Adventure & Culture in The Galapagos

Adventure & Culture in The Galapagos

For an experience both enriching and exceptional in natural beauty and wonder, the Galapagos is the most extraordinary island archipelago in the world.  Made up of 13 large and hundreds of small islands in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America, it’s an absolute marvel of nature.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Galapagos on a fam trip with Lan Airlines and Adventure Associates.  We began our stay at the Casa Gangotena in Quito, Ecuador.  This exquisite, completely restored historic mansion overlooking the Plaza San Francisco, is a beautiful boutique hotel with just 31 rooms.  It is contemporary in design, decorated with antiques and complete with modern technology.

A fun and interesting stop just North of Quito is the Museum at the Equator, which marks the exact middle of the world: latitude 0, 0, 0.  One can stand with a foot on each hemisphere and take part in interactive experiments.

It was a short transfer to the airport for a flight to Baltra in the Galapagos to board the Yacht La Pinta and cruise from island to island encountering sea lions, penguins, lizards, hundreds of fish and blue- and red-footed boobies. On the hikes led by a team of exceptional naturalists, we observed giant tortoises grazing. As you explore the remarkable volcanic isles, you’ll discover the wildlife that inspired Charles Darwin.

At least once or twice a day, we had the opportunity to snorkel, kayak, hike, or take a glass bottom boat ride.  The marine reserve is the second largest marine reserve in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  The islands are a Mecca for scientists, researchers and nature-loving enthusiasts. This was truly my most fascinating and enriching voyage and a trip of a lifetime.

By Diane Nachenberg