Our trip to Ecuador was mostly dedicated to visiting the Galápagos using a small cruise or expedition ship. Before embarking on our cruise however, we organized to have our international flight take us to the lovely city of Quito with its bustling historic Old Town. Following our cruise we also had time for a brief visit to the city of Guayaquil on the Pacific coast before returning home. We hope one day to return and explore more of Ecuador. It was a lovely country with very friendly people.
The Galápagos archipelago is made up of 13 main islands and 7 smaller ones. None of these are near the mainland and the best way to visit this unique place is by taking a short local flight and then going from island to island by taking a cruise. That’s what we did. We flew to Baltra, one of the islands, from the mainland and embarked on a 7-night expedition cruise, which was just amazing. One of our favorite trips and we’re so glad we went.
Many of the islands are not even reachable unless you use a very small vessel. Even our 100 passengers Galapagos Legend could only make it close to some of the larger islands, and all stops were by tender boat. During our expedition cruise all of the excursions were included and consisted of hiking on one of the islands or snorkeling.
We had some dry landing but most were wet landings, which meant that we had to disembark in the water. Dinghies were the usual mode of transportations from the ship to the islands; even for snorkeling we had to let ourselves drop backward in the ocean and pull ourselves back up to get back in the boat.
To avoid bringing contaminants from one islands to another our shoes had to be hosed off before getting back on the ship. On some islands, shoes were not allowed so we had to walk barefoot. This is a small sacrifice to preserve this unique and amazing treasure, please be respectful and endure this small inconvenience.
Tip: Bring comfortable walking rubber shoes that can be easily washed, ours got rinsed with a hose.
Tip: If this type of cruise doesn’t appeal to you, it’s also possible to go and stay at a resort on Santa Cruz Island and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station or take daily excursions. However, you’ll have to share the beach with the sea lions.