I conquered fear and headed to Ecuador for my first solo trip.
Guayaquil (pronounced Y-ya-kill, say it in a NY mobster accent just for fun), is a city that is out growing its bad reputation of crime, and becoming a fantastic tourist destination.
I have to admit, I was concerned about visiting this city as a solo woman traveler, whose Spanish pretty much sucks. But, knowing that the media likes to focus on the negative I put my fear aside and decided that I would have a fabulous time, and that is exactly what I had.
The best thing I had going for myself was having Mario as a guide. Without the service of My Trip To Ecuador my experience would not have been anywhere near as fantastic as it was. Mario tailored my 3 days to what I wanted to see and do. Besides seeing the main attractions I also wanted to see how Ecuadorians live, something without Mario I would never would have accomplished.
In 2000, taking the necessary steps to improve the city, Guayaquil decided to improve its boardwalk and make it outstanding – Malecon 2000. The residents had the option of helping out by donating a portion of their taxes to the project. On a glass plaque every one who contributed is named.
It’s a beautiful 1.5 mile family friendly boardwalk, starting at the Planetarium and ends at the oldest neighborhood Las Penas on Cerro Santa Ana.
444 steps up to the top of Cerro Santa Ana, Santiago de Guayaquil gives way to a spectacular view, especially when you climb the lighthouse. The steps are numbered so you know how far you have to go. It’s an easy walk up, unlike many ancient hillside towns. Most of Guayaquil’s homes are void of color, but not here.
The streets of Guayaquil are chaotic with drivers doing mostly as they please; turning right while in the left lane, changing 2 lanes into 3, the never-ending car horn honk (just because it’s there) and families of 4 on motorcycles. The little boy in the picture below really enjoyed seeing me, he must not see very many white people. I on the other hand went into N. American safety mode and was wondering what the hell his parents were thinking. Motorcycles are not common here due to driving conditions. I had to ask if people had to take a test to get their license. Imagine being at a fair watching the children drive the bumper cars, that was my impression.
Traffic laws are getting stronger to discourage reckless driving; running a red light was $6 now $60, a speeding ticket was $8 now $105. Surprisingly car insurance is $200 per year, regardless of any traffic violations.
Since I wasn’t going into the jungle and so I could see the animals of Ecuador we stopped by the zoo. It has its normal zoo variety of birds, reptiles and mammals, plus some buildings that had been relocated; a church and an old plantation house. There is also an area that resembles a village.
It’s normal at any street light to have people selling bags of fresh fruit ($1), or anything else for that matter. For a city where parking is a problem these street vendors are a blessing, plus it also saves time having to go to the market. Outside the city the country folk make a living from their roadside stalls.
*Disclaimer: My Trip To Ecuador graciously sponsored my tours in exchange for reviews and social media promotions. All opinions, as always, are of my own.
OKAY, YOUR TURN… WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST SOLO TRIP?