Santo Domingo de los Colorados

Santo Domingo de los Colorados

How I ended up in Santo Domingo de los Colorados

My first few days in Ecuador had been spent in Quito and I had a contact that I wanted to meet in Esmiraldas.  Rather than spending ten hours on the bus in one stint, I began looking or interesting stops along the way.  Santo Domingo de los Colorados seemed to be the obvious answer from the map.  It’s the 4th largest city in Ecuador and the major hub between Quito and the coast.  The problem was that I couldn’t find ANY information on the place.  Even Wikitravel had nothing on this place.

Ecuador, South America, Gringo TravelsI was really struggling on this one.  While it would be exciting to go someplace without a drop of solid information, I wasn’t sure I wanted to arrive blindly.  Just when I had decided that I didn’t want to risk it with everything I was traveling with, I met a chick from Santo Domingo.  She didn’t have a lot of great things to say about the place but she assured me there were plenty of hotels and that it was “different.”

Santo Domingo de los Colorados

So I dug around the internet until I found this hotel in Santo Domingo.  There were plenty of buses heading to Santo Domingo de los Colorados but when I arrived there weren’t many cabs.  Looking around the bus terminal, I noticed dozens of hotels within walking distance that I had never been able to find online.  I waited around for about 20 minutes and finally a cab showed up.  I told him I was going to the Grand Hotel Santo Domingo and we took off.  My hotel was on the other side of town and  it seemed like we were driving through a new ghetto at every turn.

When I arrived at the hotel I was amazed at how nice it was (my tripadviser review here).  Right in the middle of a total crap-hole was this amazing hotel for $60 per night.  I asked for recommendations on a restaurant from the desk clerk.  He recommended and Argentinian steak house a few blocks down the road.  So I stumbled on down the road in search of this steak house.

Santo Domingo de los Colorodos, EcuadorIt was called Che’s Parilla if I remember correctly.  The hostess was sweet as could be but the waiter was a total ass.  He just stared at me like he didn’t want me there for the first few minutes.  I ordered a steak and a beer and he eventually went back to watching TV.  The steak arrived about 20 minutes later and it was absolutely amazing.  While I was there, two well dressed older businessmen arrived for an early dinner, but most of the people walking the streets were thugs.

Nightlife in Santo Domingo de los Colorados

I got back to the hotel and hung out for a bit before asking where the nightlife was.  The receptionist recommended a club and I was off.  I probably should have tried to figure out what she was saying about the number 10, but I wasn’t interested.  When I arrived at the club they informed me that they didn’t open until 10:00.  It was about 9:00 PM.  After a few minutes of failed communication, the door girl just let me in.

Santo Domingo, Ecuador, Latin AmericaThe bar was still being set up but the bartender jumped right on getting me a drink.  There were a few people in the bar already and I later found out they were setting up for a photo-shoot type deal.  There were three models filling out surveys on cigarettes and taking pictures with patrons.  I hung out there for a bit but it was a slow Friday night and after a couple of hours I moved on.

I spent the rest of the night hopping from bar to bar and being places I probably shouldn’t have.  It got real wild, real fast.  Since this is not an age restricted blog, I’m going to end the night here.  Just know that there’s some crazy stuff going on in Santo Domingo de los Colorados!  I might get back to this in a moment….

The way Santo Domingo de los Colorados went from empty streets of thugs to a lively town at night somewhat reminded me of my time in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Off to Esmiraldas

Santo Domingo de los Colorados
lobby art of the indigenous people of Santo Domingo de los Colorados, or the coloreds, who got their name for dying their hair red.

The next morning I lounged around on the floor balcony for a while before breakfast.  Some gorgeous chick was sitting out on the balcony sofa and she stated that I had been pretty drunk the night before.  I didn’t remember meeting her, so I assumed she was saying that I looked hungover.  I felt perfectly fine so I was a bit confused.  She turned out to be one of the models from the night club and had been staying in the room next to mine.  She looked quite different in sweat pants and a t-shirt.

We chatted for a few minutes then I went and had some breakfast.  I headed out to the bus station and had no problems getting a nice bus to Esmiraldas for about 6 bucks.  It was a scenic 4 hour ride, but I probably would have had a hell of a time without speaking any Spanish.

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