G is for Galapagos

By Judy

One of the goals of my plan to see the world is to get to every continent at least once. As I considered where to go for “G” I realized I had never been to South America. After consulting my handy new atlas (I figured I needed a solid reference book for exploring my options), I came up with the Galapagos Islands. Now, I know the islands are not technically ON the continent … but they are owned by Ecuador and you have to go through that South American nation to get to the Galapagos.
So … I checked out how and what to see, made reservations at an Eco-resort, Finch Bay, on one of the islands and booked my flights, planning a full day in Quito and a half day in Guayaquil as part of my trip

.Quito
All I can say is WOW! First, you should know that much of the plant life on these islands, which are actually right on the Equator, goes dormant during part of the year. It’s not as lush and colorful, but it is MUCH less crowded. That’s why I went in October.  The plants and animals are amazing.

Red ground cover

One of the most remarkable things is that there are, according to our guide, no natural predators for the animals and birds that live on the islands. Because of that, they have no fear of the people who come to see all the unusual species that live there. It is illegal to approach or touch them, but you can get really close – for pictures and observation. On one day, a magnificent Heron stopped by the resort pool for a drink … just walked right up and started sipping.

great blue heron drinking from pool

Another day, we watched a mother sea lion nursing her baby in the shade of a bush.

Nursing sea lion pup

On the front porch of our bungalow, as I sat reading early one morning, about a dozen finches came over and hopped around on the small table just a couple of feet from me.

Finch on side table

And then there are the Blue Footed Boobies.

Blue footed booby flock on lava rocks

These birds are camouflaged with bright blue feet to swim in the tropical waters. I could go on. It seemed like there was something amazing at every turn.

I can’t wait to go back during the regular season to see the amazing colors. It is truly magical and unique. The only thing I wish I had done differently is I wish I had purchased a prescription snorkel mask. Next time … because snorkeling is way too much fun to only do once.

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