South America Here I Come

Ecuador--Guayaquil --April 22-26, 2006

My first stop in South America is Ecuador. I have been to Ecuador before but really wanted a chance to visit the Galapagos Islands which are part of Ecuador. After surviving a really long flight (4 flights, 3 airlines, and 45 hours or so of flying) I arrived in Guayaquil. I had called ahead for a room at a midrange hotel to stay a couple of nights and to recover from the flights. What I didn't know was that the hotel has a disco every Saturday night until 3am or so and it felt like they were dancing in my room all night long. I got up early the next morning and found a nice, quiet place to stay for a couple of days.

There is not much to do in Guayaquil. It is just a big city so I got out of there as soon as I could. there was a dance performance going on in the park on Sunday and on Monday I arranged my trip to the Galapagos.

(Click to enlarge)

Cuenca--April 26-30, 2006

My next stop was a city called Cuenca, about a 4 hour bus ride from Guayaquil. The city is a nice place to relax for a few days and would have been better if the weather had cooperated. It rained almost the entire time I was there, but considering I hung out and did some relaxing and catching up on my reading, it was a nice place to be. Cuenca has a nice old city, with cobblestone roads and many churches.

As I always do when I get to a new town, I sought out the markets and found a few different ones. This one is the large fruit and veg market where all the hill tribes and locals come to stock up.

(Click to enlarge)

Trivia Question--Where do they make Panama Hats

If you said in Panama you would be wrong. The home of Panama hat making is in Cuenca, Ecuador. There are a number of different hat makers in the city. I visited the Casa del Sombrero where I had a chance to see how the hats are made. I had a nice chat with the hat maker (80 years old and still making hats) and had a chance to see his workshop, and of course he sold me a genuine Panama hat.

(Click to enlarge)


One more thing you may or may not know about Ecuador is that they use the US Dollar as their official currency. They have for a number of years to prevent the rapid devaluation of their old currency that they were experiencing. And for all you Americans, you might wonder what happened to all the Sacagawea 1 dollar coins they minted back in 2000. Well I am happy to say they are used all the time in Ecuador....

(Click to enlarge)

Select another page || Go to Home Page