The Coast and Guayaquil
Why visit the Coast?
The bustling port city of Guayaquil is an ideal stopover en route to or from the Galapagos. There are some lovely colonial buildings amongst the skyscrapers, and new cafes, restaurants and shops are springing up all the time; it’s a great place for people watching. In contrast, the small Isla de la Plata is famous for its marine birdlife, and also attracts dolphins and humpback whales.
Reasons to visit the Coast include:
- Seek out the grand colonial churches amongst the malls and shopping streets of downtown Guayaquil, including La Merced and the cathedral.
- Head for the waterfront - the Malecón 2000 is a great place to relax and enjoy shopping or a meal.
- Take a walk in Parque Bolivar, home to a colony of tame land Iguanas.
- Explore Las Penas, the oldest part of Guayaquil, and take the steep walk up to the lighthouse for panoramic views of the city.
- Soak up pre-Colombian culture or contemporary artworks at the Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporáneo.
- Shop until late in the avenue Octobre 9th, or enjoy everything from traditional Ecuadorian meals to excellent sushi in the Urdessa suburb.
- Take the 90-minute voyage to Isla de la Plata, and watch out for manta rays, pods of dolphins and, from June to September, the humpback whales that come here to mate.
- Snorkel off the island, amongst the brilliantly-coloured fish or birdwatch - look for pairs of waved albatrosses, as well as frigatebirds, blue-footed, red-footed and masked boobies.
When to go to the Coast
The rainy season is December to April, with this area being fairly dry throughout the rest of the year. However, the rainy season can also see some very sunny days, whereas the dry season tends to be a little grey.
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facts and information
Time: GMT -5 hours
Flight time: There is an international airport at Quito and at Guayaquil. KLM and Iberia have routes via Europe to both cities. The flying time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly via America.
Language: Spanish is Ecuador's official language.
Visas: Not required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.