This was a bucket-list trip for my wife's 60t...
Nov 17 - Nov 25, 2023
This was a bucket-list trip for my wife's 60th birthday. It was amazing. Tamer and Nick were super responsive and put together an amazing array of activities. Los Tunneles, Sierra Negro, Mountain biking, all unbelievable and the guides were like none we've ever experienced. Every guide had masters-degree level knowledge of the islands - the Geology, animals, plants, aquatic life, ocean currents. plate tectonics, ... absolutely incredible educational experience. The animals we saw blew away what we had previously seen in Hawaii and the Caribbean. The only thing we'd change, and it was on us, not on Tamer and Nick, is we'd schedule a down day or two rather than stacking activities every day we were there. We are not spanish speakers (still learning) and the coordination by Nick and Tamer was just perfect. Just the right amount of guidance to force us to learn a bit about the locals and the culture, but not feel lost. There's a lot of different people to interface with, and Nick and Tamer knew where we'd be a little challenged, and took care of it. We took a more land-based approach on this trip - we're not cruise people and a lot of folks see the Galapagos from a larger boat
- staying at locally run hotels was another way to meet locals and fellow travelers. We will definitely use these Nick and Tamer (KimKIm) for another trip in the future. We have multiple places in South America to experience - Patagonia is next.
This is a really small hotel, right on the beach, run by super nice locals. We'd return in a heartbeat. short walk to mainstreet for renting equipment and authentic food, or eat at the hotel.
Darwin Station is a very special place, very educational, and they've put together a breeding and re-population program that meshes well with the locals. It can be a fairly short visit, but is not to be missed
This was probably our best food of the trip. The owner is very proud of what he prepares and the service was very friendly. Just note, they do not like to bring your bill to you anywhere in Galapagos, you have to politely ask. We were hopeful to get back here for another meal, but ran out of time. Beware, a couple of the restaurants on the main street, not too far from these guys, are really expensive and mediocre, like chain restaurants in the US.
This was a great day, the old volcano hike was educational and beautiful, and the snorkeling was really nice , though not as amazing as los tuneles Note, this is a decently long boat ride, and the seas can be a little rough. Plan accordingly. The food prepared on the boat was the best we had on any boat on our trip.
This was the snorkeling highlight of our trip. The sharks, rays, sea lions, turtles, and fish were unreal. we'd be swimming with 3 or 4 400 pound sea turtles at once, or 10 sharks, or have sea lions messing with us. None of the wildlife was afraid or nervous around us. Simply amazing. The boat ride is pretty exciting, and the last bit, through the surf break, is a testament to the boating skills of the captain. How we did it without bouncing off the volcanic flows was magic.
This is the second largest caldera on the planet, it's huge, and the hike is really cool, though could be challenging for some. Our guide had more knowledge of the plate tectonics, volcanos, lava types, and wildlife than you'd find in a major university - he was simply amazing. This is an important activity in understanding how truly unique the islands really are.
I need to split these. The biking and cave Sucre were amazing. we spent 30 minutes within 10 meters of a galapagos hawk, saw a bunch of the agricultural area of the island, and got some decent singletrack in, all with a fabulous guide. The kayaking was fun and educational, but honestly, after everything else we'd already seen, the kayaking would have been the one activity that we'd cut. The guide was good, and we saw great wildlife, but we were so spoiled with the other activities, that the kayaking didn't stand out.
I need to split this one, too. The coffee was kinda cool, and I love coffee, but the whole experience was a bit heavy on marketing. The highlands and the tortoise refuge were unreal. Watching these massive animals wallow in the mud, sleep, wander, was once in a lifetime. The education was incredible, and again, they're doing great work within the culture and needs of the locals and the island.