229 3849
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