When I traveled to Ecuador to visit the Galapagos Islands, my tour coordinator AdventureSmith Explorations arranged my pre- and post-hotel accommodations in Guayaquil. The reason this is a suggested part of the entire package is to ensure a buffer in case there is a delay in the flight into Ecuador so that visitors can make the flight from Guayaquil to the islands.
I decided to arrive another day earlier so that I could explore the city. As it turned out, except for lunch, I never left the hotel!
As soon as I exited passport control and customs, I was greeted by a uniformed gentleman from the hotel.
After getting to the hotel van, it only took about 10 minutes for him to make the drive to Hotel Oro Verde Guayaquil. Centrally located in Guayaquil, the 5-star hotel is located minutes from Centennial Park and close to Presley Norton Museum and Central Market — all on my list to explore the following day.
I was immediately impressed with the spacious lobby, friendly staff who all spoke perfect English, and the bellman who took me to my room. On our way to the elevators, we walked past a few shops as well as a gallery of modern art. If I could have easily gotten one home, I would have seriously considered purchasing it. They were all for sale.
My suite was very large, bright, modern, and welcoming. In the living room were a table and chairs, sofa and easy chairs, a large flat-screen television, and a desk. Just the kind of place I was more than happy to stay in for a few days.
The next morning after a delicious buffet breakfast, I headed out into the city. Walking along the busy streets, it didn’t take me long to figure out that as much as this city has to offer, I wanted to return to the comfort of the hotel to enjoy my surroundings and get some work done. I always have articles to write, social media to catch up on, and photos to edit. Having just returned from Finland, I decided to work on the articles.
With excellent Wi-Fi and a great desk with a comfortable office chair, the hours sped by as I worked away in the silence. I did head back out for lunch and to stock up on a few bottles of Diet Coke before going back to the room.
Later in the day I decided to check out a gift shop in the corridor I passed the first day I arrived. Let me just say, this is one of the nicest gift shops I have ever visited in a hotel. Filled with Ecuadorian-made gifts, jewelry, art, and textiles, the small space was filled with lovely treasures.
As I looked, the sales clerk came over and explained how the beautifully-detailed little white carvings are made.
“It’s called poor man’s ivory, and it’s actually the nut from a particular type of palm tree,” she explained as she handed me a small card that explained it in more detail.
The palm nut, or tagua, contains a large amount of fruit that solidifies under the heat of the sun. It is then polished and carved by hand, making each piece a one-of-a-kind work of art. Jewelry and key chains are also made from tagua. Items start at only a few dollars. Many of the little sculptures were under $5. I bought several as gifts and three for myself along with bracelets, a necklace, earrings, and keychains.
In the evenings I ordered room service and was quite content in my little sanctuary for two days. On the third morning the hotel transport whisked me off to the airport for my flight to the Galapagos Islands.
I usually don't get to enjoy my accommodations when I travel because I am out touring. This time, however, I made the right decision to stay in, work, and yes, relax a little.
If you stay:
Rooms start at just over $100 a night; amazing for a 5-star hotel. There is a full-service spa, health club, outdoor pool, and sauna.
There are five restaurants and a café as well as 24-hour room service, a lounge, and a poolside bar.
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