Celebrating Independence day and Dia de la Raza (Guayaquil)

The parade had already started, when we came to the center of Guayaquil

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Later the floats of beautiful decorated vehicles game

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Guayaquil is hot, noisy and chaotic with a population of 2.4 million people. The headlight was not the parade, but the Parque Bolivar Area were land iguanas live downtown.

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There was a fence to keep to people away from the iguanas, but the iguanas just walk wherever they want. They are really easy to touch.

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More and more people gathered in the downtown, so we decided to walk to the mangrove-covered Santay Island which is located a few kilometers south of downtown. We got hungry on the way, and stopped for lunch at a local place.

Some kind of fish soup, and off course Esben had to taste the homemade hot sauce – Super delicious

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To get to the island we walked across a 840 meters long vehicle-free bridge – it is beautiful and worth a visit

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The island has an area of 2.179 hectares where 56 families inhabit (210 people approximately), distributed in Ecoaldeas (the eco-village in the left picture). In October 2000 the island was declared wetland of Ecuador, and since February 20, 2010, the Island became a Protected Area and is part of the National System of Protected Areas as a National Recreational Area.

In 1940, the Island stood out for its rice and cattle production. From the middays of 1990, the Ecological Committee of the Coast, environmental non-governmental organization of Guayaquil, carried out an organizational strengthening project together with the community that allowed, among several achievements, the establishment of the Original Settlers Association called “San Jacinto de Santay”, the construction of a Community Center and a school. The Island was not only recognized locally, regionally and nationally, but for its ecological characteristics and for the dedication of the population to the conservation, it was recognized internationally as a Ramsar place, award that highlights the importance of these ecosystems as fundamental for global conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity (Source: http://www.guayaquilesmidestino.com/en/nature/out-of-guayaquil/Santay-Island-National-Recreational-Area).

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One of the main attractions is the new crocodile station, that has 12 crocodiles of approximately 6 meters in length and 200 pounds of weight, which were brought from the Esmeraldas province. The area that is located next to the Eco-village, is a large natural lagoon that provides safety to the visitor, since it has a peripheral closing with wood slats and triple galvanized mesh. The habitat is divided in two sectors, one for the females and the other for the only male of the station. The Island is also home to 85 bird species, 12 reptiles like the boa and the iguana; mammals like the raccoon, the anteater bear and the bat. Catfish, sea bass, tilapias, which are used for consumption and sale, form the aquatic fauna.

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We left the island by boat and sailed back to Guayaquil, while the locals islanders were preparing their boat. The Santay Island and the local work is a big contrast to the life in Guayaquil.

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Fresh made nitrogen passion fruit ice cream

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Now it is time to hit the road. We have 5000 km a head of us. Follow the next post to see if we are gonna make to trip all the way to Santiago de Chile in just 10-12 days.

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