My husband loves diving in the Galapagos Islands, this is his third trip. It is one live-aboard that I do not go on with him because the currents are very strong, so snorkeling, though not impossible, is a real challenge.
So he decided to share part of the trip with me this time and do a week of land based stuff before he headed off to the boat and I came home.
We flew Delta airlines from Seattle to Atlanta and Atlanta to Quito. Not a bad trip, about 13 hours all in all, with layovers.
We stayed a couple nites in Quito and used one day for walking the city. We went to the large cathedral at the other end of town, and it was fantastic. I love old churches, their history, the architecture, etc.
This was almost the very top of the cathedral. It was a great day and an incredible view. Cathedral
I recommend walking all of the cathedral. The stairs to the top on both sides etc. You get a great view. Its totally worth it.
We then went to Isabela Island, Galapagos. It was wonderful. We had such a great hotel right on the ocean. Hotel La Casa Marita
- The only thing negative I have to say about this particular hotel is that the food service is some of the slowest I have ever experienced. One evening it took an hour and 1/2 just to get our meal. I think they only have ONE cook for the entire hotel and maybe two servers. And though I respect its “island time”, this was even to slow for us. Two evenings of dinner, took over an hour. If you want dinner quicker, you should start ordering around 5:00. Not joking.
So we had a few activities planned here, first was hiking the Volcano Sierra Negra
Here are some good notes and advice before you hike this Volcano.
NOTE: It is hot! To actually enjoy your experience there are some things you need to have and know.
Wear a GOOD hat to keep the sun off your face, neck and chest. (I always recommend the Tilly hats) Remember you are at the Equator, the sun is brutal. There are only a few places with shade on this walk, very few. So make sure you also have a good sun protection shirt, light weight, but covering your chest, arms etc. Good hiking boots and socks. Also bring walking sticks! Remember this is a 10 mile hike there and back. Good trekking, hiking pants and Sunscreen, sunglasses and chap-stick with SPF. Also you will need to bring your own water on this trek. I suggest something like this: Water Bottle . If you are hiking with someone, like a friend or a spouse, you will really need three of these bottles between the two of you. Or two bottles a piece. You will be glad you had them, you will drink all that water on this hike. ALSO they provide you with a lunch, (as it was) it was bread with cheese in the middle and some fruit. I suggest you bring your own snacks, peanut butter crackers, protein meat sticks, protein bars. (you can bring these items into Galapagos, but you cannot bring seeds, fresh fruit, or cooked items) The hike is not difficult as far as terrain is concerned. The last 30 minutes of the hike, you are actually on Lava rocks, that part can be brutal and by this time you are hot and tired.
If you like hiking, this is worth it. You leave early in the morning and are home around 2:00 in the afternoon, so you have plenty of time to freshen up, enjoy the beach and a few cocktails before dinner.
We also did some snorkeling with white tip sharks and rays and tons of other fish. This snorkel is about an hour long. The water is COLD! I recommend you bring your own wet-suit, fins, mask etc. (if you bring your own a three mill will probably be sufficient) I used a lava core bottom and a shark skin, short sleeve top. It was perfectly warm for the entire snorkel and the boat ride home with no issues. (but you can rent your gear from the boat if you choose)
We also did a morning of Kayaking. We had a private guide and we got to see some really cook stuff! Rays jumping out of the water, penguins that came right up to our Kayak, sea lions, etc. It was really fun. Even if you have never kayaked before, you can totally do this. We had a great time. The waters are pretty calm. This is about an hour long.
Ecuador was a surprising adventure! It is modern, clean, beautiful beaches, friendly people, inexpensive. The food was not exceptional but it was still good. The wines are nice, and nothing is outrageously expensive.
If you are diving here dry suits are usually the norm. The water is very cold. But the diving is for experienced divers. The currents can be very bad.
I highly recommend Ecuador and the Islands, for a quick getaway or even a honeymoon. The beaches are beautiful, the ocean amazing.