Gua-Wh-yaquil Always Travel

by | Nov 8, 2022 | Ecuador, Fit for Foodies, Galápagos Islands, Layovers, Walking Tours | 0 comments


So what’s life like after publishing your first book?



Staying grounded for an abnormally long 3 months (it’s not often you get a book out in the world!), I took the edge off with 2 weekends of camping.



However, very little else beats leaving it all behind for a week in a foreign country. With November coming up and book stuff calming down, why not an affordable deal to the Galápagos? At this time of year their water begins to warm, leading to more food and therefore more local wildlife, and thus being one of the best two times of the year to visit.

It might seem daunting to book a Galapagos trip from scratch but in DIY fashion, I found that you only need to book the following:

  1. Roundtrip flights from wherever you are to Guayaquil (GYE) – We got them for $300 from NYC to GYE via JetBlue
  2. Lodging while in Guayaquil, if arriving early
  3. Roundtrip flights from GYE to Baltra Island (GPS) – We got them for $300
  4. Island hopping yacht tour through a reputable partner – We chose the Bonita yacht for an approx $2000/pp 5-day tour via Galapatours; the yacht can pick you up and drop you off directly at GPS airport.
  5. Lodging while in Guayaquil if leaving later

That’s it! Everything in Guayaquil is otherwise super convenient and affordable; there’s Uber that can reliably take you to and from the airport and around the city for $2-$3 a ride, lodging in nice hotels can be as low as $40-$50/night, and food may cost only $10 for a decent 2-3 course meal!

So until then we just counted down the days until our trip, while I resumed what life was like before he pandemic and oversaw finish line medical tent at the annual TCS NYC Marathon the day before the trip. I got promoted, which meant a way bigger medical team:



The day after the marathon, we then boarded the direct 1:37pm flight JetBlue flight from JFK to GYE, landing 7 hours later at 8:18pm local time.



After a quick passport stamp at arrivals, we hailed an Uber that cost less than $3 USD to our AirBnB lodging 20 minutes away in the city center.



This will be my second time in Ecuador but first time in Guayaquil!

After a breakfast at Honey Healthy Food & Deli, we started at the beautiful interior of Basílica Menor Católica Nuestra Señora de La Merced:



We then walked over to Hemicycle De La Rotonda in the middle of the Malecon which commemorates where South American revolutionaries Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin met to decide the fate of South America newly liberated from Spanish rule.



Guayaquil prides itself for this riverfront promenade facing the Rio Guayas.



We also passed by a random “Battle of the Barbers” contest here…



…and just in time for their intermission where I was tempted to join:



Past numerous shops, theaters, museums, gardens and shopping arcades and exiting the Malecon from its north exit, we then scaled the 400 steps up Santa Ana . . .



. . . past the old Spanish fort . . .



. . . to reach Iglesia del Cerro Santa Ana on top of Cerro Santa Ana.



The church is part of a serene and empty park complex when we visited it at around noon.



You can even climb to the top of the lighthouse for better views.



More vistas of the rest of Guayaquil from here:



Odd to have observation deck telescopes here to peek into people’s apartments.



This whole area is also known as Las Peñas and where the city was founded, recently rebuilt to preserve its colonial past. Be mindful not to step in someone’s private property while wandering here!



If you have more time in Guayaquil, you can pass the time at Guayaquil Historical Park:



…or spend an hour learning about the origins of chocolate in Ecuador at the Museo de Cacao especially if you’re fluent in Spanish (all exhibits are in Spanish).



For the afternoon we walked half an hour to the Malecon of the west, Malecón del Salado and stopped for a drink here.



After an hour here, we then walked back east down the avenue of 9 de Octubre:



Have you ever had grated cheese on your ice cream? It’s a local $2 delicacy here at Helado con Queso:



We then reached Parque Centenario:



Before wrapping up with a splendid seafood dinner at Picanteria la Culata we took a detour for peek inside the Gothic Catedral Católica Metropolitana de Guayaquil:



Tomorrow morning we boarded our 9:16am flight to Baltra Island of the Galapagos!





- At time of posting in Guayaquil, Ecuador, it was 29 °C - Humidity: 63% | Wind Speed: 14km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy


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