Friday, October 21, 2016

Gringolandia

My last week and a half in Ecuador was split between two cities: Cuenca and Guayaquil. First - Cuenca. 


I got a haircut in Cuenca

Cuenca is beautiful city in the southern part of Ecuador. It’s so pretty that it has attracted a fair number of expats to settle there. There is an especially large number of American retirees. (Brian shared this article outlining the reasons for the large number of retirees in Cuenca.) The good thing about the large American community is that Cuenca is full of creature comforts that I could appreciate after more than a month of traveling in Ecuador. For example, I indulged in a day at the spa.

Piedra de Agua spa - notice the mud baths
Have you ever heard of a steam box? I hadn’t.

One day I took a trip to Ingapirca, which used to be an important stop along the old Inca trail.


This Ecuadorean woman was also a tourist at Ingapirca. Throughout Ecuador it’s not uncommon to see locals dressed in traditional clothing.


They call this rock Face of the Inca. Can you see the face?



On a different day I took a trip to Cajas National Park, which has over 1,000 lakes in the park (how many does Minnesota have again?). Its beauty is almost surreal.



The puya-clava-herculis or Hercules plant

My last three days in Ecuador were spent in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. Guayaquil is pretty much the opposite of Cuenca - near the coast, hot, muggy, and with few tourists (except for a handful who have a layover there on their way to the Galapagos). Hence, not Gringolandia. I splurged on a real hotel in the city center and explored its highlights and also go some extra rest before leaving for Colombia. 

Guayaquil boardwalk
Guayaquil boardwalk

"Iguana Park" in the middle of Guayaquil

"Iguana Park" in the middle of Guayaquil

The top of the hill in the Las Peñas neighborhood

After 1 month and 19 days, it was finally time for me to leave Ecuador. It may be a small country, but there sure is a lot to see. Thanks, Ecuador, for a great trip!

6 comments:

slmcanal said...

All I can say is... amazing. Just AMAZING! You lucky duck 🐤 (There is no duck in he emoticons?!)

patentexaminer said...

Are all of those pictures yours? They are so stunning! You are really mastering the iPhone camera... Such a chic hair cut! Love it. You're so brave for going into that steam box. Did you feel at all claustrophobic? I'm really surprised how beautiful the vistas and towns have been. You're definitely adding to my list of places to visit. Bon voyage! XXOO

Christine Gardner said...

A print of that Hercules plant would make a super nice present from Ecuador for a family member. Just saying

A said...

All I thought was we have a peeping Tom spying on those people taking mud baths! Or, I could just be jealous that you're having such a fun time. I am digging the haircut! What's the back look like? Have you thought about writing a Lonely Planet type book?

Unknown said...

A beautiful country

Julia M. said...

Thanks for comments! Did I mention the haircut was $6? All the pictures are mine; I sometimes struggle with my iPhone 5 (!) because it won't zoom like I want it to :P

@Chris Good idea - prints of my photos for everyone this Christmas! ;)

@patentexaminer The steam box was a little claustrophobic, but I was only in it for 5 mins so that was OK

@A I learned it from you! haha