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
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.
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.