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The high point was a sea lion swimming with us whilst snorkelling off Cape Rosa amongst the lava ‘tunnels’. We have a video of this taken by the snorkel leader playing on our digital frame at home.
The low point were the Avianca flights out and back to Galapagos from Ecuador mainland – an airline & staff that really don’t care about you!
Finch Bay is a wonderfully luxurious premium hotel with great attention from staff and a relaxing pool and main hotel area. Our master suite room was a good size and well furnished. The view from the balcony was a little obscured by the hedge – but then you front straight on to a public beach so maybe this is a good compromise. The food for vegans was excellent and the hotel added extra grilled vegetables to the breakfast offer on request. Dinner at a table by the pool by candlelight was very special. Our local rep Gaby was superb – very friendly and available. Great organisation – being met off the airplane felt special.
Iguana Crossing is described as a new hotel but actually has been around for quite a while and has a simpler, less luxurious feel than Finch Bay. The breakfast was simple and unchanging, but the staff soon learned we liked grilled vegetables and arranged these for breakfast each day. The master suite room is massive and felt palatial – in places it was a little tired, e.g. a sticking door to the balcony – and had some quirks, e.g. no light switch next to the bed / mirrors in the bathroom in corners where you couldn’t see – BUT – we loved it – the view from the balcony of the beach was mesmeric & being able to walk 10 metres across a sandy road to stroll on the beach was magical. The local rep was a little absent but got us booked on the small plane and so did the most important job we needed
The day tours were all excellent – sometimes the description was a little vague – for example the Volcano tour on Santa Cruz was a 5 hour 10 mile hike on muddy paths and uneven lava fields, with only a couple of short stops, that needed a good level of fitness but was pitched as a 2 to 4 hour ‘walk’. The vegan ‘lunch’ was a banana, a carton of sweetened juice and a cheese (!) roll. Food on some tours was a little basic and not very vegan whilst on others it was superb, e.g. the vegan vegetable rice served on one of the boat tours. The highlights were the snorkelling trip to Cape Rosa tunnels and the visit to the Bartolome Island, plus the small plane trip back from Isabela to Santa Cruz.
The guides were all very knowledgeable and friendly – William and Martin stood out.
We feel we benefited the local people. We had lots of feedback from locals thanking us for staying on land rather than going on one of the boat cruises
What we would do differently is probably fly between islands rather than taking the speedboat – and perhaps fly to a third island as we had long enough there to spend three days on a third island (Cristobal?) – this would probably have been better than the original plans to spend a day in Quito and a day in Guayaquil – the main goal is the Galapagos and maybe days on the mainland are better spent on an island ?
We chose Andean Trails because it felt like a focused agency that specialised in the area and we liked Kat!
We had a wonderful time in Galapagos.
We really appreciated the guide we had: he gave us so much information, he made us feel safe and took us to the most spectacular snorkelling sessions. I can’t describe any low points.
Everything went very smoothly: starting from Quito airport, the welcome in Baltra, the boat and the whole crew. The crew did their best to accommodate all our requests and desires.
The only thing I would do differently next time is choose a longer holiday :).
Students Study Food Insecurity & Climate Change in Peru University of Edinburgh students and teachers report back from Peru, where they learned how traditional farming techniques could help prevent climate change and reduce food insecurity. The team visited coastal Lima, the Cusco Highlands, and the cloud forest. For Andean Trails and our local team, it was a chance to showcase a side of Peru that many visitors may not see when passing through. It went so well that the University has already signed up its team to another Food Security tour in the spring of 2024. Learning About …
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