Galapagos Islands

Christmas Ornaments 2017

Continuing with a mini post on Christmas showing off our souvenir ornaments we picked up in 2017. It’s a fun tradition Brian and I started way back when we first started traveling and it’s fun to try and seek out an ornament everywhere we go. Sometimes it’s easy and other times it’s harder. Sometimes it’s an actual ornament we find, other times it’s something we can turn into an ornament once we get home.

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Galapagos: Summary

Well, eventually I will get around to writing detailed posts on my family’s trip to the Galapagos Islands, but I’ve got lots to post from other trips first. Until that time, here’s my quick summary of the highlights from my recent trip with my family. The Galapagos Islands are an incredibly special place and it was also incredibly hard to leave. You know usually at the end of a trip, part of you is normally ready to come home and get back to a normal routine and not eating out every night. This wasn’t like that at all. Every single one of us could have stayed longer. I am already dreaming about a return and which islands to visit next time.

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Photos of the Multiple Days

With Internet and cell coverage so limited, here are the final few days pictures of the Day. We headed to Isabela Island on Thursday and had a really nice snorkel and then watched a nice sunset from the pier complete with sea lions. Friday we did the hike to the Sierra Negro volcano and had a delicious lunch at a nice farm. Saturday we left the islands but got to spend about 6 hours in Guayaquil during a layover. 

Photos from the past 3 days

Internet access has been limited for the past 3 days but finally can update. On Monday we spent the day snorkeling in the area around Kicker Rock. Yesterday visited the highlights of Santa Cruz area on Tortuga Bay and a giant tortoise farm. Today we did a day trip to Seymour Island. 

Planning: Galapagos

This will probably be my shortest planning post I’ve ever written, as I didn’t do a lot of the essential planning for this trip. The idea of this trip was born almost a year and a half ago, when discussing family trip ideas, my littlest brother remarked that he was still due a vacation for his college graduation. My mom had been looking into catamaran trips and Dom and I were not so enthusiastic about that, but I said if it was somewhere Brian and I hadn’t been, we would at least consider it. Then Dom said, what about one in the Galapagos. My parents both were like, sure. And within 24 hours, my mom had called my other siblings and was full on researching a trip there.

We were pretty limited with our time we could go on a vacation. My sister and her husband work for universities and my youngest brother wasn’t sure if he’d be in grad school or not. And with Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, we were pretty much locked into the week of New Years. Unfortunately it meant that we were extremely limited in cruise options. Galapagos cruises are locked into very strict itineraries to help protect the environment, which I’m all for, but that meant we only had a couple of options for cruise itineraries due to our inflexible dates. In the end, we found one cruise possibility within our budget and dates (as a side note, we didn’t look at the extreme budget options as my parents were footing the bill and my mom wanted something nicer than budget cabins). And we also worked out a land itinerary option with a tour agency and sat down and compared the stops on the two itineraries and ended up liking to stops on the island hopping land based option best. Most people say cruising is the best way to see the Galapagos and I have no doubt that it is if you have flexible dates and are traveling with a smaller group (we are a group of 7, though at one point it was 9 of us going) which locked us out of some cruises as they already had passengers booked.

 

Anyways, here is our relatively set in stone itinerary as it’s all planned out with our guide already:

Day 1: Arrival in Quito in the morning, spend the morning walking around Old Town then a trip to the Middle of the Earth

Day 2: Flight to San Cristobal Island, then visit the Interpretation Center, Frigate Bird Hill, and snorkeling

Day 3: Snorkel Trip to Kicker Rock then La Loberia

Day 4: Early morning boat transfer to Santa Cruz, visit the Highlands then Tortuga Bay

Day 5: Day Trip to Seymour Island

Day 6: Early morning boat transfer to Isabella, Tintoreras for snorkeling, Flamingo Lagoon

Day 7: Sierra Negra hike, Concha Peral for snorkeling

Day 8: Transfer to Balta airport, then flight to Guayaquil where we have an 8 hour layover before heading home

 

Packing List: I had trouble as always trying to figure out what exactly to pack. We are doing a variety of activities while gone and multiple types of activities within the span of a day. We will be getting wet, hiking, sun bathing, and more. I wanted to make sure to be able to have proper clothing but not lugging around 2 full bags on the boat each day. I probably way overpacked but that’s normal. 

  • Bottoms: 2 pairs of jeans (mostly for our first and last days in Quito and Guayaquil and possibly out to dinners on the island if cooler evening), 6 pairs of shorts (4 casual/day shorts, 2 nicer pairs to wear to dinners), 2 pairs of leggings 
  • Tops: tee shirts (2 nicer shirts, 8 more casual shirts), 3 cardigans, 2 tank tops, 1 long sleeve shirt
  • Dresses/skirts: 3 dresses
  • Jacket: 1 rain jacket, 1 fleece jacket
  • Shoes: 1 pair water sandals, 1 pair of flip flops, 1 dressier sandal, 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of Sperrys, 1 pair of Toms
  • Other: 6 swimsuits, 2 coverups, 1 wet suit, 1 wet suit top, 1 snorkel mask/fins 

What we are most looking forward to: Snorkeling with the sea lions for me, wildlife in general for Brian