All About our Time in Galapagos
Rather than writing a day-by-day of what we did, we thought we'd give you more of an overall impression of what our cruise in the Galapagos was like. In many ways, our days were exactly the same, and in others they were all completely unique. Each day (other than arrival and departure) we would typically do two land walks and either one or two snorkels, each at a different location. Over the 8 days we moved from the eastern, warmer waters of the islands to the cooler western waters. This allowed us to see a pretty good variety of all of the flora, fauna, and sea life that the Galapagos has, and yet we didn't get to see it all. From swimming with sea lions, turtles, sharks, rays, eels, colorful fish, marine iguanas, and penguins, to meeting giant land tortoises, all manner of birds, and a few iguana species on land, it was by far the most fascinating experience we've had so far on our travels-- a once in a lifetime thing.
Oh, and we got to meet some cool humans, too, on our boat. We were blessed with an excellent group of shipmates who always had a positive attitude, even in some difficult situations. We were aboard the Archipel I, which is a ship that is comfortably in the mid-range to upper-mid range. We did see some of the luxury class ships while we were moving through the islands, but they tended to be larger and the passengers on those boats generally older. There are 16 passengers aboard and 10 crew on the Archipel with a nice range of ages and nationalities. The food was a mix of European and Ecuadorian. It was overall pretty good... much better than the food on the ship when we cruised the Nile. And if you're worried about seasickness, Stephen managed to do okay with the seasickness patches. Even though we were on a catamaran, there was still a lot of ship movement, but the patches seemed to do the trick. They also worked for another passenger who is prone (although she hadn't placed the first patch early enough to get an effect the first day).
We used Knowmad Adventures to help us figure out our boat and itinerary (and budget) for the Galapagos. They did a great job of helping us find an experience that fit our style. They do all kinds of trip planning (mid-range and above) for South America. And we like them because they're based in Minnesota!
Videos from the Galapagos
Most of these were taken with our phone cameras or the go-pro knock-off Eli picked up on Amazon. Some of the video were shot by our shipmates who had a better go-pro camera.
Penguins swim incredibly fast. They move completely differently from the sea lions in the water, looking more like birds as they swim by. We only caught quick glimpses of them in the water.
This shark showed up near our boat as we were getting ready to take the dingy to a snorkel site. Against our better judgement, we got into the water and swam for a while with it (keeping another shipmate between us and the shark the whole time).
Another video of the shark.
A baby sea lion trying to feed from his mother.
These dolphin were feeding, so weren't as interested in coming alongside our boat to play.
A baby flightless cormorant and its mother. Flightless cormorants evolved in the Galapagos from other cormorant species. They spend a lot of time in the water, but don't have waterproof feathers.
A moray eel.
There were so many sea turtles, swimming with them became almost mundane.
Sea lions are very playful. This was one of our most fun experiences.
Two male tortoises are fighting over a female.
Frigate birds constantly were drafting above our boat. When sitting on deck, you risked getting shat upon. About half of us on the ship eventually joined the "club."
Still Photos from the Galapagos
This is just a small sampling of all the cool stuff we saw. We could fill pages and pages with all the photos we took.
Iguanas came to the islands from Central America floating on debris thousands of years ago. They evolved from the Central American Green Iguanas to the types now found in the Galapagos.
These marine iguanas evolved to feed off algae. They are incredible swimmers. We got to see them feeding underwater on one of our snorkels.
March 25th and 26th, 2023
We headed to Guayaquil from Cuenca as it is easier to get flights from here to the Galapagos. Guayaquil as a city is very reminiscent of Miami.... very different from Andean Ecuador. The drive between Cuenca and Guayaquil is 3.5 hours (on a normal day). We hired a private driver to take us, but it ended up taking us 5.5 hours. We ran into some sort of bike race that blocked the highway for a while, and the more direct route was closed due to the rainstorm the previous night. We had a couple good meals while here. The seafood coconut curry is from Picanteria La Culata, and the chocolate, croque monsieur, and eggs benedict are from Oui French Bistro.