Realized I never actually published the draft of our final wrap up on the trip to Ecuador.
We are grateful for the opportunity to travel to the Galápagos Islands, and the visit to Quito exceeded expectations. Our travel partners were great. Olivia and Claudia enthusiastically volunteered for all optional activities, and Catherine was right there with them. Amy and I hobbled along on our private shore walks, but then relived our heydays as athletic superstars at UCR, while sipping on a single malt in the comfortable lounge. Lou mostly sat back and observed, capturing the group with his telephoto lens. We all thank Lou for arranging the trip.
What struck me, and I think my travel partners, about the Galápagos Islands was how different each individual island is, and how National Park areas have been so well-protected. I can see why this was such a unique area for Darwin and other scientists to study the local species. I had read The Origin of Species when I was quite young, and reread it before the trip. It was very special to step upon the same land, to see the strange but wonderful giant tortoises, land iguanas, the marine iguanas, the finches, and the colorful crabs. It brought new meaning to Darwin’s work.
We were also very impressed by the city of Quito, and would not hesitate to go back for a longer visit. The architecture was impressive, and the people were welcoming.
We booked this trip through UnCruise. In reality, it wasn’t UnCruise as we know it – but that wasn’t really a problem. La Pinta and it’s staff operated under the UnCruise label during our cruise, but they also do trips through their own touring agency. The staff on the boat, and our naturalist guides were all excellent. We were so grateful for the special considerations given for some of our mobility issues. Life onboard the boat, including food, beverages, and presentations, were all quite good. The Chefs clearly took pride in their offerings, and the wait staff was exceptional.
48 passengers was a nice size, we never felt like we had to wait for meals or for excursions. There was a somewhat major hiccup with our transportation back to the airport, but we were able to recover and all was well. This is still my favorite photo of our group preparing to board the Pangas.
Air travel, both outside of Ecuador, and our internal transfers, did not go super smoothly. But we lived, we received all our luggage in the end, and we are no worse for the wear. So I think we’d just call this a risk of international travel.
A wonderful trip. Thank you Lou for all your hard work in arranging the trip. Thank you Amy and Claudia for sharing the adventure. Thank you Catherine, for stepping in for Tory and being a great traveling partner. Thank you, Olivia, for picking this destination for your graduation trip, and for representing our group in all the activities.