Thursday, July 13, 2017

Day 9 (1 July 2017) – Guayaquil, Ecuador to OKC - Adventures by Disney Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Tour (23 Jun – 2 July 2017)

For the first time in over a week since we started our Adventure, we slept in a bit this morning.  We didn't really have any plans and our flight didn't leave until almost 11 pm.  I spent part of the morning working on my blog and researching things to do in Guayaquil.  When Seth and Rhys finally got up, we decided to just have some lunch at the hotel before heading out to do a little sightseeing.  We got packed up, left our suitcases with the bell desk, and went to the hotel cafe where we just had the buffet which featured a lot of traditional Ecuadorian food including empanadas, fried fish, fried plantains, ceviche, etc.  It was quite good but very expensive - the buffet lunch for the 3 of us was over $100.

I had looked it up online and decided that we could climb the 300+ Las Penas steps up the Santa Ana hill then walk the Malecon to the iguana park.  It was all within a few miles of each other so we took a taxi from the hotel to Las Penas. 

A word about the taxis in Guayaquil.  I had also looked into whether Uber was a better option but reviews said that taxis were plentiful and inexpensive which turned out to be very true.  We never paid more than $4-5 for each trip we made.

It took us a little bit to find the steps - we actually went up one way and came down the actual steps.  This part of Guayaquil was really neat - little public areas everywhere.  

We climbed to the top of the hill where there was a light house and a church.  We climbed some more up to the top of the lighthouse - the view was pretty cool.

On the way down the actual steps, we could see that they were numbered.  We also went by a local who was selling crabs out of a bag.  I just had to find out how much the crabs were so I asked another local how much he was selling them for.  They were 5 crabs for $1!! I couldn't believe it.

I wasn't quite sure what the Malecon was - I thought it was a big shopping center but now in retrospect, I think it was just the big public area or "mall" that went right along the river.  It was a nice walk.

We soon got to the iguana park - there were so many of them everywhere and they let us get pretty close to them. People were feeding them banana peels and lettuce.  They were a lot like the lava lizards in that when they got upset or mad, they started doing "push ups".

We walked around for a bit until we found a taxi and took it to the Mall de Sol that we had seen from the bus on the way to the hotel.  We figured there would be someplace to eat in this mall and decided to try the Noe Sushi Bar but it turned out that the restaurant wasn't actually in the mall so we hopped on another taxi to the restaurant.  The sushi was pretty good.

We took one more taxi back to our hotel and then hung out in the lobby as we waited for our ride to the airport.  Lauren met us in the lobby and let us know that our flight was delayed - it would be almost midnight before we would be leaving but everyone decided to go ahead and head for the airport at the appointed time.  This was not a big deal as we were flying business class and had access to the airport lounge where we hung out for a couple of hours.  The flight to Miami was great - the business class seats on this plane were awesome but we arrived into Miami over an hour late and knew that we would miss our connecting flight.  Fortunately, they were able to re-route us through Dallas and we still ended up getting home around the same time.

This was a fantastic trip.  I was dreading the snorkeling but after a few times, I felt much more confident in the water.  I'm so glad that Rhys chose this trip and am most impressed with the conservation of the Galapagos Islands.  There was very little in the way of a time change so no jet lag, the currency and electrical currents were the same as the US which was great.   Our Guides, Lauren and Robby, were really fabulous - just as we've always come to expect from Disney and what makes Adventures by Disney stand out.  We're looking forward to our next Adventure in 2018:  an Adult Exclusive Adventures by Disney trip to China for Seth's 50th birthday.

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