Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ecuador: Cuenca and Guayaquil

It was glorious to just let ourselves wake up naturally the morning of July 29th after the rude awakening the morning before :-)!
Our hotel had a great breakfast (omelets made to order) and then we headed out with Marco to explore Cuenca. It was raining earlier in the morning but cleared up just in time for us to walk around and as a result the streets were pretty empty. We walked around and saw some of the many pretty churches and also went to check out Barrancos Panama Hats. I was skeptical and thought it would be mostly a tourist trap where we would be hassled to buy hats but it was surprisingly interesting and we were not bothered to make a purchase at all...which made me want to buy one haha! If I thought I would ever wear it I would definitely have picked one out. We found a cute one for Preston but he said he wouldn't want to wear it :-(.
When we left Cuenca later in the morning for Guayaquil we went on a beautiful drive. We went through El Cajas National Parque which had the most unique landscape! It was FREEZING and we were not properly dressed but we were going to make the kids do a short hike anyway to get to the best lookout point until fog rolled in and blocked the views so we ran back to the car to get warm. We drove back down through the cloud forest, literally driving through clouds which was quite an experience, and then ended up back at sea level where it was hot and humid in Guayaquil.
Guayaquil was our least favorite city for sure. Just a huge city with no real charm and where everyone kept telling us to watch our things and be on guard which had me nervous (although it actually seemed fine while we were there). We had lunch in a yummy seafood restaurant Marco took us to (Marrecife Marisqueria) and then he had the brilliant idea to take us to the Parque Historico Guayaquil. The kids were getting stir crazy and this was a perfect stop for them! They were able to have freedom to walk around and explore the park and see all the rehabilitating wild life. We saw our first turtles and iguanas of the trip, a great warm-up for the next day when we headed to the Galapagos. There was even a little playground and ice cream which we managed to squeeze in before being kicked off the property because they were closing. We were sure to make a stop at the malecon (boardwalk) but we were all ready to relax so after a quick walk and some pictures we headed back to the hotel, Hostal Macaw, to prepare for the next day and get some rest!
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these were from breakfast at the hotel that morning, but I'm too lazy to reorder them now...
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this is the one we wanted Preston to wear!
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we stopped at this market to get Mike socks
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spot the llama!
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driving into the clouds
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Guayaquil
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the first iguana of the trip so we were overly excited ;-)!
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