Galapagos Islands belong to Ecuador.
The size of the boats to visit Galapagos Islands is limited by law. We wanted the Celebrity boat, the capacity 100 passengers, one of the biggest boat to cruise Galapagos waters. We booked the trip two years in advance. Our trip was in 2014.
Celebrity took care of everything, taking us from the airport in Quito, then the trip, including the flight to Galapagos and back (100 people in the plane, our future fellow tourists on the boat), and finally back to Quito airport by bus.
The trip started with two days in Quito. we had a tour of the city. We were impressed by how many churches are in the city. Temperature all year around is between 16 Celsius (60 F) and 25 Celsius (77 F); and the air is fresh, the city close to mountains... a dream.
But if I remember something clearly, there are the roses, famous around the world. They were all around the places in our Mariotte hotel, too.
One of the visits not to miss is the park north of Quito where the equator is draw with a yellow line. North and South hemisphere meet here, and flower arrangements pinpoint the north “N” and south “S” only feet apart.
Then, we had our flight to the islands.
“The Galápagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It's considered one of the world's foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. A province of Ecuador, it lies about 1,000km off its coast. Its isolated terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else. Charles Darwin visited in 1835, and his observation of Galápagos' species later inspired his theory of evolution.”
The islands are relatively young, and the picture shows two different volcano eruptions, separated by some thousand years.
We enjoyed the snorkeling. We were surrounded by all kind of fishes, different size and colors, penguins passing by, iguanas walking on the bottom of the sea… One day a pack of sea lions joined our group; a huge male passing by touched my belly with his back; a puppy approached my wife and looked into each-other eyes, only inches away.
One day when snorkeling a shark that was swimming slowly about 10 m (30 ft) below was not interested in any of us. In another day a penguin passed by, swimming slowly, kind of inviting us to follow. We saw iguanas walking the bottom of the sea, and many fishes all colors and sizes.
On one of the islands it was a mailbox, in the middle of nowhere. The rule was this: look inside the mailbox and if you find someone with an address close to your home, take it, and hand it manually. We found someone in a nearby city, and, I am ashamed to admit we did not follow the rule exactly, once home we mailed it, so, the owner had his Galapagos letter back from someone living about 30 km away. We had our Galapagos letters back too, two years after the trip! but because we were not home, the letters were plugged into the door.
And it was fun on the boat too. One evening on the Celebrity boat we had a competition contest where everyone was invited to perform whatever they know and want. I did a Romanian dance, jumping, whistling and clamping hands and feet in the air.
Ayola town was an interesting stop, with impressive trees full of flowers of all colors and attempting restaurants and small shops. At the fish marked we saw a sea lion waiting patiently for leftovers. The sea lion knew that stealing fishes is not allowed, otherwise it will be pushed away by the merchants. We saw a little fight between two sea lions for a spot around the table…
Many islands do not have fresh water. The animals get as much as they can from rain. I remember some birds that feel where the water is and have no shame to ask for it. When a tourist pull-out from their backpack a bottle of water, those birds peck your shoes with their beak, bagging for water. Generally, they do not get it, the rule is that no intervention within the nature is allowed.
Galapagos Islands are well-known for its variety of birds and reptiles and the amazing adaptation to the harsh conditions on the islands. We had hundreds of pictures, I selected some for my readers.