My trip to the Galapagos, Ecuador and Ecuadorian Amazon started with a flight from Vancouver to Quito via Houston. I met my friend Carol in Houston and after a relatively smooth flight we landed in Quito at 1:30 in the morning. We had pre- booked a transfer to our hotel which I highly recommend rather than trying to find a cab in the early morning: Quito airport at 2 in the morning is a scary place. After a good sleep we met the rest of our tour group for a pre-trip briefing and the following morning left for Seymour Airport on the Isle of Baltra. As we circled the airport I remarked to an unknown seat mate “ I can’t believe I am finally here”. Little did I know that Mary would be on my trip and become a friend who I am still in touch with 12 years after the trip.
One tip – book yourself into the recommended tour hotel before your trip. The pre-trip briefing is there, as well as the bus pick up, plus you get to meet and identify your fellow shipmates. This helped a lot once we landed in the airport on Baltra which was a zoo. Also when your trip liason officer gives you a button or some other identifying symbol put it on. It is the only way your tour guide will find you in the airport.
Once our guide had located us all and got us on the right bus (must have been like herding chickens 🙂 ) – we transferred to our ship. Another lesson followed in the proper way to get and out of a boat 🙂 and then we headed out to Santa Cruz island to visit the Mangrove Swamps of Tortuga Negra. What a wonderful introduction to the Galapagos on a beautiful evening. Sea turtle mating season was in full swing: we also saw sharks, herons, pelicans, rays, marine iguana and lots of sally lightfoot crabs. As our boats drifted through and past the mangroves – white tipped sharks and rays cruised in the shallows. Our boat is a small one with 8 double cabins, a naturalist guide and a full crew. The group is a mix of married couples and solo male and female travellers – seems like a good group and we are looking forward to the week.