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Portoviejo, Ecuador - Best Thing To See Is The Botanical Gardens

Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman - May 2010 July 2012   » View Photoset (33 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
At sometime late at night around midnight I turned up in Portoviejo after traveling all day since the morning from Piura in Peru
Ecuador Photo - Church with dome and statue in Portoviejo.
Church with dome and statue in Portoviejo.
up the coast through Tumbes and into Ecuador passing through Guayaquil. This was my second time in Ecuador. Portoviejo is not in the Lonely Planet and it was easy to see why. But I have good friends here that I wanted to visit.

Find a Hotel

I had no idea where I was going to stay that night. A pair of local women were waiting to be picked up by a brother and offered to give me a ride to find a place to sleep for the night which I gladly accepted. There was very little to choose from in the center of the city. The first hotel I
Ecuador Photo - Lots of yummy fruit sold from the back of a ute in Portoviejo.
Lots of yummy fruit sold from the back of a ute in Portoviejo.
tried wanted to charge me $18USD, so I tried another and there was a room available at about half that price.

First Impressions

After a good nights sleep I awoke to the sound of a busy street outside. From the balcony I could see a lot of powerlines and an unattractive street below. I decided that I wanted to change to another hotel for the next night. I found a cheaper one around the corner, the room was pretty dingy but was only $6USD per night.

Walking in the City

My friend came to greet me and we went out walking around the city. We came to a plaza and church with 2 towers with yellow domes at the top, one is a bell tower. We walked along a busy street toward
Ecuador Photo - The pond area at Jardin Botanico in Portoviejo.
The pond area at Jardin Botanico in Portoviejo.
the stadium that had several statues and monuments in the middle. The center of the city is very busy and very noisy, the sound of vehicles is a constant problem. There are markets, fruit stalls, clothing and people walking around selling lottery tickets and random things like tv remote controls. People ride around on trolley bicycles which can carry goods and produce on them. There are powerlines running in all directions above the streets attached to buildings of various colors.

3rd Hotel

The next morning I was awoken by the busy streets below from the vehicles and horns and decided to find a place to stay that was not in the center of town, which was not easy. In the end I opted for
Ecuador Photo - Looks like President Kennedy but I doubt it is, bust in Portoviejo.
Looks like President Kennedy but I doubt it is, bust in Portoviejo.
a room inside a rent by the hour hotel that was very near to my friends house and across the road from the stadium called Estadio Reales Tamarindos and near to one of the universities. This was the best option I could find around the area but it was a clean hotel and the constant stream of guests day and night didn't bother me.

The Botanical Gardens

You can't escape the fact that in Portoviejo there is a lot of concrete and it is very noisy. There is not that much to do here but a good place to escape the noise is to visit the Botanical Gardens which has some animals, plantlife, flowers and ponds. As my friend and I walked along the hot and busy street towards the Jardin Botanico we passed a group of youth playing basketball on an outside court. Along a wall on one side of the court was graffiti of the face of Che
Ecuador Photo - Waterfalls at Jardin Botanico in Portoviejo.
Waterfalls at Jardin Botanico in Portoviejo.
Guevara. The fence leading up to the gardens has nice flowers of red growing along it. It was great to get away from the road as we entered and walked up the grassy pathway and under an interesting tree that had pear shaped things hanging from it but they were brown in color. We came next to a nice pond area that had trees and ferns growing all around and a wooden bridge and waterfall. Nearby we passed a garden of small plants all perched on logs of wood. A large iguana sat in a tree above us. We then came to a special area for the animals, this area also had amazing fauna and a small pond of turtles sitting on rocks. There was some kind of spider monkey that
Ecuador Photo - Lots of nice fauna beside the pond at the Botanical Gardens in Portoviejo.
Lots of nice fauna beside the pond at the Botanical Gardens in Portoviejo.
had a lot of character as well as a very funny bird that was very intent on peaking my camera as a I tried to take photos of it. We also saw a raccoon or badger of some type and a happy pair of green parrots, some ducks and other birds. Later as we sat around the main pond near the bamboo we noticed in the water the nose and eyes of an alligator. Nearby was a group of tiny baby alligators. Around the pond are beautiful fan shaped ferns overhanging the water, palm trees and colorful flowers. There is an open green grassy area near the pond where we saw a pair of very large iguanas moving slowly across the lawn. This day was a great experience.

Nightlife and Pickpocket

I spent another 3 days in Portoviejo for a total of about 6 nights experiencing some of the weekend nightlife with a group of friends at a nightclub
Ecuador Photo - A busy central street in Portoviejo.
A busy central street in Portoviejo.
where we danced and drank shots. Later we were at an outside eating place sitting at bar stools eating rice with chicken when I felt someone flicking their finger in my back pocket. I was enjoying my food and after a few times I realised what was going on and turned around and had a few words with the guy standing behind me. All the people I met through my friend in the city made it a great stay. They took me to their university a couple evenings and I sat in on class for a while on one occasion. After nearly a week in Portoviejo I was ready to leave and go to much greener pastures.

Bus to Banos via Ambato

I wanted to go to Banos. In the evening after eating at a great Chinese restaurant I caught a bus through the night through Ambato where I changed buses somewhere around 5am in the wet and cold bus terminal and travelled to Banos as the sun came up.

     

View all photos in the Portoviejo Photoset


Itineraries / Routes: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008



Distances & times (if available) from Portoviejo (Ecuador) to:


Map location: Portoviejo, Ecuador. Portoviejo, it's old (viejo), it's not terribly attractive apart from the Botanical Gardens.
 A : Manta - Tarqui Beach - Ecuador 24 kms 24 kms straight distance | 48mins 48mins by car (34 kms) | 57mins 57mins by bus (34 kms) (34 kms)
 B : Puerto Lopez - Ecuador 64 kms 64 kms straight distance | 1hr 52mins 1hr 52mins by car (102 kms) | 2hrs 14mins 2hrs 14mins by bus (102 kms) (102 kms)
 C : Guayaquil - Ecuador 131 kms 131 kms straight distance | 3hrs 28mins 3hrs 28mins by car (202 kms) | 4hrs 9mins 4hrs 9mins by bus (202 kms) (202 kms)
 D : Quilotoa Lagoon - Ecuador 178 kms 178 kms straight distance | 5hrs 50mins 5hrs 50mins by car (285 kms) | 7hrs 7hrs by bus (285 kms) (285 kms)
 E : Guaranda - Ecuador 180 kms 180 kms straight distance | 5hrs 38mins 5hrs 38mins by car (316 kms) | 6hrs 45mins 6hrs 45mins by bus (316 kms) (316 kms)
 F : Pujili - Ecuador 203 kms 203 kms straight distance | 6hrs 22mins 6hrs 22mins by car (319 kms) | 7hrs 38mins 7hrs 38mins by bus (319 kms) (319 kms)
 G : Mindo - Ecuador 224 kms 224 kms straight distance | 5hrs 36mins 5hrs 36mins by car (326 kms) | 6hrs 43mins 6hrs 43mins by bus (326 kms) (326 kms)
 H : Latacunga - Ecuador 214 kms 214 kms straight distance | 6hrs 40mins 6hrs 40mins by car (331 kms) | 8hrs 8hrs by bus (331 kms) (331 kms)
 I : Machachi - Ecuador 224 kms 224 kms straight distance | 6hrs 11mins 6hrs 11mins by car (343 kms) | 7hrs 25mins 7hrs 25mins by bus (343 kms) (343 kms)
 J : Huaquillas to Machala - Ecuador 252 kms 252 kms straight distance | 5hrs 51mins 5hrs 51mins by car (366 kms) | 7hrs 1min 7hrs 1min by bus (366 kms) (366 kms)
 K : Ambato - Ecuador 210 kms 210 kms straight distance | 7hrs 22mins 7hrs 22mins by car (372 kms) | 8hrs 50mins 8hrs 50mins by bus (372 kms) (372 kms)
 L : Alausi - Ecuador 226 kms 226 kms straight distance | 6hrs 16mins 6hrs 16mins by car (377 kms) | 7hrs 31mins 7hrs 31mins by bus (377 kms) (377 kms)
 M : Saquisili - Ecuador 205 kms 205 kms straight distance | 6hrs 54mins 6hrs 54mins by car (394 kms) | 8hrs 16mins 8hrs 16mins by bus (394 kms) (394 kms)
 N : Riobamba & Colta Lagoon - Ecuador 216 kms 216 kms straight distance | 6hrs 45mins 6hrs 45mins by car (404 kms) | 8hrs 6mins 8hrs 6mins by bus (404 kms) (404 kms)
 O : Banos - Ecuador 236 kms 236 kms straight distance | 7hrs 51mins 7hrs 51mins by car (407 kms) | 9hrs 25mins 9hrs 25mins by bus (407 kms) (407 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Portoviejo, Ecuador:

Hostal Don Gregorio, Portoviejo, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hostal Don Gregorio, Portoviejo, Ecuador (October 2018 - 2 nights) - $6 per person for a bed in a room with shared bathroom. The hostel is located opposite the cathedral in Portoviejo, a convenient location for food and the market area. I normally like private bathrooms and this was the only place I stayed at on this trip that didn't have one, but it was fine for a couple of nights and cheap too.
Hotel San Marco, Portoviejo, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hotel San Marco, Portoviejo, Ecuador (May 2010 - 1 night) - A room on the 2nd floor with small balcony, it had a basic bathroom, the bed was not great. It is on a busy and noisy street in the center of the city.
Hotel Victoria, Portoviejo, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hotel Victoria, Portoviejo, Ecuador (May 2010 - 1 night, Jul 2012 - 3 nights) - One of the worst hotels I ever stayed in and so noisy that I needed earplugs. It was very cheap at $5USD per night but was just so bad I had to leave after 1 night. I must be a sucker for punishment because I stayed here again in 2012 for 3 nights, pretty nasty, pretty cheap.
Patricio's Hospedaje, Portoviejo, Ecuador - Large Photo
Patricio's Hospedaje, Portoviejo, Ecuador (May 2010 - 4 nights) - Out of the very center of the city beside the soccer stadium, this is the best I could do in Portoviejo, a rent by the hour hotel, although my room was not a room used for those purposes, it was a single bed room. I actually enjoyed my stay here, the place is clean and the staff are friendly. I had my own room with bathroom and tv.

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