Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ecuador and the Galapagos

So far my trip has been a success - I made it to Monterrey and spent a few days there with my friend, and we both made it to Ecuador with no problems.

Although we flew into Quito, our first real stop in Ecuador was the Galapagos Islands. We were lucky enough to find a last-minute discount on a really nice boat, so within 48 hours of arriving we were on an airplane again.

Our tour lasted for eight days. The boat was quite nice, but more than anything we were with a really great group of people, including the crew.

The whole tour is still a bit of a blur. We would wake up in the morning, go on a hike, get back on the boat, eat lunch while sailing to a different location, then go on another island tour/go snorkelling. I ended up snorkelling at least once a day, and swam with a bunch of tortoises and rays. I was also lucky enough to be the only person to swim with sharks, and it happened on two different days. The first time I saw a white-tipped reef shark that was about four feet long, and the second was a huge hammerhead that was about nine feet long.

On the islands we saw just about every kind of animal - sea lions, seals, iguanas, tortoises, and a huge variety of birds and fish. I had a little too much sun, but in the end it was worth it.

Now I'm back in Quito, but only for one more night. Today we went to the Mitad del Mundo, or the Center of the World. It's the equator line and monument just north of the city. Tomorrow we're spending a few more hours in the city, then we're off to the city of Otavalo, which is a few hours north. It's famous for its markets, so I'm planning on doing most of my shopping there.

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