Coming up: my online travel writing class for Catapult in mid-April.

Going gaga over Galapagos

After a long silence, due to the crescendo of my workload and a trip to Toronto for the film festival, I am back. As I write this from my oceanview room at Finch Bay Eco Hotel in the Galapagos, I am so grateful for my job. Truly am. To have once-in-a-lifetime experiences on a regular basis is a dream for most people and, lucky girl that I am, reality for me. But these are more than travel experiences. For me, travel is about learning, broadening my horizons, finding out things that I never knew.

Listening to the sound of waves crashing against the shore of Santa Cruz, the second largest island of this 19-island archipelago (not counting the islets and the rocks jutting out of the East Pacific), I am already in awe of these enchanted isles. And I’ve only arrived this morning!

In only one day, I’ve seen giant tortoises roam around the wild, taking me back to some prehistoric time (you should see their giant turtle turds!). I saw the sinkholes known as Los Gemelos, a reminder of the islands’ volcanic origin. I had delicious organic coffee grown on the islands. This afternoon I checked into Finch Bay Eco Hotel on a cliff outside Puerto Ayora, the largest town on the island, a beachfront property accessible by boat only. After a doze-off in the hammock on my balcony facing the ocean, thought I’d share my experience so far, before I hit high seas. Tomorrow afternoon I board Isabella II yacht for a five-day sailing of the Galapagos islands, to see what impressed Darwin so much that he called this place a living laboratory of evolution.

It has been a day packed with impressions, including a great dinner conversation with a conservationist born and raised on the island of Floriana in the archipelago, who now works as a director at the Charles Darwin Research Station. As I am about to turn down for the night in one of the world’s most fragile and biodiverse environments, I can only hope my footprint gets washed away with the ocean waves.

Disclaimer: My trip is sponsored by LAN Airlines, which just today started flying from Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, to Baltra Island in the Galapagos, an easy 1.5-hour jaunt that will seriously cut down travel time for a lot of visitors.

Blog Comments

Anja, Can't wait to hear more about your Galapagos Trip! This is every travel writer's / naturalist's dream! I am hoping to take my 2 kids here one day, but most cruises are so damn expensive. I always joke around that I'd have to sell plenty of travel articles to be able to afford this vacation. While you're there…can you possibly lookout for "cheaper" alternatives in the Galapagos for me? Thanks!

How long are you in Ecuador for? It would be cool to hear about your travels!

http://savvyroundtheworld.wordpress.com

I love your job too! 🙂 I hope to get to Galapagos one day and maybe even dive in Darwin and Charles!

Jen, it was amazing! The thing is, no matter how you do it, going to the Galapagos is really expensive. Sure, there are "cheaper" alternatives although they usually mean less safety and comfort and more dubious environmental practices. It's definitely a trip worth paying the high price for!

Jon, I didn't get a chance to stop by the bar last night and today I'm already flying back to New York. Hopefully another time!

Lilliane, I didn't do any diving but the snorkeling was quite incredible. Definitely some of the best in the world. I loved swimming with sea turtles!

Anja,
Nice post about a great place. You are lucky to have a job that allows you to travel so much. Here's a link to our visit last December:

http://alpaca-suitcase.blogspot.com/2009/12/islas-galapagos-dances-with-sea-lions.html

I enjoy your blog!
Jason

Hey, I´m looking for people going to the Galapagos who would be up for helping to keep the tradition of leaving post cards at the office on floreana to be delivered by others.. If your going, check out the details here..

http://savvyroundtheworld.wordpress.com

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