Lying in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator some thousand kilometres off the coast of Ecuador are the Galapagos Islands.
An ornithologist's, geologist's and biologist's paradise, the myriad species of endemic wildlife in the Galapagos, having no instinctive fear of man, will overwhelm some and inspire all that make the journey to this World Heritage Sanctuary like no other. No National Geographic article will do any justice whatsoever to being immersed in the astonishing flora and fauna of the Galapagos firsthand as Belinda Rice, our Assistant Retail Manager, recently found out.
I’m in the very lucky position of being able to travel fairly regularly on the fantastic Gecko’s trips we have on offer – it’s all part of our training, to enable us to provide the best advice and service to our travellers. I travelled to Antarctica a little while ago with our sister company Peregrine and this gave me a new found love of seeing wildlife in their natural environment with no fear of humans. So for my next trip, I chose our 10 day Complete Galapagos tour to take in this unique wildlife experience again and I wasn’t disappointed.
My favourite animals were the albatross and the sea lions. When the albatross are on the ground they have such a cute waddle and appear to be very clumsy, but in the air, they are one of the most graceful birds you could ever see. I was lucky enough to come across two baby sea lions whilst snorkeling. I think they thought I was one of them! They were so playful. This was probably the highlight of my trip. The snorkeling is absolutely awesome – don’t stress if you’ve not snorkeled before. Our crew is really good at giving lessons! If you’re not 100% confident in the water, you can also wear a life jacket
As the name suggests, our Complete Galapagos tour takes in all the islands and highlights of the Galapagos region. My pick of the islands is Espanola. It has a magnificent long, white sandy beach, where colonies of sea lions laze in the sun and sea turtles swim offshore. There is amazing bird life on Espanola and you can take a trail up to the cliff-side to watch the albatrosses come and go like little jet planes. It was amazing.
The final highlight I’d like to mention was visiting the Charles Darwin Research centre. The centre is a not-for-profit organization that provides scientific research to ensure the proper preservation of the Galapagos Islands. They do an amazing job.
I often get asked what our Gecko’s cruise boat, the M/S Darwin is like. It has a comfortable living area and sun deck upstairs which was ideal for sitting back, relaxing and taking in the view. The rooms are twin share and each has their own bathroom. The onboard food was really impressive. There was a huge variety available and everything was freshly cooked on board. Our appetites were huge after being so active during the day yet at no point were we left hungry.
What are the two most important things Gecko’s travellers should pack?
Lots of sunscreen and a good hat!
Thanks Belinda! We have three fantastic cruises that take in the Galapagos Islands. Click here to see which one is for you. It’s also really easy to combine a Galapagos cruise with a Peru trip, including trekking Machu Picchu. Click here to check them out.