Day 5 |
Mar 20, 2012

Guayaquil, Ecuador 

By Patricia Silva, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 02°16’43”S, 79°54’42”W
Weather: Overcast and warm, with light westerly winds
Air Temperature: 32°C
Wind speed: 15 km/h
Pressure: 1006 hPa

I made a quick stop in the Observatory Lounge to grab a cup of coffee before breakfast was served, and walked a little on the outer deck in the pleasant morning. Many birds were around by the time the Silver Explorer was entering the mouth of Guayas River south of Guayaquil city. Around eight in the morning I realized we slowed down to receive the Ecuadorian pilot aboard since a pilot is required to sail in the shallow and tricky water of the Guayas river.

At 10:00 hours Marco Favero offered an interesting lecture on fisheries management and sustainability that gave us a general picture of how well fisheries are doing in the waters we are sailing through. As soon as he finished I rapidly went to the Panorama Lounge to see the wine tasting offered to the guests by the Head Sommelier Kire. It was a very interesting experience indeed.

By lunch time, the Silver Explorer arrived at Guayaquil harbor and we waited for the local authorities to clear the vessel and drive into town for the afternoon city tour planned. Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador, holding some 3,000,000 inhabitants. The city is the commercial capital of the country (although Quito is the political capital) since its port handle about 80% of the country’s imports and more than 60% of the exports.

After driving 45 minutes from the port we arrived in downtown Guayaquil via the main 9 de Octubre (after the independence day) avenue, a quick stop in the Parque Centenario with the Monument to Freedom. Soon after, we arrived at our first stop at one end of the Centro Cultural Simón Bolivar where the very interesting anthropological museum was waiting for us. I was impressed by the quality of the show including artifacts and sculptures from a range of cultures including “Las Vegas” and the ancient “Valdivia” culture.

From the museum we quickly moved by bus to the 100-year-old “Plaza de las Iguanas” and the Cathedral located just across the street. The original Cathedral was built in 1547 but completely destroyed by the huge fire in 1896 that affected most of the town. The current cathedral was built in classical gothic style in the year 1948. Plaza de las Iguanas was, of course, polulated by large number of iguanas that offered a funny attraction, with many iguanas feeding on the ground or resting on the trees. Our guests certainly took many photos of those iguanas!

As soon as we finished in the central plaza, we moved to the “Malecón” waterfront running along the Guayas River where we saw an in an historical pillar of the town and an important part of Guayaquilean life. Although the original “Malecón” was built in 1924-28 in an Italian renaissance style, the new one, built in the year 2000, has a modern style as a part of the city regeneration program. We had time to walk around a bit and stop for a quick shopping opportunity in the “Mercado de Artesanos”.

Around 17:30 I thought it would be a good idea to head back to the vessel since the traffic today wasn’t the best at all… a permanent rush hour. Arriving back to the Silver Explorer I had just enough time to get ready for an onboard music and dance performance by a local group that Silversea had organized as the last activity of this wonderful, busy day in Guayaquil.