The quality of healthcare in Guayaquil is high, with modern hospitals and a good standard of facilities. Many doctors in Ecuador have trained in the US, so there are English speaking doctors available in the majority of Guayaquil’s hospitals.
Foreign nationals are entitled to low cost public healthcare provided they are aged between 18 and 60 years and have a residence permit. A monthly fee is payable for this service. However, many expats moving to Guayaquil choose to take out medical insurance, either in their home country or with one of the health insurance policies available in Ecuador. Some local insurance policies are specific to a particular private hospital, so consider whether this or a general Ecuadorian healthcare policy is more suitable for your needs.
The combination of excellent healthcare standards and good value for money has created a growing medical tourism sector, with clients visiting Guayaquil for operations that can be carried out more cheaply or more quickly than in their home country.
The last ten years have seen major investment in the city’s infrastructure. The Metrovia rapid transit bus provides an efficient service from the city to the suburbs, and other bus services operate throughout the city.
If you choose to use taxis, agree the fare before you commence your journey. Some foreign embassies advise expats to avoid hailing a cab on the street, and instead recommend that expats book a taxi through a cab firm known to have a reliable reputation or to have been vetted, for example those listed on the US Consulate General’s website.
Expats who wish to drive while living in Guayaquil should obtain an international driving license. Foreign driving licenses are usually valid for driving for 30 days only, after which time you would need to apply for a local license and have driver training in Ecuador.
One of the most popular leisure areas in the city is Malecon 2000, a series of parks, play areas, stores and restaurants connected by a 2.5 km boardwalk by the Guayas River. This entirely pedestrianized area is popular with locals, expats and tourists alike. Art lovers will enjoy visiting the city’s Museo Antropologico y de Arte Contemporaneo, which is home to collections of local art as well as charting the history of Guayaquil.
The old part of the city, Las Penas, is a popular place to explore and relax. Its best known attraction is the Cerro Santa Ana, a lighthouse and naval museum reached by climbing nearly 450 steps. The city is also home to modern shopping malls and entertainment complexes. If you want to spend time at the coast, whether for whale watching, surfing or just to relax, the most popular beach resorts close to Guayaquil are General Villamil Playas and Salinas.