• Updated : 2020.9.25 금 09:44
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All You Need Is Ecuador
Cinthya Torres 경영전문대학원 석사과정  |  tribune1968@cnumedia.com
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승인 2020.09.11  16:28:16
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

   
▲ The flag of Guayaquil on top of Santa Ana hill with a church and the city visible in the background

    I have been living away from my home country for a few years now. There are many things I obviously miss from time to time. I was especially excited to go back to Ecuador last summer because it was the first time I was going back home with a person who was visiting from another country. Although most world travelers enjoy going to new places alone without any connections whatsoever, it is always nice to visit a foreign country where you know someone who can show you around. I experienced this when I visited my cousin living in a small town called St. Ignace, Michigan in the United States. This was an amazing experience for me and I appreciated the people who showed me some wonderful places in the states. You get the chance to feel like a local and explore not just the tourist attractions but also experience what the locals do when tourists are not around. After my experience in the states with my cousin, I was looking forward to being a tour guide for a non-local in my lovely country.

Adventure to Ecuador
    My adventure back to Ecuador started at the beginning of last August. We arrived in my hometown of Guayaquil which is about an eight hour bus ride from the capital city of Quito. When I tell Koreans that I am from Ecuador, most respond knowing about the capital or the Galapagos Islands. I have yet to meet someone in Korea who has heard of Guayaquil. Even though the country is small and we do not have four seasons like Korea, the weather can change quickly depending on where you are going in the country. Quito is close to the Andean foothills in the northern part of the country so it sits at an elevation of 2,850m. However, my hometown is located in the southern part of the country stretching along the Guayas River. You can imagine the difference in climate between these two cities.
    I decided to take my boyfriend who is from the United States on a trip from Guayaquil to Quito with a nice stop along the way. I wanted to introduce him to my family in both cities while also giving him a perspective of how diverse the country can be not only in terms of topography but also the people.

   
▲ The Virgin of Quito standing on top of El Panecillo hill in Quito

Puerto Lopez and Guayaquil
    Before we took the long journey to Quito, we explored the beaches and coastline closer to Guayaquil. We visited a beautiful beach town called Puerto Lopez. We were lucky enough to go to this beach town during peak whale watching season. After hanging out on the beach drinking Pilsener (Ecuadorian beer) and enjoying some Ceviche and Patacones (Ecuadorian food), we explored the coastlines searching for whales in a fleet of small boats. I would recommend any world traveler to make a stop in Puerto Lopez if one ever gets the chance to travel to Ecuador.
    Between weekend trips to other places, we had plenty to do in Guayaquil. We explored most of the city in the little time we had. It is the biggest city in Ecuador so you can imagine it is quite vibrant with plenty of things to do. As a first time tour guide, I made sure to visit all of the interesting sites such as Malecon 2000, The Centennial Park, and The Guayaquil Historical Park. Malecon 2000 is located downtown along the Guayas River. Here you can experience historical monuments of the city, popular restaurants and bars, and boat rides on the river.
    The Malecon 2000 is a boardwalk that ends at Las Penas which is an older neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city. This neighborhood is known for its 400 year old houses that have been converted into art galleries. It’s a beautiful place to go at night to experience the nightlife that Guayaquil has to offer. The Centennial Park is a place downtown where you can see, feed, and take pictures with the friendly iguanas that call this place home located next to one of the busiest streets in the city. Lastly in Guayaquil, the Historical Park is a great place to spend the day exploring the zoo and the historical houses which give you an idea of how people lived in Guayaquil in the past. There is so much to see and do in the city, but these are just some of the places we visited to give him an idea of the city.

   
▲ Cinthya and her boyfriend at the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo in Quito

Banos and Quito
    For our last trip outside of my hometown, we traveled to Quito to see my relatives, but made an overnight stop in the beautiful mountain town of Banos. Banos is a perfect halfway point between Guayaquil and Quito. In Banos, we took a tourist ride known as “chiva” which is a fun way to travel around listening to music and seeing the sights. We saw beautiful waterfalls up close and were able to take a nice ride on a swing from a treehouse overlooking the landscape of Banos. If you are an extreme sports enthusiast, the cute town of Banos is the place for you. They offer all kinds of extremes activities like bungee jumping and white water rafting. This town is a popular spot for foreigners to visit and explore.
    We finally arrived in Quito after an overnight stay in Banos. My family was very hospitable during the Independence Day holiday weekend. It was also art month so we were able to see the locals dressed in traditional clothing dancing and partying on every street downtown. Being that Ecuador is located on the equator, we decided to visit the center of the earth known as Ciudad Mitad del Mundo. We explored the museums, a brewery, and a place where you can see Guinea pigs which are actually a traditional Ecuadorian delicacy, particularly in indigenous communities. I was excited to have my boyfriend experience a traditional family birthday party with all of my relatives. As I mentioned at the beginning, this kind of experience for a tourist is something that you cannot book with your travel agent. He was able to see how Ecuadorians interact with each other. Ecuadorians are very hospitable and welcoming no matter where you come from. Even with a language barrier, my boyfriend felt like he was part of the family. This trip only lasted a few days but there are so many other things to see and do in Ecuador. We stayed in the country for one month and it still wasn’t enough time to see everything that my wonderful country has to offer. We already have plans to visit other beautiful places around the country on our next trip back.
    I miss my family every day that I am away from Ecuador. Every time I go back to visit, it is a feeling I can’t describe. The people and the culture are something that I hold close to my heart even though I am on the other side of the world. I hope I have given you some good reasons to not only visit Ecuador, but other beautiful countries in South America. In conclusion as our slogan goes, all you need is Ecuador!
 

By Cinthya Torres, Master’s Student, Graduate School of Business

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