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Planning your Galapagos tour from Guayaquil

If the Galapagos Islands are your destination, then you must first pass through either Quito or Guayaquil on Ecuador’s mainland. It’s always a good idea to arrive a day or two before your flight to Galapagos just to be safe, so take that time to explore mainland Ecuador before your Galapagos adventure. Colonial Quito is full of excellent destinations to experience, and Guayaquil has plenty to offer travelers as well.

Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport

Guayaquil’s Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport and Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport are the only airports with flights to the Galapagos Islands.

Attractions and things to do in Guayaquil

Malecon 2000

Overlooking the Rio Guayas, this well-landscaped 1.5 mile boardwalk makes for a great day downtown. A modern shopping mall, a pirate ship, river cruises, an Imax theater and a ferris wheel are all conveniently located in the city’s most popular weekend destination. There are also periodic tower overlooks, a history museum, and a number of mini-rides and playgrounds for kids. Dining options include several seafood restaurants, a food court, coffee shops, vending machines, and ice cream vendors. There are even seasonal exhibitions, like Santa’s Village, animatronic dinosaurs, a fairytale journey, and others, which is fun for people of all ages.

Las Peñas

At the end of the boardwalk, if you’re up for a challenge, is the colonial neighborhood of Las Peñas. Over 400 steps wind past artisan shops, bars and karaoke clubs, and restaurants, to the top, where there is a 360-degree view of the entire city and a small chapel. If your legs aren’t too tired, there’s even a lighthouse here that offers the best view of Guayaquil.

La Zona Rosa

This street just a few blocks from Las Peñas is a buzzing strip of bars and clubs which comes to life at night.

The Cathedral of Guayaquil

The giant church is the center of the archdiocese of Guayaquil. Around the walls of the building are beautiful Stations of the Cross that lead up to the magnificent altar; beneath the altar is a crypt, where some of the most important religious figures in Ecuador have been interned.

Iguana Park

Right outside the Cathedral is a small park with hundreds of iguanas that live here. If you bring bread or bananas, you will be their new best friend; just make sure they don’t mistake your hand for lunch. In the corner of