I have to admit that I had never even heard of Guayaquil before I flew to Ecuador. And I don’t know if I would’ve gone there had I not started my trip to the Galápagos Islands in Guayaquil, from where several flights a day leave for Baltra Island in the Galápagos.
When I did do some research about the city, I found a few sights that sounded like they were worth visiting mentioned in travel guides, and I decided that Guayaquil sounded interesting enough to spend a few days after my cruise.
However, the city didn’t make it easy for me to love it. It didn’t wow me with its architecture, and it wasn’t particularly charming. It was rainy and cloudy during my stay, and even though I spent five days in town, I never found a place to eat that I truly loved.
I had read about a park in the city center that supposedly was filled with iguanas, and even though I’d seen plenty of iguanas in the Galápagos Islands, I wasn’t tired of them yet, and I was excited to check out the park and see if it was indeed filled with iguanas.
The guide book had not lied: there were dozens of iguanas hanging out everywhere in the small park, with people touching them as if they were fluffy little bunnies instead of leathery reptiles.
I was amazed how gentle they were and seemingly unafraid of people – almost like their distant relatives out in the Galapagos Islands. A lady had a stash of ‘iguana food’ on one of the benches – basically just lettuce cut into small pieces – which she was selling. I invested 50 cents in a bag of lettuce and within minutes I was surrounded by hungry iguanas of all shapes and sizes. That afternoon ended up being my fondest memory of Guayaquil.