After a few days dedicated to cataloguing and preparing the previous posts, Helen’s ninety-day Peru visa was up and we headed north to the border without time to spare. Our destination was Ecuador’s most populous city: the infamously dangerous Guayaquil. Our journey wasn’t without incident: due to some technicalities with Ecuadorian immigration, Helen was only granted an eight-day visa meaning that our time around the equator would be more of a flying visit.
Guayaquil’s notoriety was perhaps a little unfair, as over the last decade or so, areas of the city have undergone major renovations to increase safety. Although a lot of our time was still being spent in our hostel sorting out the jungle blog post, we visited the Malecón 2000, the redeveloped riverfront promenade. With this new image came a horde of security guards who looked on as we wandered past attractions and monuments, our favourite being the botanical gardens, taking in the evening sun.
Continuing our whistle stop tour of Ecuador, our second visit was the Andean town of Cuenca. We decided to go for a different approach here, taking the tourist bus up to the viewpoint (the cheapest option). We enjoyed our first sightseeing bus experience, even if it’s not quite how we would normally do things, especially for some of the more unique views that it gave us.
Cuenca itself was a particularly fine example of colonial architecture, with many beautifully restored facades and great stoneworking. We also visited the flower market, which, according to National Geographic is the best in the world. It seemed a little on the small side to me, but there was no denying that the bouquets were lovely.