By Stephanie Frias
Travelers on an Ecuador trip come with lofty expectations to photograph the Galapagos Islands, one of the most beautiful places in the natural world. Luckily, with today’s smartphone technology, anyone can be a photographer competing with the best images on Instagram.
Travel gurus and photography aficionados are already in-the-know that the Galapagos Islands warrants pause-worthy landscapes. But, the pacific paradise is not the only Ecuador location capable of capturing unforgettable shots.
The city of Guayaquil also stands among the list of the Most Instagrammable spots in South America. So, wipe off the lens and head out to the best places in Guayaquil and Galapagos to take legendary photos (plus, tips on who to tag to get your photo featured on prominent Ecuador Instagram accounts).
This glistening cylinder on the big city waterfront is lovingly referred to as “The Pearl,” which just happens to be the greatest gem in South America. That is, when referring to Ferris wheels; La Perla is the grandest example on the full continent. Reaching some 121 feet high, the circle of light is an icon of the Guayaquil skyline. Capture it by day or by night, when the hue turns all shades of the color spectrum.
Perhaps one of the most impressive cityscapes in South America, Guayaquil’s Historic Park is still one of Ecuador’s best-kept secrets. The true green lungs of the 2.2 million-strong city, the Parque Historic is not only a must-see, but is a must-photograph. Towering tree-lined curbs hem brick streets filled with ancient buildings, including the restored mansion at Hotel del Parque. But, the backdrop resembles nothing of the greater city, boasting a 19-acre backyard brimming over with flowering trees and orchids. A lucky few might even spot the resident sloths, paradisical birds, and butterflies, or even the rare, spectacled caiman.
Ecuador’s southern-city of Guayaquil is the unrefutable gateway to the Galapagos Islands. But, the sprawling city is far more than a landing pad and is indeed among the oldest cities in South America. First founded in 1538, Guayaquil harbors countless historic plazas and churches brimming with photographic opportunities. Metropolitan Cathedral of Guayaquil is one of the most dreamy, offering outstanding perspectives for photography from above, outside and within. The white neo-Gothic cathedral resembles a princess palace of epic proportions.
After pausing for some highly warranted lens time in Guayaquil, sail your way to the intended Instagram destination of the Galapagos Islands. The cluster of Pacific islands is no doubt an endless playground for photographers. From penguins and sea lions to sea turtles, marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies, many shutterbugs will flock to the pristine beaches and aquamarine water for epic ocean life shots. Gardner Bay on Espanola Island is a prime shot for capturing the Galapagos Islands in all their paradisical glory.
For a different perspective of the Galapagos Islands, head over to Bartolomé Island, where it’s possible to capture the underlying allure of the volcanic archipelagos. The tiny inlet offers the most startling landscapes of the Galapagos with volcanic formations in an array of colors including red, orange, green, and black mineral deposits. In the background, catch glimpses of the other nearby islands and the notable Pinnacle Rock jutting out of the sea.