Galapagos Islands and Quito, Ecuador

Galapagos Islands and Quito, Ecuador

I had the privilege of visiting the Galapagos islands and the city of Quito in Ecuador, a couple of weeks ago, touring the islands as part of an expedition cruise. The seven-day island hopping started at San Cristobal and ended at Baltra. With 100 guests aboard the ship from teenagers up to 70s in age, it was a diverse mix of ages and nationalities.

My purpose in going was more to see the animals than the plant life, however I was enthralled with the whole expedition, learning much from the expert naturalist guides, who gave lectures, as well as accompanying guests in the field.

The highlights for me were the tortoises, sea-lions, Blue Footed Boobie, penguins, and marine and land iguanas (whose camouflage colour blended in with the ground surfaces to the point where I nearly stepped on them – more than once!).  The sign below says 'drive with care - Iguanas crossing, look after them'!

I came away impressed with Ecuador’s commitment to protecting its wildlife and environment, and promoting eco-tourism. The expedition took me out of my comfort zone, as I am not at ease being on water for any length of time. It helped greatly that I was put at ease by the luxurious standard of the ship and the excellent service of its crew and staff. The food on-board was amazing! It has been a long-standing dream of mine to visit the Galapagos islands and I feel that visiting the islands on a ship-based cruise is the most time-effective way of doing so.

I came away impressed with Ecuador’s commitment to protecting its wildlife and environment, and promoting eco-tourism. The expedition took me out of my comfort zone, as I am not at ease being on water for any length of time. It helped greatly that I was put at ease by the luxurious standard of the ship and the excellent service of its crew and staff. The food on-board was amazing! It has been a long-standing dream to visit the Galapagos islands and I personally feel that visiting the islands by ship is the most time-effective way of doing so.

I would recommend a visit to the Galapagos islands and combining it with spending time in Quito (there are some exquisite boutique hotels to stay in), where there is much to explore! The architecture of the colonial historic town is beautifully conserved. Ascend into the clouds (nearly) by taking the Telerifico cable-car ride – the views of Quito from 4050 meters up on the summit of Cruz Loma (Pichincha volcano) are just spectacular. It’s best to get there early in the morning to avoid the queues later on! Not forgetting the visit to the Equator line, and witnessing demonstrations of the earth’s magnetic pull on things north, south, and actually on the equator line!

If you are into shopping, then you just have to visit the town of Otavalo and its market (shown above), where quality leather goods are on sale at value for money prices; followed by a visit to the native Indian market to find an array of hand-made items, including clothing and jewellery!

These are just a few of the many things to do in Quito. You are welcome to contact me for more information.