Bucay is a small town 99km from Guayaquil at the foot of the Andes. It used to be a bit of a holiday spot for Guayaquileños because the train to the highlands ran through town. In fact you can still walk on the tracks if you cross the Chimbo river. Now it is a bit of a mess but quite an interesting fusión – basically a bustling, disorganised town of the coast, but with hints of the highlands in the dress and demeanour of the people. The Sunday market is a good place to observe this.
There are 18 waterfalls nearby which you can visit. It’s possible to do canyoning, rent bikes and horses and trek in the surrounding area. There is a tourist information office but I have never seen it open (I only ever pass through on Sundays). The government are also working to fix the track so the train can run to Bucay again (from Durán, near Guayaquil) which will make a nice trip.
If you want to do canyoning (also called rappelling), you should contact Roberto at Casa de Piedra, a little hostal next to the river on the way to Chillanes. Take a taxi to get there – it is about 7km along a paved track but involves fording a river where the bridge has collapsed.
Roberto can organise transport to take you 30 minutes uphill. The landscape changes dramatically. You then trek for 30 minutes alongside a stream before climbing and descending again to reach some spectacular waterfalls. The path is steep and slippery in places and the canyoning is quite frightening but exciting and well organised. Read about my experience here.
Most of the places to stay are out of the centre, so you may have to take a taxi. Several places are located alongside the river on the way north to the highlands (via Colta). So you can jump off the bus at the appropriate spot. Hosteria d´Franco is on the main road to Guayaquil. In all cases advise the driver of the name and he will stop for you.
Click here to find out where to stay or where to eat in Bucay.