A real "trip of a lifetime". It was a tremendously varied and active trip, and I enjoyed everything: amazing wildlife, geology and scenery, history, swimming and snorkelling, walking....
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Snorkelling through the chasm of Kicker Rock - seeing deep into the ocean with sharks and rays, and myriads of fish.
Swimming through a creek out of the mangrove forest into the open sea, with pelicans flying around us.
Camping at the rim of the Sierra Negra, and walking round the rim to the amazing volcanic scenery of Volcan Chico.
Meeting turtles and sea lions in the sea while snorkelling.
Watching frigate birds swoop and bathe in the crater lake on San Cristobal.
Colony of baby marine iguanas in the lava rocks on Isabella, next to a creek with resting nocturnal sharks.
- What did you think of your group leader?
- Fabian was brilliant. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently, and he made everything interesting, exciting and fun. He was informative, with all sorts of local knowledge - anything from the history and wildlife to recommending good local bars. He recognised the individual needs of group members and adapted to them (e.g. some people were confident swimmers, some were nervous). Above all, he had a really great personal style, and an individual sense of humour, and was great to talk to. I have never done a group holiday before, and felt a bit anxious about being "organised" or "led" - but with Fabian, we had a fantastic time.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If you are interested in nature, and enjoy an active and varied holiday, do this trip!!
There are considerable advantages to this land-based trip over a cruise. We really enjoyed going out for a stroll to the beach or a swim, both in the early mornings and the evenings. We had a fantastic mix of activities. And the wild camping trip gave us a real inside view of the islands.
On a practical note:
Take lots of wet wipes on the camping trip. Bring more warm clothes than you might expect, a good cagoule (it was quite cold and damp at altitude); and strong waterproof boots. I only had boots and sandals - trainers to change into would have been useful.
If you have never been snorkelling before, don't worry! It was my first time, and I loved it.
Read "The voyage of the Beagle" - at least the chapter on the Galapagos - before you go.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
The food was lovely thoughout. Breakfasts based on fresh fruit, lovely lunches and dinners (mainly fish), usually sitting outside.
There are some really beautiful beaches, and swimming was wonderful.
The wildlife is fantastic and really easy to observe. I especially loved marine iguanas, sea lions and blue footed boobies. What is especially fascinating is the way the islands have very different zones, with different plants and wildlife, from the coast to the high mountains. It is also really fascinating to get to know this natural laboratory for studying evolution, and to get some understanding of how Darwin came to his conclusions.
The islands are famous for wildlife - jusitifiably - but the landscape and geology are equally fascinating.
Travelling in a group was great. I enjoyed being with such a great group of people, and sharing the experiences.