My first stop in Ecuador was Guayaquil, I had heard that it wasn’t worth going there and that it was really dangerous but I actually thought it was a really nice city. I hadn’t really planned any of my trip, I just had a hit-list of places I wanted to see which meant that I had nowhere to stay in Guayaquil. I walked around with my backpack in the heat wandering from hostel to hostel completely shocked by the prices they were quoting me. Simple rooms were anywhere between $50 to $150 and the cheapest dorm I could find was $20 and it was horrible. As I walked around I saw a cute looking place called Manso Boutique Hostel and it was the one. They had dorm space and it was right on the malecon and very chic so that was to be my home for the night.
I walked down the Malecon and then went to explore the markets, the markets didn’t feel very safe, I could feel a lot of eyes on me and decided not to go to deep inside. I headed back to the hostel after a few hours and I met a girl who had just moved into my dorm. We went for dinner and then decided to walk up the malecon to the lighthouse in Cerro Santa Ana.
We took the 444 stairs up and through Santa Ana, I found the juxtaposition of this place crazy but something that I was growing accustomed to. The rich and poor divide is very apparent in South America and this was a perfect example of how one small hill was inhabited by two different worlds. It was actually a slum that had been transformed into a prime tourist location with bars and souvenir shops located at every level. On the other side of the hill lived many people in what was still a slum, a place so dangerous taxi drivers refused to take you there but only a few hundred metres away. The views of Guayaquil were breathtaking and I enjoyed snapping away for a while. Then we headed back and heard some live music so popped into a bar to watch.
The next day I went to see the famous Cathedral, it was very ornate and grand and outside was a park where HUGE land iguanas roamed freely! I wandered around and came to a park, somebody came and warned me to hide my SLR, all kinds of shady characters sat around me on benches. I thought I should head back and so made my way to the main street, I loved taking pictures of all the colonial buildings. Guayaquil was very Americanised, it had a lot of franchises and I saw a lot of tourists. I found it very expensive and had seen everything I wanted to see so I went back to the hostel to plan my next location. I had decided on Cuenca!