Is Guayaquil safe for new travelers to Ecuador?
Guayaquil is one of the biggest arrival points for those traveling to Ecuador, home to one of the largest international airports (along with Quito).
As well as being the gateway to the Galápagos Islands, Guayaquil has its own particular charm. This includes many architectural delights located throughout its center, as well as colorful barrios located in the nearby hills.
Guayaquil has a less-than-stellar reputation for crime, and as a result many travelers avoid it. However, is Guayaquil as dangerous as everyone says?
Is Guayaquil safe?
This guide explores the current safety situation in Guayaquil, including what it’s like during the day and night as well as tips for staying safe.
Then, after reading this, you should feel more confident traveling here and in turn know how to move when it comes to staying safe in Ecuador.
For example, the first and most important tip I have is for when arriving at the airport or bus station in the north. I suggest taking a taxi right away to the center (around the Malecón 2000, which is a lot safer overall).
Is Guayaquil safe right now?
To be honest, Guayaquil is not the safest city to visit in Ecuador. The edges are very rough and should be avoided whenever possible.
Guayaquil currently has the Level 4 Status of “Do Not Travel”, given its recent increase in crime. I suggest you have a valid reason for being here.
Whilst the center (around Malecón 2000) is okay to stay in, the rest of the city has high levels of violence and should be avoided by most travelers.
Levels of assault and homicide are some of the highest in the country here, however again, they are mostly occurring in the suburbs (which are far from the touristic highlights). But some of the worse barrios here are not difficult to get entwined with, especially when openly exploring.
If you do decide to travel to Guayaquil, then be sure to follow some the travel tips outlined in this guide to keep yourself safe while here.
💡Smart Travel Tip
I have found that knowing some basic Spanish and learning from a book like this one (before arriving) helps a lot when traveling in South America.
Crime Rate in Guayaquil
Using tangible data collected from Numbeo to explore the safety situation in Guayaquil, let’s look at specific indicators and what to watch out for.
Is Guayaquil safe to travel alone?
If you are a solo traveler, then I recommend already having some experience before heading to Guayaquil alone.
This is because it’s not the safest city around, and it may potentially be too much of a shock to newer travelers who aren’t used to the hustle and bustle and less safe streets that you can encounter in just a heartbeat.
If you do have experience, then you can stay in the historic center, which is close to the popular walkway of Malecón 2000. I recommend that you take a look at this fascinating city tour for a way to get aquatinted with the city.
You can also take a trip out to see Dolphins in the mangroves too, which is best with this day tour that picks you up from your hotel in Guayaquil.
Is Guayaquil safe for solo female travelers?
As mentioned throughout this article, Guayaquil definitely has issues going on and is better for the more experienced travelers.
It’s no different for female travelers, if arriving solo, you’ll want to have some experience traveling around Ecuador or other South American cities.
I recommend that you take a closer look at my solo travel tips for South America to make sure you’ve got the basics down before arriving here.
During the day it’s best to stick to the historic center, and also use group tours to explore further and beyond. Also, try to avoid going out and exploring at night, since it’s quite a seedy and dangerous city.
The best accommodation option for solo female travelers has to be Hotel Rizzo. Here you’ll be staying in a private room right next to the Parque Seminario, which is just a couple of blocks from the Malecón 2000.
Is Guayaquil safe at night?
Those who like venturing out at night will need to plan in advance when in Guayaquil. In other words, know where you’re going and why.
Crime is high and still on the rise, so it’s strongly advised to take a taxi directly from your accommodation to your destination.
Avoid walking on the streets, since aggravated robbery is a common occurrence (if it happens to you don’t fight back or try to run, just give over whatever they demand). Aim to keep your phone in your pocket.
One area to avoid in particular is anything north of Portete de Tarquí Avenue, and in general it’s best to head out in groups rather than alone.
Guayaquil travel safety tips
⤵️ Below are some useful tips to help you on your journey:
How to get to Guayaquil from Quito by bus?
The two major cities in Ecuador, many travelers tend to head directly between them given they serve as perfect gateways to other destinations (such as Otavalo, Cuenca, Montañita etc).
The overall distance is 420 km, meaning that you can easily take a direct bus between the two. Buses in Ecuador are quite straight forward.
In Quito you’ll want to head to the Terminal Quitumbe, where there are plenty of bus companies providing the leg. The route takes between 5-6 hours, so it’s best to leave in the early morning to stay safe.
It costs between $10-15. They do also have public buses, however these can take upwards of 9-10 hours which isn’t ideal given they make multiple stops along the way.
The other option is to fly directly from Quito to Guayaquil. LATAM has several flights leaving daily, which cuts travel time to just an hour.
A one-way also only costs $40, so it’s actually quite a good option for those short on time or who despise longer bus rides.
If you’ll be traveling to Guayaquil from Cuenca be sure to check out this private transfer that will get you there in stress free.
Got Travel Insurance for Guayaquil?
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Is Guayaquil safe?
Thanks for reading this guide on travel safety in Guayaquil.
Although Guayaquil is definitely not the safest city to travel to while in Ecuador, it’s reputation is definitely made out to look worse than it is.
And if you stay close to the Historic Centre and the Malecón 2000, then you can easily have a safe and enjoyable time here. Travelers can also enjoy sites like Las Peñas, as well as take a river cruise along Las Guayas.
If you’ll looking to explore new cities in South America, book your own trip to Guayaquil soon to enjoy everything that this Ecuadorian city has to offer.
While you’re here, see this guide to some of the safest cities in South America to learn about other places to visit while on this continent.
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