People of the ancient Valdivia civilization had already settled in the area long before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, but it was the Spanish who gave the city its name, calling it Santiago de Guayaquil, as it is still officially known. The city of Guayaquil declared itself independent from Spain in 1820, following the capture of the Spanish governors. The city was instrumental in the campaign for national independence, which was eventually gained in 1830, following a brief period of being part of a united nation with Colombia.
In recent years there has been a significant amount of regeneration work in Guayaquil, particularly in the Malecon 2000 area, which was developed as part of a major project initiated by a former president of Ecuador. This brought much modernization to the city, including the construction of the first IMAX movie theatre in South America.
The official language in Ecuador is Spanish and the unit of currency is the US dollar. When you move to Guayaquil you will find that English is not as widely spoken as in other parts such as the capital, Quito, although in commercial and tourist environments you will find many people speak English. You may well hear the local Guayaquil dialect spoken; a version of Spanish with some words derived from English and colloquialisms.
Temperatures vary little through the year in Guayaquil, but rainfall is considerably higher from January to April than during the rest of the year. All year round temperatures have an average high of 28–31°C, with average lows between 20–23°C. Between May and December it is often cloudy, and humidity remains high despite the lower levels of rainfall. In years when El Niño affects Ecuador, there can be significant increases in the amount of rain and flooding can occur.
Rental properties are mainly unfurnished, so if you have the opportunity you may wish to arrange to have some of your furniture from home shipped out when you move to Guayaquil. Accommodation available in Guayaquil ranges from smart apartments in gated complexes to large houses with gardens, which make ideal homes for families.
One of the most attractive parts of the city is Las Penas, the historic area. Areas such as Los Ceibos and Urdesa are popular with expats in Guayaquil. If you don’t mind a short commute across the river into the city, Samborondon is one of the most exclusive areas to live, with spacious luxury housing. It is an area preferred by both wealthy locals and expats.
Property to rent is advertised in local newspapers or online. If you need to arrange accommodation once you are already living in Guayaquil, word of mouth is a good way to find a place to live.