You may ask, where do people who live on their boat go on vacation? Why, another boat of course. Before heading through the Canal we thought about sailing to the Galapagos, but since we were not continuing on to the South Pacific and due to the red tape of taking your own boat, we decided it would be easier to let someone else do all the work. So we left Neko safely in a marina and Lucy safely at VIP Kennels (that’s Very Important Paws) and we were off to Ecuador.We book-ended the Galapagos adventure with a few days on mainland Ecuador, first in Guayaquil (click here for Guayaquil photos) and then in the capital city of Quito (click here for Quito photos). These are the two cities where you can fly out to the islands so try both, but if you can only do one, we vote for Quito. Not only is it perched 9,000 feet above sea level providing us with much-desired cool weather, but it boasts charming Spanish colonial architecture,
more over-the-top churches than you could possible imagine and friendly folks that look like they just stepped out of the “Ecuador” volume of the Time/Life encyclopedias we had when I was a kid.
The Galapagos portion of our trip consisted of an 8-day cruise aboard “The Evolution”.
Now I have zero interest in cruise ship travel, but it is the name of the game in the Galapagos. You can stay in a hotel and take day trips by boat, but you can see more traveling by ship. Boats range from private yachts for small parties to 100-passenger cruise ships. We picked a smaller boat (25 people) allowing us to get to know all the passengers and the perfect amount of space to have alone time.
We met some delightfully diverse and fun loving folks and amazingly there wasn’t a dud in the bunch. Our crew was friendly, attentive and spoiled us so much that now I’m thinking we need full time crew on Neko (just kidding, but a girl can dream).
Each day consisted of 2 land trips, 1 snorkel trip, 1 short history lecture and preview of the following day’s itinerary and of course, food, drinks and napping.
Every stop, whether on land or in the chilly waters, provided us with a distinct landscape, a treasure trove of native and endemic species and an unbelievable experience I thought was all brochure hype.
You know I’m all about the animals, so I was in heaven swimming with sharks, sea turtles and nose to nose with playful sea lions.
We encountered land and marine iguanas,
more sea lions, penguins, sea lions, Darwin’s famous giant tortoises, pink flamencos and birds of all sorts and did I mention sea lions.
Since we started cruising we have met lots of “birders” and though I can drum up an “ooh and ahh” at a wild Scarlet Macaw or the elusive Quetzal, birds don’t do much for me, but I’ll admit while literally stepping over nesting birds and standing inches from down covered newborn frigates I still felt – nothing. NO, I’m joking, by the end of this trip my feathered friends melted my heart.
So along with our fellow passengers, we took about a billion photos of sea lions, sea turtles, birds of all sorts, tortoises, red crabs, penguins, iguanas and on and on. By the end we were ready to work for National Geographic. So enjoy the photos, book your trip there and be thankful this isn’t the 1970s and I’m making you sit in my living room looking at a billion slides of sea lions, sea turtles, etc. If you want click here for more photos.
Thanks to fellow passengers Sue, Faith, Michelle, Lance and Johan for sharing many of your photos.
Amazing stuff! We may just have to think about the Galapagos some time. I’ve always worried that it must be overrun with tourists.
Have always wanted to see Equador and after reading your blog, I definitely want to see Quito. Wonderful photos and descriptions, as usual. Thanks! Jane
Once again you held me spell bound. I am going to check into the trip for myself. Ex boater, now lander needs a boat vacation combined with some interesting land. Take care and keep the blogs coming.
Hi Mary and Pete,
Just sat here and caught up on your adventures since seeing you last in El Salvador. You have covered a lot of territory and I have enjoyed learning so much from your adventures! Look forward to your future postings and learning what lies ahead for us!