Ecuador & Galapagos: A bucket List Destination, even during Covid!
Having traveled to more than 100 plus countries between my partner Marion and I has given us both a unique perspective about travel, places, and things. I am certainly more open, welcoming, and understanding than I use to be when I only knew about one or two religions or regions of a country. Traveling to so many places has given me a wonderfully fresh and vibrant perspective that feeds my insatiable travel bug with lasting memories daily.
Now, with Covid turning the entire travel business upside down, a few countries are welcoming travelers once again and doing so in a way that promises to make it safe and pleasurable for guests. One of those countries is Ecuador and its Galapagos Islands.
More than ever, Ecuador and Galapagos make sense as a travel destination. Wildlife is sure to wow visitors to the Galápagos Islands, but the archipelago has so much more to offer. From the adrenaline rush of snorkeling nose-to-nose with white-tipped reef sharks to the wonder of watching up-close as blue-footed boobies perform mating dances on the sand, visitors can experience firsthand how locals coexist in harmony with the creatures of the Galápagos Islands – home to the rarest and most diverse species found in the world, and the inspiration behind Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Before a journey to this bucket-list destination, proper planning is paramount, and we're here to help!
I had the absolute pleasure of traveling to Ecuador and Galapagos in October 2019, and let me tell you this warm, welcoming, and safe country has it all. One of my favorite moments was sailing on the Sea Star luxury cruise with another fellow travel agent friend of mine and meeting the wonderful guests from all over the world.
The Sea Star luxury cruise is a three-times World Travel Award Winner (2017-2018-2019) Luxury Yacht that will take you on a once-in-a-lifetime journey, discovering the countless marvels of the Archipelago, especially when visiting the Southern Islands of Floreana and Española plus the most diverse visitor sites in the Central Islands. You will have the chance to visit incredible sites in 7 different islands in one wonderful 5-nights cruise! Multiple itineraries are available and can be suited to your needs.
For those who know me, my travel style is all about immersion into my surroundings, asking questions, and often making life-long friends along the way. So this trip was no different, and my personal experience of Ecuador was just that. From our engaging host and owner of Latin Trails, Marcel Perkins, sharing his insights to our private guide, Jorge, and my travel friend Jarek to my absolute favorite, the retired English gentleman and Veterinarian Dr. John Tandy, and his extended family.
When I arrived in Quito at our beautiful boutique hotel, Illa Experiences Hotel https://illaexperiencehotel.com/, I was treated like a star from the very moment the doors opened, and I was relieved of my luggage. This beautifully refurbished 1700's colonial home has been masterfully transformed into a colonial, republican, and contemporary piece of art. This award-winning hotel is centrally located in the neighborhood of San Marcos. Here you'll find artisans and weavers, local shops, and restaurants owned and operated by families that have been producing their wares for centuries. Just a five-minute walk to the center of the old town, this hotel offers upper rooms and terraces with stunning views of the mountains and the "Virgin of El Panecillo." Quito is full of great music, architecture, and culture. The rooms are five-star, and the staff incredibly well trained and attentive. They always made me feel welcome. One of the great things about the ten-room boutique hotel, Illa, is that they tell stories and showcase local experiences every day to their guests. On the first day, we learned about the unique way the coffee is made, the same way for a century with dried orange peels. The next day, we learned about the local special refreshing alcoholic drink and how to mix it in Ecuadorian style.