My Galapagos Adventure – Day One

Arriving in Paradise

If you’re anything like me you made your Galapagos plans months ago and waited seemingly forever to get here. I found the anticipation to be energizing, but wondered whether reality could possibly meet my expectations.  I needn’t have been concerned.  From the first moment, the experience was even better than I imagined.  (If you read my introduction, you’ll know that this is my third Galapagos trip: my second and this on the Ocean Spray Catamaran and the first on the equally fabulous Cormorant Catamaran.  Each trip was better than the one before.)

Galapagos Islands from Plane

Landing in Galapagos

Wending your way through airport customs, you may feel a little anxious, but the moment you walk out the door and are greeted by your guide, all worries disappear. The staff whisks away your luggage and from that moment on you are treated like royalty. I realized that the guests on the cruise are the center of attention more every day and will point out a few of the signs of individualized treatment along the way. For now, I’ll simply say that the next time you see your luggage, youll be ensconced in your large private cabin on the boat. Speaking of which, if you pick a luxury high-end trip, as I have, think of the boat not as a large impersonal five-star resort, but as a five-star boutique hotel that immerses you in personal lavish service.

It’s at the airport that you get the first glimpse of your fellow passengers. You are likely to have a combination of couples, singles, families and every permutation in between.  I’ve been with passengers ages 8 to about 80. The main thing I have to tell you here is that everyone is excited and filled with anticipation to get the adventure going. The other really important fact is that everyone is happy to be here. Positive energy is in the air. … Continue Reading

My Galapagos Luxury Cruise Adventure – 15 Days That Changed My Life

Galapagos IMG_1232 (3)Who knew that my decision to celebrate my “big” birthday via a trip to the Galapagos Islands would change my life? Certainly that possibility didn’t even occur to me.  This was one more location on my long list of destinations I wanted to visit. After all, I’ve traveled all over the world, loving every moment (to be fair, almost every moment.) I’ve traveled alone, with my husband, my entire family, my friends, on boats, custom tours with private guides and even by bus. I’ve stayed in luxurious hotels and eco-lodges. But, nothing touched my heart or opened my eyes.  No where made me yearn to return.  That is – until the Galapagos Islands.  My first trip was in 2012, for one week – not long enough for me.  Less than a year later, in January 2013, I returned for two weeks.  Still wanting more, my third trip was in April 2014, again for two weeks. … Continue Reading

A Visit to the El Tulipe Archaeological Site

Yndio Yumbo

Yndio Yimbo – Antonio Salas Aviles

Hundreds of years ago, the Yumbo culture dominated the steamy midlands of present-day Ecuador. The cloud forests of the western slope of the Andes were their home, and they were masters of trade and their environment.

The Yumbo people were great traders, whose trench-like trails called culuncos connected the frosty highlands with the coast. Among their clients was the mighty Inca Empire, which had been masters of the city of Quito since the fifteenth century.

The Yumbo were a spiritual people, and their largest ceremonial center, El Tulipe, can still be seen today. … Continue Reading

The Saquisili Market

SaquiMarket1

Saquisilí is a medium-sized native town about two and a half hours away from Quito to the south and only a half hour away from the city of Latacunga. Most days, it’s a sleepy little place, with locals – mostly indigenous people – walking slowly through the streets, dogs scurrying about and the occasional truck rumbling through, destination elsewhere. On Thursdays, however, the town becomes a bustling center of activity as the weekly market takes over much of the city center. People come from all around to buy and sell goods, animals, food and more. This market has become popular with foreign visitors, because it is a much more authentic experience than the more famous Otavalo market. … Continue Reading

Train Quito Machachi

Machachi Festivo 1

Train Route: Machachi Festivo

The Machachi Festivo train is one of the mew mini-routes offered by Tren Ecuador, Ecuador’s new, revamped rail system. The route runs from Quito to the town of Machachi and back. The trip is 40 kilometers long, and if you do the whole-day trip, it will take you about eight hours. This day trip is a popular one with people from Quito, for the obvious reason that it begins and ends at the city’s renovated Chimbacalle station. … Continue Reading