Week 2: Quito & The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Trip Start Mar 31, 2014
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2
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Trip End Sep 18, 2014


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Flag of Ecuador  , Guayaquil,
Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hola!

Last week's blog ended whilst we were at Lima Airport waiting to fly to Quito, however what was supposed to be a 2.5 hr flight instead became one long and painful night. Our flight, scheduled to leave at 9.45pm, was delayed an hour, then upon reaching Quito flew in circles above the city unable to land (reason unknown), and had to turn back and land at Guayaquil to refuel. We were then told no one was landing in Quito so we had to wait for over an hour in the airport before getting back on the plane to attempt again. We finally landed about 5.15am, our transfer never arrived, so we eventually got to the hotel at about 6.30am when the sun was rising. Monday's don't seem to be a good travel day for us!

It got better from there though! Our first 2 days in Quito were spent visiting the Old Town, in particular the famous colonial plazas and streets, climbing the tower of the Basilica, and visiting San Francisco church. We also went to the Equator, which included a tour with several pretty amazing experiments to prove we were at the equator (including a demonstration of how you have less resistance at the equator & how water travels clockwise or anticlockwise in each hemisphere & straight down when on the equator line). We had lunch in the main plaza in the New Town whilst watching the champions league (football) and we finished off the second day with a briefing and welcome meeting for our Galápagos trip commencing the next morning (with G Adventures). Because of the tour we had the luxury of staying at the Hilton Hotel, which we both thoroughly enjoyed, particularly for the change from the hostels we have, and will be staying at, most of this trip.

Our 3 night Galápagos Islands tour aboard the Monserrat cruise boat was amazing! Great experiences and wildlife, great people, great fun! Our group included (funnily enough) 7 Aussies, 2 Norwegians, 1 French, 1 Swiss, 1 Polish, 2 Poms, 2 Austrians and an Israeli family.

It began early with a 4am breakfast before boarding the bus at 4.30am to get to the airport for our early flight to Baltra Island in the Galápagos, however once we got on the boat around lunchtime it was go go go.

Throughout the 3 days we visited Santa Cruz Island ("the twins" craters, giant tortoises), North & South Plaza (dinghy ride, walk), Santa Fe (walk, snorkel), Punta Pitt (walk, snorkel), Los Lobos (snorkel, walk) and San Cristobal Island (Interpretation Centre, Town & Outdoor Airport).

We went on several walks and snorkelled 3 times, seeing plenty of wildlife up close along the way. We saw plenty of sea lions, land & marine iguanas, blue & red footed boobies (tee hee), giant tortoises, sea turtles, frigates, rays, colourful fish and crabs, herons, and a couple of reef sharks & dolphins. We also saw plenty of cacti on each of the Islands. We took loads of photos and have uploaded a few of these, particularly sea lions & blue footed boobies!

The highlight would have to be snorkelling with sea lions, particularly one young sea lion which put on a show for us, swimming all through and around us, twisting, turning and somersaulting whilst we watched for several minutes. We'll try to upload a video of this, along with videos of sea turtles and marine iguanas in the next couple of days (thanks to Peter Gill for sharing these videos with us).

We left the Galápagos Islands wishing for a couple more days there, but at least we left with some great photos and memories, some new friends (shout out to Vegard & Helle), and a bit of a tan (&/or slightly burnt necks...what a surprise!).

Once we returned to Quito it was Sunday evening, with our next adventure beginning Monday with a bus trip to Baños, about 3 hours south of a Quito for 3 days. We then head back to Quito to fly to Cusco (Peru).

We hope everyone is well at home, and not drowning in the rain. Please keep us updated with any news. Until next week,

Adios!
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Comments

Ross on

You lucky buggers!
Enjoy.....

Stuart on

Thanks guys, lovely photos and great to see you enjoying the adventure.

Nikit & Mizza on

Looks amazing guys, some great shots. Unlucky with the flights but it can only get better :). Can't wait to see you over there!
Ps. Sydney FC made the finals and are playing Melbourne V tomorrow night!
Lots of love

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