The Easy Way to Tour South America Lazy dad, hyper mum, four kids (one in nappies) tour South America for 6 months

The Easy Way to Tour South America
A day was too long in Guayaquil
Guayaquil from our hostel

Guayaquil from our hostel

Flying in over Quito, we wondered whether we’d made a mistake not to stop here. The view of the city nestling in the Andes on multiple levels, and the sudden dramatic drop from one to the next made us wish we’d scheduled a few days here. There are places that are best viewed from the air rather than from inside, but for a while at least, we’re not going to know whether Quito is one of those.

I do know, however, that our first overnight city in Ecuador, Guayaquil, is a place that won’t feature on our list of top 500 places we’ve visited on this trip. When supermarket shopkeepers are handing you cereal packets through iron grille bars because they are worried about violence, you know you’re best off moving along. And when the young man who serves your burger in McDonald’s (sad to admit, we went in here for our second one this trip) is called Stalin, you do also begin to question local parenting. The hostel we stayed in though, Hostal Iguanazu, was a good one with great views over an unattractive city.

The flight from Guayaquil to Baltra on the Galapagos islands ended with a landing on a small strip with what looked like outhouses alongside serving as an airport. We were caught out by the $100 per adult ($50 per child) cash only, no ATM, entry tax to the Galapagos. They held onto the passports of those of us we couldn’t pay for there and then (which after a nervous weekend, we got back in the town we were staying in once we’d paid the tax). A brief ferry ride across to Santa Cruz, a drive down the straightest stretch of road I’ve ever seen, and we arrived at Puerto Ayora, the port town where we would be based for the next few days.

The Galapagos are an astounding set of islands. Uninhabited by people before the Spaniards, they serve as a case study in how we are able to both destroy indigenous animal and planet species, as well as how we can gradually try to right some of those disasters.

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