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Guayaquil Taxis – Safety and Rates

Posted in: Living in Ecuador

So, if you’re going to be concerned about taking a taxi anywhere in Ecuador, be concerned about Guayaquil. Everywhere else is generally safe – just be sure to get in a properly registered taxi. But in Guayaquil, you’ll need a little more caution.

Safety Concerns in Guayaquil Cabs

There are some safety concerns. First of all: don’t hail a cab on the street. Of course, if you know the taxi companies, if you’re Ecuadorian or if you don’t look rich – this may not apply. But if you are reading my blog, then these probably don’t apply to you. If you are a foreigner (who is assumed to be rich) then you might be a target. The simple way to avoid problems is to always call a radio taxi.

Now, we’ve hired cabs simply by hailing them and haven’t had any trouble, but “officially” it isn’t recommended.

The US Consulate in Ecuador recommends:

The American Consulate General in Guayaquil and the U.S. Government assume no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms listed herein. The names listed are arranged alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance.
Guayaquil

  • FastLine: (04) 282-3333
  • Solservice: (04)287-1195 / (04)287-2837
  • Wayose: (04) 212-0234 / (04)212-2569

Is this a real threat? Notice what the US Department of State has to say about it:

Due to the seriousness of the taxi situation in Guayaquil, all personnel working for the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Ecuador have been prohibited from riding in taxis hailed off the street in Guayaquil, even yellow taxis. In addition to yellow taxis, local buses, and other forms of public transportation are also expressly off-limits to U.S. diplomatic personnel in Guayaquil. As an alternative, employees have been told to use their personal vehicles or to call one of the vetted taxi services listed on the U.S. Consulate General’s website.

It is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks associated with using taxis in Guayaquil, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if one becomes a victim of crime. U.S. citizens are urged not to hail taxis on the street, and to exercise caution when selecting a taxi in all areas of Guayaquil, regardless of location and/or time of day. We strongly encourage U.S. citizens in the Guayaquil area to use only vetted, radio-dispatched taxis, such as those listed on the U.S. Consulate General’s website.

So, while there is a threat, using the above radio taxi companies should virtually eliminate the risk. And as for the rest of the country, there is nothing to worry about – at least no more than you would worry in any other city/country of the world. While vacationing on the coast, (just over an hour from Guayaquil) we regularly took cabs in Salinas. The friends we met there said the problem is localized just to the city of Guayaquil.

Taxi Rates in Guayaquil

Day Rate:

  • Starting fee: $0.35
  • Kilometer: $0.25
  • Minimum fee: $1.00
  • Minute of waiting: $0.06

Night Rate:

  • Starting fee: $0.40
  • Kilometer: $0.30
  • Minimum fee: $1.10
  • Minute of waiting: $0.06

Seniors and disabled: 50% Discount

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is editor of GringosAbroad - one of the largest English language sites about Ecuador. Work with GringosAbroad. He is a travel blogger, photographer and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands).

18 comments… add one
  • Ruth Feb 24, 2015, 12:18 am

    I am visiting Gyuaquil. The hotel I’m staying in is sending a taxi to pick me up at the airport when my flight arrives ( they have no shuttle) does this seem light to you.

    • Jakob Feb 24, 2015, 7:17 pm

      If it is a taxi they are sending it does not seem right. Pretty much the only way of knowing you are getting out of the airport in safe transportation is to take one of the registered airport taxis inside the premises. First of all, why send a taxi if there are plenty available inside and second only airport registered taxis may pick up passengers on airport premises anyway. I would thank them and take a taxi inside the airport with the address in hand. They might be sending a random guy in a private vehicle who would park at the airport and wait for you which would feel very informal to you.

  • Yvonne Haley May 25, 2012, 10:14 am

    hello,
    I visited my ecuatorian friends in Guayaquil last december, north of the city.
    We waited for a certain bus 10 minutes, a hot day, so they flaged down a driver on the main highway into town, he wasnt a taxi, as we were 3 , it was safe and half the price of a taxi. The car was clean and driver ok.
    It seems to be quite common for ecuatorians to flag down a potencial ” taxi” on a busy highway into the city, as there are many cars going into town. Only recomended if you are with Ecuatorians though. I felt quite safe.

    • Jakob May 25, 2012, 8:30 pm

      Yes, this is a way of life here. There are formal and informal means of transportation. Many people “work” their cars to earn a few extra bucks. There are informal vans operating between the coast and Guayaquil that complement bus transit such as the one that Liberpesa offers with coastal towns and cost slightly more than a bus, but less than a taxi since they pick up several people along the way. I find they are a life saver on certain stretches of the “Via a la Costa” where many bus companies (Liberpesa, Villamil) don’t stop anymore to pick you up.

  • Paul Casavant Apr 2, 2012, 1:44 pm

    I was in Guayaquil last July, 2011. We exited the airport to go to our hotel and grabbed the first cab in the cab lane. We noticed two men on a motor cycle behind us, then next to us at a stop light. They seemed to disappear. We drove up the hotel, all glass front, and as we were exiting the cab I had my head split open…by the butt of a large hand gun, the gun was then thrusted into my throat and I then realized it was a robbery. The other guy was robbing my partner. They got all our cash, cell phones, laptop, camera, watches and passports, and gave me another smash on the head causing a second serious gash. This was all done in a matter of seconds, so quickly that by the time the desk people and security got out the door the robbers were on the motor cycle and gone.
    We had another flight to catch next afternoon to Cuenca, with passports gone we immediately called the US Embassy, we were given instructions for the next morning on where to go and whom to ask for and by 10:15am we were on our way to the airport to catch the flight to Cuenca.
    Bryan, thank you for the 3 taxi names and numbers. We are headed back this fall in our quest to find an apartment and begin the process of becoming residents. I find your information to be precise extremely helpful. Continue to keep us updated and hopefully we’ll cross paths one day.

    • Bryan Haines Apr 2, 2012, 1:57 pm

      Hey Paul – sorry to hear about your bad experience. We’ve found the Embassy (Canadian, in our case) to be excellent here. So glad you got things arranged and that you weren’t scared off. This type of thing could happen almost anywhere.

      Thanks for your kind feedback as well.

      All the best on your plans.

      Bryan

  • Adrian Stone Apr 2, 2012, 11:27 am

    Reading this article all I can think is “wow, fear mongering.” Yes Guayaquil does have a bad rap, but most of that is undeserved. While taxis are, at times (especially around Christmas), dangerous I also know of plenty of people carjacked in private vehicles. Also, in the 2.5 years living in GYE I have never been in a metered taxi…everything is flat rate and negotiated. Additionally I know of plenty of robberies, murders and even sexual assaults that have happened in Taxis in Quito, Cuenca and other places. Just watch the news and you can see this occurring anywhere in Ecuador. As for “gringos” being targets, I think the vast majority of Ecuadorians who far outnumber the gringos as victims would disagree. In the end more visitors enjoy their time here in GYE than have bad experiences…

    • Bryan Haines Apr 2, 2012, 11:53 am

      Hey Adrian – lets clarify something. “Fear mongering (or scaremongering or scare tactics) is the use of fear to influence the opinions and actions of others towards some specific end“. (Wikipedia). There is no specific end in this post – except to advise visitors of potential threats. You have commented yourself that they can be dangerous. The other comments on the post support what we wrote. In my almost 3 years in Cuenca, we have never had problems with taxis or even heard of others having problems. I don’t think you’ll have an easy time convincing people that Cuenca or even Quito is as dangerous as Guayaquil. To suggest that we are scaring people for some alternative motive is curious. What is it? What benefit do we have?

      If you will re-read the post, you’ll see some of our “fear mongering tactics”.

      • So, while there is a threat, using the above radio taxi companies should virtually eliminate the risk.
      • But in Guayaquil, you’ll need a little more caution.
      • Now, we’ve hired cabs simply by hailing them and haven’t had any trouble, but “officially” it isn’t recommended.

      We didn’t (and don’t) suggest that people shouldn’t visit Guayaquil or that they shouldn’t take taxis there. Just that a little more care is needed. Thats all.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Bryan

    • Jakob Apr 3, 2012, 4:30 am

      It is not fear mongering, only statistics. I myself have never been robbed in Guayaquil, yet, although I escaped narrowly in Dec 2011 by jumping into a Taxi that cut off the attacker, but every single person I know there has been robbed at some point in their lives, Ecuadorians or Gringos. I always joke around with the locals that you can hold a lot of things against robbers in Guayaquil, but at least they are not racist (they’d rob anyone). You might go for years in GYE without anything happening, but statistically you expect it to happen at some point. When your wife calls you and tells you that she just had a gun put to her head as happened to mine close to Padre Solano in Guayaquil in 2008 after getting off a bus you might be tempted to caution at least a little bit.

  • JOEL Mar 18, 2012, 1:21 pm

    I recently moved from Guayaquil to USA. Be aware of getting a taxi in guayaquil. In 2008, i got robbed 4 times, two times in a taxi, and 2 times driving my car in a red light. all of them where armed robberies. I just do not feel safe anywhere in Guayaquil, even Samborondon that is a higher status area is dangerous. If need a taxi I recommend Fast Line : 2823333. besides the danger i do miss my typical food and pirate DVDs! have fun in Ecuador. and you should visit montanita.

  • Jakob Oct 14, 2011, 8:28 pm

    All… Taxis in Guayaquil are by law supposed to use metres, so Bryan’s info is correct, but this was only introduced a couple of years ago against the opposition of taxi drivers and well… nobody is following the new rule, and it seems nobody is enforcing it either… with the result that the taxi fare is still mostly a thing of up front negotiation. Law enforcement in Ecuador looks a bit different than in Gringolandia.

  • Omer Garay Sep 12, 2011, 9:41 pm

    My Business partner and I have been living in Guayaquil for the past year and-a-half. We have been using taxi services since we first arrived at the city and have never had an incident. The strategy we use is: 1- select a well known cooperativa. (one that has a current contract with a big corporation like Mall del Sol, Howard Johnson, Sheraton, etc. Try to always use the same one; 2- Getting to know the drivers always works (we have been using the same drivers for the past year); 3- Make friends with the dispatchers, he/she can always give you a heads-up on what is going on. 4- If in an unknown area always pick an older drivers; 5- Select late modle vehicles, this way the A/C works, and the driver can roll-up the windows at your request, keep your door locked for the duration of the ride; 6- If you can avoid it, never ride alone, and have the male passanger sit behind the driver. 7- Never put your guard down. GOOD LUCK.

    • Omer Garay Sep 12, 2011, 9:49 pm

      5- Correction on #5, “Select newer modle vehicles…”

  • Nick Flower May 9, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I use Taxi Amigo in Guayaquil, they are excellent, it is run by an ex-military colonel. The service is good and my wife left her phone in the back of one of the cars and the owner above made sure that she had it returned to her. Couldnt fault him as the driver had picked up some friends and they had aquired it. We had the phone returned and a apology.

    Taxi Amigo number is 2646464.

    Regards

    Nick

  • Jody Jan 19, 2011, 4:23 pm

    Living in Guayaquil, I can confirm that taxis are definitely something to be weary of. Do your best to call an agency that is on a "safe" list. Also, be aware of your surroundings, and it is best to fill the cab with people if you can!

    I do have to point out that taxis in Guayaquil do not use meters. A trip across town (average 20-25 minutes) will cost you anywhere between $6-10. A 15 minute trip runs about $3-4, and anything under that will be $1-$1.50 minimum.

    • Bryan Haines Jan 19, 2011, 6:56 pm

      Thanks Jody – appreciate this info and your perspective.

    • Gloria Mar 9, 2013, 1:51 pm

      Read you live in GYE. Am moving there next month from Buenos Aires. Planning to rent/buy a place at the Hilton Colon. Do you know if there is an expat community living in the apartment complex at the Hilton? Trying to establish a small network so I know where to go for help such as getting a housekeeper, where to shop for Organic products and a myriad of questions. Taxi info was useful. Moving from Buenos Aires. Is there an expat guide one can purchase somewhere that is Guayaquil specific? Thanks for any info you can pass on. Would certainly appreciate it. Cheers,

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