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Things to Do in Guayaquil, Ecuador: Where We Stay, What to Do

Posted in: Ecuador Travel

In this post, you’ll learn about the best things to do in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Attractions in Guayaquil include food, culture, natural, and adventure. Learning what to do will make your trip more fun and memorable. 

Howare Johnson Guayaquil room

This post includes the following. 

More to follow in a future update.

When we travel to Guayaquil we stay at the Howard Johnson.

The Howard Johnson in Guayaquil

The Howard Johnson is a nice hotel. The lobby is bright and clean. I always like the beautiful flower arrangement on the table in front of the main doors.

The restaurant serves a large buffet breakfast each morning and they have room service.

The rooms are clean and nicely decorated. The beds and pillows are very comfortable, I don’t have a problem falling asleep there.

They offer an airport shuttle service which we love. The shuttle service is so convenient, it means that we never worry about getting a taxi (which can be dangerous in Guayaquil) or mapping our way around the city.

howard-johnson-gye-ecuador Howard Johnson lobby eating area Howard Johnson lobby

There are glass doors in the lobby just beyond the restaurant that lead to a cafe/restaurant area. The cafe is “Sweet & Coffee,” they’ve got good coffee and lots of sweet treats to go with it.

You can eat outside and enjoy the warm weather or sit inside in the air-conditioned two level eating area. Bryan loves their chocolate covered coffee beans.

Sweet and Coffee near Howard Johnson Guayaquil

Just around the corner from the cafe is an area of restaurants with outdoor eating areas. We like the atmosphere in the evening. Palm trees, warm air and good food.

Guayaquil Ecuador near Mall del Sol

Check out: 34 beautiful photos of Guayaquil

Close to Mall del Sol

There is a large mall (Mall del Sol) just a five minute walk from the hotel. The walk from the hotel to the mall is through a safe area (the restaurant area mentioned above) and there is a walking bridge over the highway.

Mall del Sol walking bridge Guayaquil

We really like how close the hotel is to the mall because we can find some things there that we haven’t been able to find in Cuenca.

We often stock up a bit when we stay in Guayaquil. There are often good sales at Mall del Sol and the large food court is a bonus.

What’s the weather like? Here’s the guide to Guayaquil weather.

What if I Don’t Speak Spanish?

Every time we’ve stayed at the Howard Johnson (we’ve stayed at least 8 times) the staff working the front desk speak English to us until they realize we speak Spanish.

And the shuttle driver has always been standing at the airport waiting for us, holding up a sign with our names on it.

These things can make a big difference to someone feeling a little unsure or apprehensive because of not speaking the language. I know it did for us the first time we stayed there in 2009!

Howard Johnson entrance

Howard Johnson lobby entrance

Howare Johnson Guayaquil room Eating area at Howard Johnson Guayaquil

The HoJo is a bit pricey, but for us it’s worth it because of the comfort, convenience and location.

It’s also a good safe option until a person is familiar with the city and wants to venture out a bit more.

Howard Johnson Guayaquil flowers

If you’ve stayed at the Howard Johnson please share your thoughts by commenting on this post.

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Check out our guides:

Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

19 comments… add one
  • Bill Hatfield Sep 15, 2014, 6:12 am

    Why didn’t you tell prices?

    • Bryan Haines Sep 15, 2014, 7:08 am

      Because hotel prices aren’t fixed. You can check the site and get current prices, based on your dates and the type of room you need.

  • Mike Feb 19, 2014, 8:39 pm

    While on a trip to Orlando in November, I had an early morning departure, and spent the night at the Holiday Inn GYE. It was hard to believe that it was a HI ! I’ve seen Holiday Inns all over the world, as well as across the USA, and this was like no HI I’ve ever seen, or stayed in. The property is brand new, with excellent staff, amenities, and the room service menu was more like a fine dining restaurant. I will definitely stay there again, whenever I need to spend time in Guayaquil, as I live in Salinas.

  • Dena Haines Feb 18, 2014, 11:17 am

    Thanks for all the comments on this post and reviews of some other hotels to consider in Guayaquil. We are sure other travelers will appreciate your input!

    Perhaps we will check some of them out in the future and share more about them on the blog.

  • william fitzpatrick Jan 12, 2014, 1:33 pm

    have never stayed at the Howard Johnsons….had to go to Guayaquil for our Cedulas and stayed at the Palace Guayaquil as it was close to where we had to go. It was a very nice hotel and close to a lot of sights to see, I would highly reccommend it to anyone who has to be in Gauyaquil for a few days. The iguana park, and river front area was great, there is also an unusual market close by (about five or six blocks long).

  • Brenda Jan 12, 2014, 1:59 am

    I wrote above about being mugged in Guayaquil? Well, it was a block from our hotel, the Unipark Hotel. I loved the hotel though. The restaurant was wonderful and so was the help. Our room was immaculate with all modern conveniences including a huge modern shower. The hotel opened up into a mall but security was obvious and you got in and out of the building with your key card. I would recommend the hotel, just don’t go out walking….and ladies, take off your earrings and necklaces in public.

  • Mark Wald Jan 11, 2014, 4:37 pm

    I recommend the Courtyard Marriott, especially for first timers to Ecuador, where you can “ease in” to the experience. This hotel is familiar and clean. They have a shuttle and when I take the taxi from the airport, it’s just $2-3 bucks. I often use my Marriott points as well, and still find it to be a good value. If you are trying to stay down by the Malecon or near Iquana Park, the Courtyard is too far to walk. But for easy access to and from the Airport, this is a good choice.

  • Jakob Jan 11, 2014, 3:53 pm

    The neighbouring hotel you see in the pictures is actually the Four Points by Sheraton. It is one of my favourite choices in Guayaquil from earlier times. They sometimes have special offers where you can stay as low as $60 a night (the lowest I have ever paid… regular rate is well above $100) and it is just as upscale as the Howard Johnson.

    • Dena Haines Feb 18, 2014, 11:22 am

      Thanks Jakob,

      We’ll keep the Four Points by Sheraton in mind when traveling to Guayaquil in the future. I hope we can get some of those special offers!

  • Marcia Ransom Jan 11, 2014, 2:19 pm

    We plan to visit your area soon for a convention if selected. The info was very informative. It will be helpful if we need to stay in the area. Thanks!

  • Rick Racinskas Jan 11, 2014, 1:57 pm

    Not for first timers!
    To save a few bucks, I stay at the Tabuba House. Close to the airport and they pick me up at 1-2 am. $35-55.
    It works but not recommended for first timers. The inside is much nicer than the neighborhood presents.
    The AC is dead quiet and there is a breakfast. Great chicken place 2 blocks away $3 and walking distance to the SuperKiwi. Great Home Depot like place.
    We splurge at the Unipark in the downtown section which is $70-80 via Right next to the Cathedral and Inguana Park. The malecon is cool to visit and I like the flea market nearby. Lots of great shopping nearby and innside the hotel mall.

  • Brenda Jan 11, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Thank you for the recommendation of the Howard Johnson hotel in Guayaquil. I will be making a reservation for a flight there (final destination, Cuenca) and will certainly book this hotel. The last time I flew into Guayaquil, in June, I stayed at a very pretty hotel in the middle of town, walking distance from the ocean and got mugged within 30 minutes of going for a stroll out of my hotel, in broad daylight, on a busy street, in front of upper scale department stores. Can you imagine? The police were wonderful there, but the experience has made me very unsettled in Guayaquil. By the way, for a side note, NOBODY spoke English…not the police, not the workers in the restaurants,
    not the maids, not even the doormen or front counter workers. Still, I loved Ecuador. I can learn Spanish.

    • Dena Haines Feb 18, 2014, 11:10 am

      Hi Brenda,

      Sorry to hear you got mugged! Please keep in mind that we did not go walking… we just walked from the hotel past the little restaurant area to the mall. It’s like a three minute walk in a very public place. I was not recommending going walking in that area.
      We are very careful in Guayaquil, we never go walking or hire a taxi off the street. We did hire a trusted driver to take us to Iguana Park and to walk the malecon and really enjoyed it, but other then that we don’t walk around the city. If you don’t know a trusted driver it’s best to ask at the hotel for a trusted taxi driver to bring you around if you want to see the city, keep their number to come pick you up as well or ask if you can hire them for the morning/afternoon/day. Or book a tour package with a recommended company.

  • Toni Graeme Jan 11, 2014, 12:20 pm

    I get your newsletter and thanks. But this one looked like a Howard Johnson website. I am a Canadian senior woman writer on a $50 a day strict budget traveling for 16 months now, mostly in Spain and the Americas.
    I stayed at a place called Roommate Suites ( in south Guayaquil. My Aeropuerto taxi driver had a very difficult time finding this place, streets stop and start and there are parks the interfere with finding it. The owner has run a security business there until recently (it was also his families home) He moved and now seems to be running it as a hobby hotel. The rates keep changing, once $25 single, now $35 and $35 for a couple and one couple pay only $350 a month. Confusing. Locked gates at either end of the street make it difficult to get in to the house. Using the back door just leads to an inner door that is locked! My room had a bed, night table and one chair, no table for computer. Dresser was in a cupboard. They provided a small but OK box of cereal and a little fruit for three days and then nothing more. There is no front desk or hotel security person. One has to phone the manager at her home if help if needed. I think the owner and the manager both need job descriptions on hotel management. It is not the most pleasing neighbourhood, on good place, the Cafetera which is new.

  • Bill Philo Jan 11, 2014, 11:20 am

    I had a couple of poor experiences at the Ramada and switched to the City Plaza. The rooms are clean and the restaurant is up scale truck stop. The food is good and they are helpful in English at the desk.

    Can someone tell me what the “10 percent” sur charge is for. The desk at none of the several hotels I have used in Ecuador tell me it is a gratuity or a tax. I guess as a gratuity it is ok but a gratuity is a gift – pretty much the same as a pick pocket telling me what he or she takes is a “gift”. I suspect the 10 percent is in reality a surcharge taken by the hotel and not given to the staff for their services.

  • Alicia Rodriguez Jan 11, 2014, 11:40 am

    Hello there. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Guayaquil. It was centrally located, the staff was very friendly and eager to help and it was nice to relax at their bar at the end of the day. The room rate booked through was very reasonable too.

  • Chuck Jan 11, 2014, 6:56 am

    We had a bad experience at the Howard Johnson in Guayaquil.

    We reserved a room for use on the night we returned from the USA. We pledged our credit card to secure the reservation. Our plane was an hour late, but the driver was there with our name on a card. We loaded our baggage and ourselves in the van and were taken to the hotel.

    When we tried to check in, at about 1 AM, we were told that there were no rooms available!!!

    How can that be a professional way to run a hotel? A complimentary shuttle, but no room!! What is the purpose of a guarenteed reservation? The person at the desk suggested that we go to the Hilton, but would that we would have to pay the higher walk-in rate there. I am not sure if he even offered to have the van take us there. He would not, or could not, find us accomodations elsewhere at the price we had reserved at the Howard Johnson.

    Meanwhile, our bags were piled up in the lobby and it was getting later and later. We resorted to being ugly americans, pretending to have little Spanish and demanding a room that we had reserved using our creedit card.

    After about an hour of our refusing to move from the lobby, and the desk clerk making several phone calls, we were given a room in the hotel annex at about 2 AM.

    Because of this bad experience, we use other hotels in Guayaquil. We do, however, love stsying at the Howard Johnson in Loja.

    • Bryan Haines Jan 11, 2014, 7:45 am

      Sorry for your bad experience. Sounds like typical hotel problems. We haven’t been to the Loja HoJo yet, but we’ll try it now.

  • Jim Russell Jan 10, 2014, 1:36 pm

    I am subscriber to you because I am thinking of moving to Ecuador as a retiree. I do have a question for you and I suppose other writers about Ecuador. There is always mention of “safe area” in most location reviews. I have vacationed anf been on buisiness in Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago. LA, Las Vegas, Kansas City etc etc. NEVER have I seen a comment about the safeness of any particular area even though I KNOW a convention hotel stay and a walk to convention center is unsafe. Can you describe in a blog posting what you mean by “safe”? And describing a taxi ride in as large a city as Guayaquill as “DANGEROUS” …….. makes me hesitant about my consideration of Ecuador

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