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What's the deal with the robberies in Guayaquil?

Flying into Guayaquil before moving on to Cuenca, I thought we'd like to look around GYE for a couple of days. Warm, sea level, tropical, sounded appealing to me. I know it's a big city and not a tourist town.

But when I started looking around at transportation, there seems to be a lot of crime. A lot. I found many references but this one is a good illustration - http://gringosabroad.com/guayaquil-taxi … nd-rates/. That's some pretty serious stuff.

I was going to stay a couple of days in a nice condo-ish apt. in an upscale looking neighborhood. Big houses, nice parks, tidy. I drove the google car around to view the area. Seemed fine. But all of the houses were fortified to the max well up to the 3rd floor - walled, hot wired, barb wired, window bars, door grates. And with all the warning about public transportation how would I get around?

So I think I'm going to skip it.

Why is Guayaquil such a peculiarly crime ridden place in a country which otherwise seems reasonably safe and relatively normal? I thought Quito was was mostly fine, not unusually bad.

IMO the important thing is not why Guayaquil is dangerous.

The important thing is that you recognized that it’s unsafe .. and decided to get out of there early.

Good job. :top:

With the heat and humidity and traffic, GYE is not an Expat-friendly place to begin with.

cccmedia

Heat and humidity is ok for a couple of days, in fact I would welcome it. It looked fairly tropical and I've been so cold for so many years - sunshine, palm trees, it looked pretty good to me for real.

I'm going to be at the airport anyway, why not look around for a few days?

I think the last time I was warm was the last time we were in Ecuador.   :(


Seriously, look at what a nice little neighborhood this is, the apartment I was looking at is here, https://www.google.com/maps/@-2.2296112 … 56!6m1!1e1

And see how fortified everything is......

First, you need to recognize that it is a major port city. That is a big difference from a landlocked city like Quito.

And second you need to recognize that a show of protection is rather a status symbol.

It is a shame you will not stay in Guayaquil which is a truly world class city with great museums, restaurants and cultural activities.

As for dangerous, actually, the most dangerous city in Ecuador is still considered Manta.  And the reason is again that it too is a port city, in this case, an open water port.  It is the location of a great deal of drug smuggling as is much of the Manabi coastline.

Statistics have shown that crime in Guayaquil like the rest of Ecuador continues to drop at a very impressive rate. If we’re to compare Guayaquil to Cuenca or Quito then it is more dangerous in murder per capita, but if we compared it to other cities in South and North America then murder rate wise it is similar to Dallas as they both have a 9.1 murder rate per 100,000. Put it this way it’s safer than St. Louis and Miami in this category.

I don’t live in Guayaquil, only visited, and had no issues with crime or feeling vulnerable. But it’s not my liking for quality of life (relatively).


Some numbers:

http://www.ministeriointerior.gob.ec/el … abitantes/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U … crime_rate

Susan_in_Ecuador :

As for dangerous, actually, the most dangerous city in Ecuador is still considered Manta.  And the reason is again that it too is a port city, in this case, an open water port.  It is the location of a great deal of drug smuggling as is much of the Manabi coastline.

Interesting you would say that as the last time we were in Ecuador we spent about 10 days in Manta. Our usual low profile rooms, rode the city bus repeatedly, got lost on the bus as we usually do,  a couple of distance buses, took taxis, drank dollar beers in a local storefront, plumbed the darkest depths of the Tarqui, not a single problem. I never felt a quiver of dangerousness.

From the reading around I've done it seems like the public transportation in Guayaquil is a particular problem, moreso than walking around a looking at stuff.

That´s really the point I think.

Even though it was listed as most crime Manta (and that located around the port area too) it is still, relatively, a  safe city,

You visited as a savvy traveler.  I can tell by how you describe your lodging choices and so on.  You did your homework and that shows :)

So when it comes to visiting any of the big(ger) cities in Ecuador you do need to be aware.  But definitely, don´t miss them.

The churches alone are worth wandering into and in Guayaquil you have the iguana park and a night on the Malecon 2000.

We´re more than beach and mountains... Ecuador is a cosmopolitan too.

I live in Guayaquil and it does have it's risks, but they are manageable IMHO.
Guayaquil is like any other place, good things and bad things......people must decide for themselves.  Do not listen to those (being polite here) who never miss a change to disparage it.
As for the barred windows, and electric fences......you will find them throughout Ecuador and latino america.

I’d like to share my opinion about why Guayaquil has a stigma for being dangerous. I think it’s due to the fact that Ecuador in general was dangerous 10 or so years ago, and if we look at the crime statistics one can understand this fact, but more importantly one will also understand that year after year Ecuador has become much safer, and statistically only Chile and Uruguay are safer. I posted this stuff before on this very forum, look it up.

As a consequence I think the primary culprit now for this stigmatization is outdated information and ignorance, for example search express kidnappings or robberies in Guayaquil and there are articles dating back to 2009 on the first page of Google. This is clearly outdated information that remains prominently visible, especially when the search is in English. There are also expats and visitors who don’t live in Quito or Guayaquil yet ignorantly post about how dangerous these cities are while completely disregarding updated facts and statistics.

Here are some facts, about 50% of all robberies in Guayaquil are limited to three areas (zonas). So like most cities there are good and bad areas, and AMDG’s comment about safety being “manageable”, is justified by these statistics.

Here’s another fact, 2016 Guayaquil and Quito for that matter are not 2010 Guayaquil and Quito. An unprecedented effort to clean up crime in these cities is successful and continues to lower crime making Ecuador and these cities comparative to similar sized cities in North and South America quite safe.

So, what is your opinion as to why Guayaquil continues to be stigmatized as dangerous?

http://www.eltelegrafo.com.ec/noticias/ … il-y-quito

As for the statistics, they way underestimate the true crime problem, at least in Guayaquil.......the true numbers are NOT reported; not to mention that most of the crimes are NOT reported.
While it is true that much of the crime happens in certain, generally bad areas, NO area is free from it nor is it safe to assume most crime is at night.
Living here among the Ecuadorians, it is a very real concern, everywhere, all the time.......that said, it is manageable and the main tourist areas have a reasonable police presence.
The many stores, most pharmacies, every bank do not have armed guards without reason.......the presence of armed guards here far exceeds the rest of Ecuador, Quito, Cuenca, Manta, etc......

Now it is also true that Dec is always an extremely dangerous month, but with the economic troubles crime has risen considerably......
Nothing I said should discourage anybody from visiting, just be smart about it (now this is true anywhere)......any place you stay can guide you, main tourist areas are well policed and generally safe, and be aware of surroundings, do NOT wear expensive jewelry or expose expensive phones walking......

So the stigma is justified and Guayaquil is in fact dangerous according to you as a resident? I always appreciate local feedback because it reflects realities on the ground.

Before moving to Quito, I’ve read many blogs about how unsafe it was. Be careful of taxis, be careful of cellphones, be careful of this and that. Psychologically it had an impact especially with knowing minimal Spanish initially.

Fast forward, and fear of crime for me is not an issue, it’s not something that I think about, put it this way - I go out at all times day and night with no issues. But I have street smarts, know when to walk, know when to take a taxi, know when to stay, and know when to leave.

My point is - for me, the majority that was posted about Quito online with regards to crime was either outdated information or biased nonsense.

I go out when I want to and go where I need to.......but like you, being aware, the street smarts and speaking some spanish helps........
We go about our lives here without fear, just be smart about things to minimize risks.......I am no different anywhere else..........
There are many dangers.......a young high school teacher at a very good school here just died from eating a bon bon given to him on the street (Christmas time of course) which need up having lethal does of scopolamine.....and it seems scopolamine is being used more frequently here.......if you are not familiar with it, best read up......extremely dangerous and why we generally go out in pairs or more......

AMDG :

a young high school teacher at a very good school here just died from eating a bon bon given to him on the street which ended up having a lethal dose of scopolamine....

Wow!  What a cautionary tale.

It’s especially tragic because it was completely avoidable.

I don’t live in -- or even visit -- a dangerous city such as Guayaquil.  But wherever I am -- Quito, Medellín or Quindío, Colombia -- I don’t expose myself to this kind of danger.

I don’t taste or eat food offered by strangers or ‘a guy on the street.’  I don’t engage, not even eye contact, with apparent beggars who approach me.  I don’t take leaflets or business cards being handed out on the street.

I don’t shake hands.  Use the Oriental greeting, known in Thailand as a ‘wai’ .. famous in India with the word ‘Namaste’.

I don’t accept drinks from strangers in a bar.  If I lose track of my beverage at a shared table with folks I don’t know well, I presume it may have been switched or tampered with .. and I’m done drinking it.

Don’t mess with unknown or questionable substances.  Any benefit of doing so is outweighed.

cccmedia

AMDG :

I go out when I want to and go where I need to.......but like you, being aware, the street smarts and speaking some spanish helps........
We go about our lives here without fear, just be smart about things to minimize risks.......I am no different anywhere else..........
There are many dangers.......a young high school teacher at a very good school here just died from eating a bon bon given to him on the street (Christmas time of course) which need up having lethal does of scopolamine.....and it seems scopolamine is being used more frequently here.......if you are not familiar with it, best read up......extremely dangerous and why we generally go out in pairs or more......

Thanks for the heads up about scopolamine, although it’s common sense to avoid eating anything from strangers or leaving drinks unattended.

What caught my attention from your post is this:

“if you are not familiar with it, best read up......extremely dangerous and why we generally go out in pairs or more” 

I couldn’t live that. Certainly it’s precautionary, but sheesh it’s not part of life here in Quito for me or anyone I know, including my kids when they were here. I'm sharing my opinion but It would be too distressing to live that.

I live in guayaquil and I have heard some bad stuff from friends. I have heard the center of the city especially at night can be dangerous as a college friend of my friend got held at gun point and gave his phone. However this was at around 3am after he was coming home from a discotec.

I think you just have to be smart and not advertise what you have. Example when you are on a bus especially the metro you are pushed together like sardines in a tin and some unsavoury people may take the oppurtunity to try get into your back pack or your pockets. This seems pretty common.

There are also little carts that are like attached to motorbikes I have never taken one and I do not know what they are called (Sorry about that) but I have been advised not to take them as some of them are not safe.

I was alarmed with the barred windows, gated communities, wired fences etc but it actually makes me feel safe. When I first saw it I was a little freaked out but I understand that the culture and the perception of people are different than my homeland.

Also I would like to say that keep in mind Guayaquil is a CITY and any CITIES CAN BE DANGEROUS. I would still recommend coming for a visit though  :)  Especially if you are cold!!! Just make sure you have some repellent for all the mosquitoes

vsimple :

So the stigma is justified and Guayaquil is in fact dangerous according to you as a resident? I always appreciate local feedback because it reflects realities on the ground.

Before moving to Quito, I’ve read many blogs about how unsafe it was. Be careful of taxis, be careful of cellphones, be careful of this and that. Psychologically it had an impact especially with knowing minimal Spanish initially.

Fast forward, and fear of crime for me is not an issue, it’s not something that I think about, put it this way - I go out at all times day and night with no issues. But I have street smarts, know when to walk, know when to take a taxi, know when to stay, and know when to leave.

My point is - for me, the majority that was posted about Quito online with regards to crime was either outdated information or biased nonsense.

Someone I know went to Quito and they parked their car at a bar went inside and asked for directions and when they returned someone had entered the car and ripped the car radio out. So I think it is really what you said having the street smarts to know when to walk when to taxi and when to leave.

I also have read some forums before coming here stating about Guayaquil and Quito being dump cities. Some of the forums make it sound so barbaric but it really isnt. I guess when you compare it to somewhere like USA or even for me like New Zealand there are MANY differences. But that is the difference between first world countries. All in all (aside from the fact Im unemployed *ashamed*) I am really happy here

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