The Galapagos is a naturalists dream, there are species of bird, animal and plant life- giant tortoises, both blue footed and red footed boobies, marine iguanas, and warm water penguins that you will not see anywhere on earth. We began our adventure with a flight to Quito Ecuador, which in itself is a worthy destination high in the Andes. From Quito we flew to Guayaquil Ecuador where we embarked on our trip around the islands. We chose a small double hulled boat called the Ocean Spray. It carries 16 passengers, on our trip we had 14. A small boat is a great way to explore in small groups, we had a guide for our family of six, along with a very attentive crew.
A cruise is an opportunity to visit a place where time has almost stopped. It is also an opportunity to swim with sea lions, sharks, sting rays, and giant tortoises, hike into lava tunnels and caves, explore deserted beaches-there is opportunity for adventure all day every day.
The setting feels a bit otherworldly, as you pass the islands they are sparsely populated and the vegetation when we went was scant, I likened it to the moon’s surface.
I don’t know which was more nerve-wracking jumping into open water with fairly strong currents or that fact that that water contained hundreds of sharks, we were told it was not feeding time. The large schools of fish surrounding you as you swam was a unique experience. Literally thousands at one time. Swimming with the giant tortoises was another adventure experience, they are as beautiful as you might imagine, peaceful and graceful. Getting to the sea turtles required swimming over hundreds of stingrays. All I could think of was Steve Irwin. We saw octopus, and at a distance penguins.
Hiking into the lava tubes is only adventurous if you are claustrophobic or at all concerned that OSHA has not visited- and it is really dark. We brought flashlights but it was still a ‘blind’ walk deep into ancient tubes vacated by the lava that formed them.
We combined our Galapagos trip with a visit to the Madre de Dios River (an Amazon tributary) just up river from Puerto Maldonado Peru. We stayed at the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica which in itself is an adventure. The lodge is set in the jungle and is a haven for bird watchers. We experienced a night boat ride to view caiman in their habitat, climbed high above the forest floor on rope ladders and platforms, we looked for and did not see an anaconda (ok by me!) and hiked in the jungle. The resort has a pet peccary named Sammy which was fun!
I would recommend this trip for the adventure, singular sights, viewing the southern cross from the top of the boat, the other travelers you will meet and good times with friends and family as you explore this magical world making memories together.