Peru and Galapagos Adventure Q & A
Kathy Jarvis, Andean Trails' director, has just returned from an inspection trip to Peru and Ecuador.
Where have you just been?
What did you see and do?
In Cusco I visited El Balcon, El Retablo, El Mercado, Unaytambo hotels, the Pisac market and swimming pool, and I talked to a few of our local partners, from Tinqui, Cusco and Urubamba.
On mainland Ecuador I was in the Quito area for a few days and went to see Bomboli cloud forest lodge, the Hato Verde hacienda, the lodges at Tambopaxi and Porvenir in Cotopaxi national park, the Guango Cloud forest lodge and Papallacta on the Eastern slopes of the Andes.
In 20 words, describe your favourite…
Place: Without a doubt the Galapagos cruise was the most amazing experience.
Hotel: The Mary Anne is a fabulous spacious timber schooner, a floating hotel, perfect home for a week to explore the Galapagos Islands.
Experience: Dolphins swimming alongside the boat, leaping into the air and playing on the bow wave, snorkelling up close with playful young sea lions.
Excursion: Espanola Island in The Galapagos was the most impressive for me. To get onto the trail at Punta Suarez for our morning walk we had to pick our way through hundreds of large red Marine Iguanas warming themselves in the sun, then were privileged to see Waved Albatross dancing and feeding their young. Later in the day we snorkelled with sea lions, swam in the surf at Gardner Bay, and lay outstretched alongside resting sea lions on the golden sands.
Who would love this trip?
I cannot image there is any one that would not like the Mary Anne cruise. The boat is spacious as it has 17 cabins (with beds for 34 people), though only takes 14 passengers, and has a crew of 11. This is a great cruise option for passengers travelling alone (there is no single supplement and there are likely to be other single travellers) . There is ample outdoor seating area at the front and back. The sails are hauled up 2 or 3 times in the week, which is fun. Passengers can help. The cabins are not the most luxurious because of the ship’s shape, and all have port holes rather than windows.
Essentials to bring to Galapagos ?
Swim suit, insect repellent, high factor sun screen, a warm top and light weight wind and waterproof jacket (it was cooler than I expected)
Snorkelling gloves are useful plus a snorkel shirt to go under your wet suit if you feel the cold. Some snorkelling sites are cooler than others.
It is easy to rinse clothes out and hang out to dry, so bring quick dry clothes.
Bring some sachets of conditioner & shampoo (both are usually provided, but not always)
Sandals/water shoes are useful for wet landings (though if you are quite happy barefoot you don’t need these and can put on your walking shoes on the beach) , walking shoes are essential as the ground is rough and volcanic rocks sharp, flip flops or boat shoes are useful on deck.
Ear plugs are useful if you are in a cabin near the engine, and air conditioning can be loud also.
Sea sick pills are worth taking along just in case and can be bought locally if necessary.
Best place for….
Food: There were plentiful snacks and drinks on board the Mary Anne.
Beer: Quito supermarkets stock some locally made craft beers and there are a few Quito bars serving those too. Most bars though only stock standard Ecuadorean lager, fine on a warm sunny afternoon, but not very tasty nor interesting.
Coffee: Puerto Ayora, the town on Santa Cruz island, has a fabulous coffee shop and you have free time there. The Galapagos now grows several type of coffee bean so you can buy some to take home.
Advice or top tips?
Take time to look at the wildlife and enjoy the islands, it’s all too easy to get tied up taking photos.
Holiday in a nutshell?
Fabulous, relaxing, wildlife cruise.
Where to find out more?
Email email@example.com for more ideas and inspiration for your next trip!