Ecuador: Guayaquil & the Galapagos Archipel
Long time, no see!
We left Peru on 13th of February for Ecuador and Guayaquil. This was a big change for us. We left the dry & cold Cusco and a few hours later we landed in hot and humid Guayaquil, Ecuador! We spent only 2 days in the 2nd city of Ecuador mainly because we had booked our flight for the Galapagos from there and also to relax a bit after having climbed up and down the Andes in Peru.
There is not much to see in Guayaquil but we still did explore the center of town and Las Peñas area uphill to have a view of the surroundings. After that it was time to leave for the Galapagos! This destination is quite expensive. Before you set foot on the plane, there is a national park entrance fee and a tourist card to pay for a total of USD 120/pers. Never mind, we totally forgot about it as soon as we disembarked. We were completely amazed by the beauty of the landscapes and the pelicans fishing in the Itabaca channel on our way to the main island!
Santa Cruz Island – Puerto Ayora
We had planned to stay for 10 days but had booked only a couple of nights on this island as we were hoping to find some last minute availability on a cruise for the next days. And yes, we succeeded! But we still had time to kill before embarking on the yacht. We visited the Darwin Research & Preservation Center for giant tortoises, Tortuga Bay and its marine iguanas and the canyon of Las Grietas.
Cruise on the Isabel II
We embarked for 5 days/4 nights on this beautiful and luxury expedition yacht from Monday 20th to Friday 24th. We had such a blast! Snorkelling, taking strolls on several islands, watching so much wildlife every day, giant tortoises, turtles, iguanas, blue footed boobies, frigates, pelicans, flamingo (1!), sea lions, fur seals, penguins, hundreds of different fishes, sharks (!), several kind of rays, and so many other creatures living on these astonishing islands and the marine reserve around them. The crew and staff members were incredibly friendly. As a short example: can you imagine the captain waiting on the deck for his passengers and greeting them back from their excursion? Very unique, loved every minute on Isabela II.
we specifically enjoy
- GALAPAGOS, GALAPAGOS, GALAPAGOS, this is one of our favorite destination so far. We already planned to go back to explore the rest of the islands one day!
- Guayaquil: the Palace hotel, very cosy and comfy. We spent 3 days including Valentine’s day in this beautiful hotel. Superb breakfast!
- Puerto Ayora: Patty’s house, a little guest house with nice units including kitchen.
- Isabel II Yacht: the cabin was great and the beds super good. The crew take good care of the passengers and we loved the little chocolate on our pillows after dinner. We enjoyed it very very much.
- Guayaquil: El Toro Asado, cheap grilled meat but good.
- Puerto Ayora: The Rock, a bit expensive but excellent fish and seafood.
best kept secret tip
If you are interested in going on a cruise, according to our experience on the Santa Cruz Island and the travellers we met, it would be good to consider to buy your cruise directly from the owner of the boat. In this case, you may avoid the agency fees and get a better price. The companies are mainly based in Quito, try to reach them first. We found the site Galapagos Cruise Links quite useful to have ideas about the budget and the contact details for each boat (however the site does not include luxury ones).