When I asked my students back in Riobamba about Guayaquil, they either said I would probably be shot or robbed, possibly stabbed too. After meandering around southern Ecuador for most of November, I found myself with four whole days in Ecuador’s largest city hoping nothing bad will happen to me.
Bario La Bahia
After a very long journey from the hostel to the La Bahia neighborhood, our stomachs were growling. Lunch at 11:00 am is acceptable, right? Picanteria la Culata is a seafood place. The things on the menu were not cheap, but yet again, it was all seafood. We ordered encebollado, a seafood soup,
Bario Las Peñas
Barrio Las Peñas is a neighborhood where 8 Ecuadorian presidents and numerous high-up politicians called home. This neighborhood requires a lot of walking. I love the fact that it counts every stair for you as you walk. With its wooden houses and cobblestone walkway, it was a world away from the Guayaquil I saw earlier.
We wandered to a section of Las Peñas that didn’t belong on the tourist track. The signs pointed to a lookout and we wanted to see it. But the locals made sure to tell us there was no access even though the map said otherwise.
444 steps later, we ended up Plaza de Honores where a colonial-style chapel and a remake of Guayaquil’s first lighthouse sit. We got a nice view of the city and the coastline.
Malecón 2000 is a boardwalk that links many of Guayaquil’s main attractions together. It was a good, long walk with lots of people-watching. The Malecón is probably better at night with lights and water fountains, but it was still enjoyable.
Parque Seminario is also known as “Iguana Park”. I was a bit spoiled by the iguanas in the Galapagos, but I still love watching these guys just be there. These iguanas are there mainly for show as locals feed them copious amounts of lettuce. But it was sad to see people trying to pick the iguanas up and squeezing them like toys. These guys are more agile compared to their island cousins. It’s fun to see them go!
Ok, so I have to admit that of the four days I was there, I actually only spent a day sightseeing in Guayaquil. I was too busy documenting someone’s eating adventures around the city and working. Responsibilities… But the number of ceviches I consumed in Guayaquil was a lot, and I enjoyed it immensely. And, I’m still alive. Nothing bad happened to me while in the city.
I also really want to say a big gracias to Maria at Villa Maria. She let me stay the whole day in the hostel leeching off the WiFi, using the kitchen, making lemonade for me, and helping me write my future book about Ecuador.
I left Guayaquil with a taxi driver proposing he be my boyfriend [BIG NO], the bus ticket guy asking me way too many personal questions before I abruptly left the ticket office, and me sipping hot chocolate in front a massive nativity scene at Guayaquil’s bus station food court.
And with that, my Ecuadorian journey has finally come to a close. It’s been an amazing 162 days, but it’s time to go. Hasta luego, Ecuador!