Iguanas of Guayaquil

Ecuador travelogue: Chapter 8 | Read other chaptersSee photo gallery

Guayaquil is the biggest city in Ecuador and is located on the the western bank of river Guayas as it meets the Pacific ocean. Having spent the past three weeks in Andean highlands, the moment my bus from Cuenca descended from the mountains into the coastal belt, the scenery changed from eucalyptus trees to palm trees and people shed their alpaca jackets in favour of loose cotton tshirts. I was going to be in Guayaquil for about 24 hours which, as most people told me, was more than enough to see the main attractions.

↑ Iguanas have habited the Simon Bolivar plaza of downtown Guayaquil for generations. Very friendly and virtually domesticated, these lizards are one of the top attractions of the city.

Over the last decade, Guayaquil’s progressive city council has transformed the once crime ridden industrial town into a vibrant city with parks, museums, plazas and tourist friendly locations such as the historic downtown, the waterfront promenade called Malecon 2000 and the colourful neighbourhood of Las Peñas.


I stayed at Hostel Dreamkapture which is located in a northern suburb of Guayaquil. Owned and run by US American, Canadaian and Ecuadorean folks, Dreamkapture has a distinctly backpacker character and a friendly vibe. Along with features such as wireless internet, desktop computers, guest kitchen, entertainment room, hammocks and a small pool, the hostel has uber-essential fans or ACs in each room. I had not appreciated the need for these gadgets until I came to Guayaquil and I am so glad my room had AC. Breakfast is simple and is served in the cafe on the second floor.

↑ Nicely kept and clean interiors. There are numerous dream catchers hanging at the windows.

Although downtown is a logical area to stay if you want to see the attractions, this hostel has the advantage of being located ten minutes from the bus station and the airport. A taxi cost me $3 from the bus station and to go to the airport I flagged one down on the street, also for $3. There is one city bus route that goes directly to downtown ($0.25), passing through various neighbourhoods and commercial areas in a hot and sweaty 40-minutes long journey. I took this bus earlier in the day, checked out all downtown attractions, and returned at night.

The staff is very friendly and they helped answer all my questions, including some odd ones such as where I could find Inka Kola, the Peruvian soft drink. Dreamkapture actively volunteers in the community to help local families in need, and also assists the operation of an animal rescue organisation (there were numerous rescued birds here.) Overall, a good karma place and definitely a thumbs up.

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Note: While my stay was provided by the hostel, I was completely free to write about my experiences (good or bad). I would never write about something that I didn’t believe in.