My husband, Michael, wanted to go to the Galapagos Islands for years. It’s been on his bucket list to see the birds and other wildlife, and scuba dive in their pristine waters. And of course, the Islands have a mysterious lure to them. They were discovered by accident in 1535 by the Bishop of Panama, who was headed to Peru when his ship was taken off course by strong currents.
The Bishop found little value in the Islands, and for the next few hundred years they were mainly inhabited by pirates and whalers (including famed whaler and Moby Dick author, Herman Melville).
In 1831, a 22-year-old budding geologist named Charles Darwin visited the Islands. He marveled at the extraordinary diversity of animal life. Fueled by the nutrient-rich ocean currents and isolated from humanity, the islands had developed unique, abundant wildlife. Nearly 25 years later, Darwin finally published his massive groundbreaking treatise, The Origin of Species, developing the theory of natural selection, largely influenced by his time studying the Galapagos.
Thanks to conservation efforts, the Galapagos Islands are much as they were millions of years ago and visitors can see up close some of the planet’s most wonderful creatures and landscapes. It truly is like no place else on earth.
You really must have a huge desire to travel to the Galapagos because it’s not an easy journey. It took us 10 hours to get to Quito, Ecuador. Then over an hour to travel by car to the old town where we stayed.
We were exhausted when we finally arrived at our lovely hotel, Casa Gangotena.
The food was surprisingly outstanding. A simple, delicious meal was exactly what we needed to recharge.
I ordered chicken soup not realizing that this is one of the specialties of Ecuador. It arrived with fresh cilantro and chopped onion and an entire tray of condiments, including Aji, a classic Ecuadorian hot sauce.
My second course was an unforgettable ceviche. I was instantly a fan of Ecuadorian cuisine.
The next morning, the hotel continued to impress our stomachs as they provided us with a scrumptious breakfast before we left again for the airport at 5 AM.
We arrived in the Galapagos Islands after a stop-over and another 3-hour plane ride. Sheesh!
And we still weren’t done. After we landed, we boarded a bus with 40 other people and finally made our way to the cruise boat.
On the way, we stopped at a turtle sanctuary. Galapagos means turtle and these Islands are aptly named. The turtles roaming these islands are huge and beautiful, and some are over 150 years old. Check this guy out…..
We remained on our cruise boat, La Pinta, for the next 4 days and immersed ourselves in the mystery and beauty of the islands. Here are just a few photos….
Every day we arrived on a different island and spent hours hiking, snorkeling, and meeting the wildlife. It was thrilling. I recommend it to all who take pleasure in the majesty of nature.
P.S. This is just the first of several blogs detailing this once in a lifetime trip… On the next blog, I will share a video from the Finch Bay Hotel in the Galapagos where the Chef himself taught me how to make Ecuadorian ceviche!! Stay tuned!!
And please share with me YOUR bucket list experiences! I love to hear about them.