Blogs from Ecuador, South America - page 8


South America » Ecuador » Galápagos April 30th 2014

Santa Cruz Island is the second largest island in the archipelago and the port town of Puerto Ayora is home to 18,000 Galapaguenos. It is bustling place that has several very interesting art galleries featuring among traditional art, hand woven water tight vessels ranging in size from a 1/3 cup to 1 gallon capacity, beautiful weavings made of vibrantly colored alpaca wool which from a distance appear to be oil paintings and whimsical sculptures. As in any other tourist town the typical “souvenirs” are found all along the main street, just about 1.5 miles long. The main attraction of this island is the Giant Tortoises and the Charles Darwin Research Station which was our first stop of the day. We were lucky(?) enough to see two of these giant creatures mating, an act that can last ... read more
Fermenting Moonshint
The Still
Lava Tube

South America » Ecuador » East » Cuyabeno Reserve April 30th 2014

Hola! I decided to take a trip to the jungle as I wanted to see lots of animals as I din´t see that many in Costa Rica. Getting there, I took the night bus to Lago Agrio. I had my small bag strapped to me all night as I had heard of so many people getting their bags nicked! Thankfully, it still remained attached to me when I woke up! I then had to wait in a hotel, along with other travellers, for my pick up to my jungle lodge. Everyone that I met were staying at different lodges and one by one they disappeared...I was the only one left! I was dreading that my lodge had forgotten about me so walked outside and found another girl, Laura, with the same lodge sign as me! Hooray, ... read more
Our huts
Having fun with the flowers
One of many pelicans!

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños April 30th 2014

Hola from the lovely little town of Banos! I have been here a couple of days and wish I had a little more time to chill out here. The streets are colourful and all around you can see lucious green hills. It took me while to find my hostel, asking different people where I needed to go and after a while of looking very lost I finally made it! I dropped my stuff off and took a walk up to GeoTours. I had heard that this was a really good company to do white water rafting with and I wanted to make sure I was going to be in safe hands! I then had a little qalk around a knew I was going to love it here. There are lots of graffiti murials over walls and ... read more
Swinging over the hills!
Macarena...a brilliant girl!
Beautiful views

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island April 30th 2014

Vacation? Yes. Rest and relax? Not until today. I forego the first expedition of the day to see the land iguanas, it entails more boulder hopping and I opt for a massage instead, thank you Hilda. I return to the cabin just in time to head off for the 10:40 deep-water drift snorkel excursion; oh glory of glories, what a wonderful hour and a half. A sheer wall along Santa Cruz Island is bejeweled with corals, soft and hard and infinite varieties of vibrant multi-colored fish. The water is warm and the dive skin is more than enough protection from the sun and prevents chill in the water. This is a great ship, with lots of stairs. I am estimating I am clocking about 30 flights a day. Day two I really couldn’t figure out why ... read more
Sea Pencil Urchin
Galapagos Coral

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Floreana Island April 29th 2014

The pre-breakfast outing was a zodiac ride with a wet landing to Floreana Island and a hike to Punta Cormorant. The beach where we arrive consisted of sand which contained olivine, a semi-precious stone, broken into very small granules. We hiked past a brackish lagoon where we could see in the distance (thanks for the binoculars MOM) the Galapagos Flamingos (we only counted 18) and I believe this is the only island that we expect to see these beautiful birds. Once we arrived at Punta Cormorant beach we sighted burrows that had been dug by the sea turtles and also saw tracks on the beach as evidence of a female who had laid her eggs the previous night. Sally Lightfoot crabs were all along the rocks and I learned that the crabs’ growth depends on the ... read more
Chocolate Chip Sea Star
Playful Sea Lion
Post Office Bay


South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Española Island April 28th 2014

Up early, coffee and then stretch class on the Sun Deck led by Hilda. Breakfast and then a short orientation before we took the Zodiac boats to go deep water drift snorkeling. No coral here and not many colorful fish. Did spot a big school of fish, over hundred I would say but the water was not very clear so could not get pictures. After about an hour took a ride to the white sand beach of Espanola. Lots of sea lions were scattered about the beach, they live in colonies with one dominant male and 15 or so females. One male was very persistently approaching his females on the beach and tried like a soldier to interest any one of his harem, alas, there was no interest from the girls. Poor guy was repeatedly snubbed. ... read more
Galapagos Iguanas Best Buddies
Galapagos Sea Lions
Albatross Egg / Iguana Dinner

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos April 27th 2014

“Welcome aboard the National Geographic Endeavour”, was the theme of the day. We left Guayaquil behind and a short 1 hour 15 minute flight (700 miles) we landed on San Cristobal Island in the small port town of Baquerizo Moreno, a town of more than 8,000. This is where we boarded a Zodiac boat “panga” to be shuttled to the ship. After the mandatory safety drill we had a buffet lunch and were introduced to the expedition leader PaulaTagle. We received a great orientation regarding the volcanic islands that comprise the Galapagos Archipelago. Many of the animals which thrive is in this environment are endemic which simply means they are found nowhere else on earth. This includes many varieties of finches, mockingbirds, giant tortoises, blue footed boobies, sally lightfoot crabs along with many others. After lunch ... read more

South America » Ecuador » South » Vilcabamba April 27th 2014

Vilcabamba Known as the ‘Valley of Longevity’, Vilcabamba is a small town in Southern Ecuador famous for the age and health of its residents with one resident reportedly being 120 years old. Situated about a 90minute drive from the nearest airport of Loja (“Loha”), Vilcabamba is nestled in a valley surrounded by gorgeous Ecuadorian mountains, with clear springs and crisp mountain air. The town has become a mecca for Western health enthusiasts worldwide and attracts thousands of tourists each year looking for respite from the 9-5 daily grind. As I don’t mind a bit of meditation and yoga, I decided to spend a week in Vilcabamba before heading to the Galapagos Islands. To get there, I left the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires at about 5am, to fly to Loja airport via Guayaquil, Ecuador where ... read more
Bernie, banana hunting
These guys were EVERYWHERE
Persian restaurant - delicious food!

South America » Ecuador April 26th 2014

60 days since the application 1 interview 100 emails 8 doctor clinics 2 backpacks 300 forms 2 banquets 6 exams 1 volcano 3 sleeps left and here we are. Team Minga Spirit is off to the Amazon rainforest on Monday But WAIT, what does "Minga" mean? Minga is a form of work where the local community gathers together to complete a task. It is a South American term used mostly in the North-west coast (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile) though many cultures around the world also have similar concepts (Turkey, Kenya, Philippenes, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sudan, Norway, Finland, Ireland, & Native American). The concept of minga is similar to that of "barn-raising" in the UK. Or so says Wikipedia. Look it up if you feel the need. The project itself is Me2We & Free ... read more

South America » Ecuador » West » Puerto López April 25th 2014

This is my 12th or 13thstint as substitute manager at Hosteria Mandala and this job continues to delight and challenge me every day -- never a dull moment - surprises around every corner! Even though it's supposedly low season, the hotel was completely full for my first three weeks back. Once they've arrived, many of the guests decide they want to stay longer than they originally reserved. Sometimes they have to switch rooms to make it work, so I shuffle incoming reservations and move folks around, the giant hand-drawn reservation sheets becoming a jigsaw puzzle with me struggling to make the pieces fit! It's the second time I've been sharing the job, which means my mornings have been free and I've taken full advantage of them! The first two weeks I had to make three trips ... read more
Reunion of Old Friends
Playa de Los Frailes
Marianne & Nena

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