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This tropical city of over two million people spreads out along the banks of chocolate-colored Guayas River, about 12 miles from Gulf of Guayaquil. The river, navigable for the largest of ocean vessels, makes this one of the Pacific’s most important and best-protected ports. Visitors find the city itself is primarily valued as a gateway for the Galapagos Island and the rest of the country. Ecuador’s scenic capital Quito can be reached via a 45-minute flight from Guayaquil. Lush green hillsides, snow-capped volcano cones and brilliant sunshine combine to make the city a charming surprise. Guayaquil offers a rich and interesting history. The meeting of Bolivar and San Martin is commemorated with the colonnaded La Rotunda facing the river. Other attractions include Colon Park where the city was founded, the Santo Domingo Church and the cemetery, often called the White City. With its elaborate tombs and monuments, this is one of South America’s most striking burial grounds.

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