Golfo Dulce to Guayaquil
8 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Golfo Dulce
Wild, scenic and incredibly bio-diverse, Golfo Dulce is not on most tourists itineraries. The name, says it all, Golfo Dulce or sweet gulf, in English. After a well justified visit to the Golfo Dulce, located in the South Pacific region of Costa Rica, and adjacent to the Osa Peninsula, visitors will be delighted and perplexed, wondering why they would ever leave this wonderland. Several coastal hamlets reside along this enchanting gulf, namely Puerto Jiménez, Golfito, Zancudo and Pavones, as well as the Piedras Blancas National Park. This is one stop on the itinerary that won’t soon be forgotten. Easily one of the wettest and most humid sections in the country, Golfo Dulce and the southwest can receive more than 200 inches (500 cm) of rainfall per year. This assures the surrounding area will be thriving with wild and plant life, perfect for aspiring adventurers.
Surrounded by Corcovado National Park to the southwest, and Costa Rica’s mainland to the northeast, Golfo Dulce serves up a large platter of entertainment for all who visit. Sprouting along the edges of the Golfo Dulce are mangroves and estuaries full of wildlife. Explore these ecosystems crowded with crocodiles, river otters, waterfowl, monkeys and much more. Fed by the Coto Colorado River, the Coto River Swamps are an excellent choice for discovering these uncanny wetlands and the secrets that lay within.
Day 2 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 3 Isla del Coco
Cocos Island (Isla del Coco in Spanish) is an uninhabited island located off the shore of Costa Rica. It is a National & Marine Park and UNESCO World Heritage site and is surrounded by deep waters with counter-currents, offering excellent environments for many different species of fish. The beauty of Cocos has inspired tales of pirate treasure and the island was one of Jacques Cousteau’s favorite places. Seabirds also favor Isla del Coco including Brown boobies, Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds. The three endemic land bird species call the island home; the Cocos Cuckoo, Cocos flycatcher, and Cocos finch.
Days 4-5 Days At Sea
Day 6 Isla de la Plata
Isla de la Plata translates to ‘Island of Silver’, and the name was derived from the legend of swashbuckling pirate Sir Francis Drake’s buried silver treasure. The popular legend states that in the 16th century, hundreds of tons of silver and gold were never fully recovered and are still hidden on the island. The island was privately owned until 1979, when it was declared part of Ecuador’s Machalilla National Park. Best known for its fauna, which is amazingly similar to that of the Galapagos Islands, Isla de la Plata is a delightful place for birding, photography and long nature walks. Although just south of the equator, the influences of the colder Humboldt Current bring nutrient-rich water as far north as Isla de la Plata.
Day 7 Machala
Several National Sanctuaries and Ecological Reserves found near Machala boast sun-drenched beaches and mangrove forests. Pelicans, frigatebirds, and egrets nest nearby as Blue-footed Boobies dive for fish further out to sea. Whales and dolphins can occasionally be seen in the vicinity. Machala, with a population of approximately 250,000 inhabitants, is moreover known for traditional Latin American foods from shrimp ceviche to fried bananas. In fact, bananas feature heavily in the culture as the city is also known as the “Capital of the Banana.” During the third week of September the ‘World Fair of the Banana’ is held here and producers and buyers from Perú, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, México, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Guatemala, Panamá, República Dominicana, El Salvado, Honduras and Ecuador attend the event.
Day 8 Guayaquil
The second major jumping off point for the Galapagos Islands after Quito, this is a little city with a big heart. A sea port first and foremost, the city’s personality has been founded on that, and all the better it is for it too. Almost Caribbean in feeling, the clement climate coupled with the intermingling rhythms floating from the windows and abundance of fresh seafood make this a very tropical destination. Once not even considered by the travel books as a potential destination in its own right, the city has undergone something of a resurgence in the past few years. Proud Guayaquileños will not hestitate to point out the Malecón or the exciting new riverfront promenade, once a no-go area after dark, now happily (and hippily) lined with museums, restaurants, shops, and ongoing entertainment. The new airport and urban transportation network are also lauded to the happy tourists who find themselves here.
As the largest and most populous city in Ecuador as well as being the commercial centre, it would only be natural that the city would have some kind of modern architecture, but it is the colourful favelas, or to use their real name guasmos, that cling to the side of the hillside like limpets that really catch your eye. A blend of old and new, the first inhabitants can be traced back to 1948 when the government cleared the area for affordable housing, these shanty towns are witness to the social and political particularities that Guayaquil has faced in the past.
All This Included
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Explorer
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