Guayaquil, Ecuador

Everyone says Guayaquil’s pretty dodge and it has a notorious reputation for crime and robberies. But, although we only spent a few days here shouldering our Galapagos flights, we found it to be pretty pleasant, if a bit boring.

There’s a big malecon (waterfront) promenade with an Imax, fast food places, and a strong family vibe, and on the Sunday afternoon when we arrived we walked along its heaving pavement, with kids and families milling about in playgrounds and snack stalls. Looking out at the river and nearby colourful houses, I felt weirdly homesick for the British coast – it has that newly renovated seaside vibe about it.

Although hugely tempted by international superstar fast food chains (Pizza Hut! McDonalds! Dunkin Donuts!) we found a cheap Chifa dinner deal for our first night there, and a cheap yet nice hotel with baton-ladened security guards manning the doors (a nice touch!) – relishing the experience of being in a comfy clean bouncy double bed after two weeks in a tent with only a blanket for comfort!

We only had one full day there before our flight, and our main chore was a bit of pre-Galapagos shopping, which consisted of trying to find snorkels and water proof cameras! After only finding a crazy spenny $45 Speedo snorkel in a fancy sports shop, we took to scavenging the markets of the city and the sports shop district, to no avail.

Then, lightbulb moment! We decided to just check in a toy shop, on the off chance… and there they were! Snorkels for $12, ages 8+. After buying one and quickly testing it with a dunk in the bathroom sink, we went back and bought a second. Instant Galapagos money saver! Snorkelling wherever we want, no hiring necessary. High with excitement at our purchase, we subsequently buzzed around the toy shop looking at all the fancy new fangled toys and pink girly shit, and we picked up a ‘2’ candle to place on a cake for our 2 Year Anniversary in a few weeks!

Unfortunately we couldn’t find a camera, but we did come across a massive supermarket which, after the wilderness of tiny coastal shops, was embarrassingly exciting to us, and we picked up an array of goodies from wholemeal tortillas to fruit to veggies and popcorn – for a healthy dinner at our hotel. Oh, and two bargain $5 bottles of Chilean red, after months without wine! Sadly, the wine didn’t agree with me (more on that in the next post!) but was nice to have it nonetheless…

We briefly touched into Guayaquil on our way back from the Galapagos, but we did nothing more than pick up our extra clothes we left at the hotel (we packed super light for the Galapagos!), and finally caved and gorged ourselves on burgers, fries and icecream from Wendy’s and McDonalds. In the big bus terminal. The shame. It was SO GOOD THOUGH. I regret nothing.

Next, onto the star attraction of Ecuador… the Galapagos!!!