Blogs from Galápagos, Ecuador, South America

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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos March 11th 2020

We flew from Guyaquil. The hostel manager sowed a seed of doubt by reporting that all flights to Galapagos had been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Fortunately this was not the case and we flew the following morning. The holiday lifestyle took a sudden lurch to the luxurious. We shared a boat with 11 others for an 8 day cruise with our own guide. SOOOO swanky! The accommodation was as alien as the wildlife. It seemed weird not to be booking our next hostel, plotting our bus route or researching where the bus stopped. We were confronted at every turn with delicious food. Daily routine was snorkel from the zodiacs (pangas) and a walk twice a day.... oh, and a bit of kayaking. Returning from snorkelling we were met with hot towels and nice nibbles ... read more
Pelicans hoping for scraps at the fish market- there was a sealion under the counter but you can't quite see him!
Our favourite new swimming buddy
Frigate birds...The male at the bottom trying to impress the lady with his red inflation. ..

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos March 5th 2020

14 fevrier, jour de la Saint Valentin ;) nous prenons l'avion à Guayaquil pour l'île de Baltra, où nous attend le catamaran de croisière TIP TOP II, nous sommes pris en charge à l'aéroport par 2 guides, Angelica, germanophone (12 personnes/16 du groupe sont allemands), et Eduardo, hispano/anglophone "appelez moi Edu, comme education, ça permet de s'en rappeler lol" Dès le premier jour, on s'en prend plein les yeux, petite virée à l'île de Mosquera, des otaries partout, des mamans allaitant leurs bébés, des mâles aboyant fort pour montrer leur territoire et leur pouvoir (comme d'hab), des iguanes marins, un squelette de baleine... on a oublié notre appareil photo sur le bateau et on s'en mord les doigts, mais bon, otaries et iguanes deviendront au fil des jours d'une banalité telle que plein d'autres occasions photos ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island January 3rd 2020

This word, over tourism has reared its ugly head once again. By now, you know all of the places I try to avoid, like China, cruise ships, Machu Picchu, the Great Wall, the Taj Mahal, Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos Islands, you name it. Certain national parks fall into this category, like nearby Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and a few others. I know it is totally unfair, since I have been to many of these places. All I ask is that you pick and choose wisely. The national parks belong to us, the people, and should be enjoyed. Remember last spring in Walker Canyon (CA), heretofore a place nobody cared about? The golden poppies bloomed at once, creating a huge blanket of gold over the hillsides. But they had to close Walker Canyon for the hordes ... read more
Everglades, endangered
Hanoi Train Street, No More!!!
Galapagos, too many boats and people

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos November 17th 2019

Ridiculously early breakfast make transfer by boat and bus to tiny airport. Said our goodbyes to Adrianna and our crew members, who had looked after us so superbly, and then, boarded our 2 hr flight back to Quito, after the usual purchase of tacky souvenirs at hugely inflated airport prices. And what of our travelling companions? Generally great characters with fascinating careers. Mick and Ita from Ireland, now living in London. Great company and constant humour. Think a cross between Father Ted and Mrs Brown of TV fame and you've got her! She is a a high flying Nurse in London, teaching serious illness recognition, Resuscitation and Acute Life Support to Doctors and nurses. Fascinating career and a laugh a minute. Great dinner table company. Oeysten and Linda from Norway were great company, with a wicked ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island November 16th 2019

Buccaneer Cove was a great place to wake up. A very full day yesterday resulted in a surprisingly decent sleep, despite apparently quite stormy conditions during the night. Panga cruise alongside the cliffs to see yet more seabirds, then more snorkelling, (see a pattern emerging here?) but this time in a sea cave. Massive shoals of fish but little not previously seen. Other folk saw white tipped reef sharks and 6' Lang Ray's, but I missed them this time. We sailed further north east for several hours, to tiny Rabida Island, before mooring in a sheltered bay for the afternoon's hike on Island. There were fantastic views, among lava rock and giant cactii. Beautiful pink flamingos on a green lagoon overlooking the unique red sandy beach, with Pelicans and Blue footed Boobies diving for fish in ... read more
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Frigate Bird

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island November 15th 2019

Pirates and Painters Awoke in Tagus Bay on North West coast of Isabela Island, after a decent nights rest. The bay was fairly small with high hills all round. We were very surprised, and somewhat saddened to see white painted graffiti high up on the cliff faces, mainly boat names and some dates. Some of these were dated back to 1934, long before protection and regulation applied to the islands. Apparently this bay was a popular stop of for pirates and Whalers, as it was so sheltered. Still, the graffiti, which was very high up the cliff face, was totally alien to these beautiful islands. First expedition was a hike up past Darwin Lake, a highly saline body of water occupying a crater rim, high above sea level. The salinity precluded the existence of any fish. ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island November 14th 2019

Another rough night, and awoke to mild panic and a less than gentle chiding that I had forgotten to set the alarm....only 30 mins to get ready for breakfast and prepare for another busy day of activity.. We had moored in Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela..the largest island of the Galapagos. Our Panga took us on a gentle trip around the mangrove inlets, where we saw turtles, and many fish in the shallow water, many more birds, including Pelicans, penguins and the rare flightless cormorant. On return to the boat we were given the opportunity to jump in and swim or snorkel round the boat. The water was a little colder than before, despite being almost on the equator, due to us being now exposed to the cooler Cromwell Current coming from the ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island November 13th 2019

Not too good a nights sleep due to a lot of pitching and rolling, but found ourselves in a delightful bay on south east coast of Isabela Island. Panga ride to a decent jetty at the little town of Puerto Villamil where dozens of marine Iguanas and sea lions lay around in the sun, in the middle of the road, on the beach, jetty, and even commandeered the benches! Went for 7Km hike up to rim of massive crater of Sierra Negra Volcano, withe largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos, thankfully inactive. Currently. Returned to boat again for decent lunch of ceviche (prawn, fish, and octopus), before returning to shore to visit a breeding sanctuary for Galapagos giant tortoises. I hadn't known that Galapagos means 'Giant Tortoise', from which the archipelago got its name. If not ... read more
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Sally Lightfoot Crabs

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Genovesa Island November 11th 2019

We awoke to find ourselves in beautiful Darwin Bay, on Genovesa Island, then transferred by Panga to Darwin beach for a hike round Genovesa which is mainly volcanic lava fields with dried up trees, some lagoons, and a beautiful beach, populated by sea lions, Marine Iguanas, and dozens of species of birds, many nesting on the ground shrub on the beach. These animals and birds have not learned to be afraid of humans, as the islands were totally uninhabited until relatively recently, and are 600 miles from the Ecuador coast. I could not believe that we could walk right up to them, including ground nesting birds, and they didn't flinch. In fact we had to be very careful not to stand on them at times! In the afternoon we snorkelled off the boat at El Barranco, ... read more
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Adrianna

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island November 11th 2019

Awoke to find boat already at anchor, in a beautiful bay on the east coast of Bartolome. This area is mainly lava fields and displayed many different geological features of volcanic eruptions over different episodes of eruption. After breakfast we took the Pange again to land at some steps cut into the lava rock and ascended to the top of the lava hill, observing the many volcanic spouts and formations around us. There was little fauna here on the barren landscape, but we did see Pelican, Lizards, iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs (which were virtually everywhere), lighting up the rocks with their brilliant red colours. Before lunch we snorkelled along the rocky cliff side and saw many white tip reef shark, starfish, sea cucumber, and thousands of highly coloured fish. The coral here tended to be ... read more
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