Exploring the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos land iguana

It was a last minute trip to the Galapagos that never would have happened, except life has a way of changing things up on me. And when one of those changes happened and I had some free time, I started looking for a long-weekend type trip. When the website asked if I wanted to see last minute trips to the Galapagos … well, of course I did!  I’d always wanted to go there but never thought it’d actually happen.

Until it did!

After several will-it-or-won’t-it- work scenarios, including hinging the entire trip on the US Passport office getting my expedited renewal back within days, I was off on a last minute trip. There were several things I wish I’d done differently when booking the plane tickets, but it was a smooth ride there. I stayed at a cute B&B in Quito for a couple of nights before the cruise. It’s an interesting experience to get in a taxi halfway around the world, with someone you can barely communicate with, only to be driven down a dirt road with high walls – complete with barbed wired on top – on either side. There were gates for B&Bs as we drove down the road, and when we pulled into the Zaysant Ecolodge, it was like entering a different world, though I wouldn’t fully appreciate it until the morning as it was after midnight when I arrived.

Zaysant Ecolodge flower pic
Beautiful flowers in Zaysant Ecolodge

I spent a day relaxing in the beauty of Zaysant, playing with their dogs and watching the hummingbirds. The breakfast and dinner was delicious, and the staff were all very friendly and made me feel right at home. It was a nice place to unwind and put away the worries and stress. Two more quick plane rides, and I was in Balta on my Quasar Expedition! The crew was there to meet those of us on the plane, and a quick bus ride to our first panga ride had us to the Evolution in no time. It felt amazing to be back on the water and to enjoy the sights and smells of the Galapagos!

Every day, beginning with day one, we were off to the islands for excursions. Although the hikes were not quite as strenuous as I would have liked- I would describe them as nature walks rather than hikes, although there were many walks with stony paths- it was best to slow down and look around at all the indigenous and endemic Galapagos species. Frigates, sea lions, iguanas, owls, crabs, lizards, flamingos, turtles, sharks, rays, jelly fish, orcas, and a huge variety of species of fish and birds all lived here as nature intended, and I was so grateful to be blessed enough to share their piece of the world for the time I was there.

Baby sea lion showing off with crab
Baby sea lion showing off with crab

The Evolution was a beautifully restored vessel, recently redecorated and refurnished. My cabin was so cozy and comfortable, with a small bathroom, closet, plenty of storage, a king sized bed, and port holes in both the cabin and the bathroom. It was adorable! It could easily have fit 2 people who didn’t plan on spending a lot of time in the cabin, anyway. The crew cleaned it several times a day and they would leave cute surprises that made me smile.

Speaking of the crew, I don’t think any crew could have made things go more smoothly. I have no idea how they did it, but they had all of our excursions, meals, and activities perfectly planned. The food was almost nonstop and delicious and always served with a smile. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and funny, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the information they provided throughout the excursions and briefings.

Frigates with the Evolution in the background
Frigates with the Evolution in the background

Out of all the excursions, swimming with the sea turtles was definitely my favorite. The snorkeling was my most anticipated activity, anyway, since I love to be in the water. It was amazing to see the sharks, rays, starfish and the schools of fish, too, but the turtles were awe- inspiring. When I go back, I’m definitely taking some warmer diving clothes- sure, we were at the equator but you’d never have known it by the temperature of the water!

I can’t have asked for anything more from this trip. It was a week spent being pampered in paradise and enjoying my favorite things- water, animals, and adventure.

swimming underwater over rocks
Where I belong- in the water
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