Guayaquil, Ecuador

img_0045Our bus ride took us around 30 hours from Lima, Peru to Guayaquil, Ecuador and despite what some people might think, it was a very pleasant trip for the family. Cruz Del Sur has very comfortable buses with personal devices to watch movies or play games on the back of each seat. The food wasn’t exciting but it did the trick and we had a personal store of drinks and snacks to sustain us. Crossing the border went smooth with the bus driver standing near the immigration’s counter to help anyone who was having trouble.  As soon as we crossed the border things grew lush and we left the desert behind. We watched movies, napped and enjoyed the changing landscape till our arrival in Guayaquil.img_0080  I had booked a hostel on booking.com before we left Lima but forgot to look up the currency of Ecuador. The bus dropped us off at a mall so we went and found an ATM and then discovered the last of our week long series of misfortunes…Someone was withdrawing money from our account and they had already maxed out the withdrawal limit for the day. This is when the Mormon missionary found us in a state of frustration and discussion and he asked in English if he could help us. It was so nice to hear English!  And our problem was solved so easily. The currency in Ecuador is the American dollar and we still had a twenty tucked away from when we first flew to Peru. We thanked our helper, found a taxi and quickly arrived at the most fantastic hostel of our travels. Mundial City. From there I called the bank to stop further fraudulent withdrawals…what a mess!

Guayaquil is hot! With average temperatures in the upper 80’s it made the pool at Mundial City the perfect place to relax and regroup after a not so good week of things going wrong. img_4081The family that owns Mundial City were super awesome and full of recommendations for places to visit within the city. One of our days we went in search of the Parque de las Iguanas and this place was great fun. It is a small park in the middle of the city filled with large iguanas, pigeons and turtles with vendors selling bags of food for the animals.

Keep and eye out where you stand though, the iguanas like to lounge in the trees and are known to poop on unlucky people below.

img_4120Across the street from the park is the Catedral Metropolitana de Guayaquil with lovely stained glass windows and a few blocks away is the promenade along the Guayas River which is full of old ships, kid parks and monuments. What amazed me was how cheap everything was. The kids rode the go-karts and amusement park rides for just a few dollars. We ate at a restaurant overlooking the river as the sun set and the boys enjoyed watching the Ferris wheel light up. Its really was a family friendly area with plenty to see and do.

The hostel was walking distance to the airport and the next day I walked there to inquire about new Galapagos tickets. The cheapest ones I found were $1,300 for the five of us to fly in for a ten day trip. It was more than I wanted to spend but we were so close and didn’t want to miss that portion of our adventure so we purchased tickets for the second time. img_5008Walking to the airport became a favorite activity for the kids with banana trees along the way, koi fish at the entrance to feed and one evening we discovered Guayaquil dwarf frogs hopping everywhere along the path near the banana trees. I mean everywhere. The boys had a great time catching them and insisted that they had to bring some back to the hostel to show dad! We took them back and safely released them a short time later.

And now off to the Galapagos! We are so excited for whats next…

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