Documenting the Favorites: Galapagos Edition

Catherine Putzier
October 25, 2021

We are over halfway done with our time in Ecuador! Crazy, right? People aren’t joking when they say that time flies when you are studying abroad. I feel like every time I blink, another week has gone by. My stay here has been absolutely action-packed with class field trips, writing papers, squeezing in surfing sessions, getting my open water scuba certification, and hanging out with friends. At times, it can be exhausting, but in the best way possible!

Since we’ve had two months to settle into the Galápagos and Ecuadorian life, I thought now would be a great time to check in on what my classmates are enjoying about this country and what they are missing from back home. The other day at dinner I posed the following questions to my friends, and here’s what they had to say:

Have you discovered any new Ecuadorian snacks that you like?

  • Patacones (Fried plantains that come with a lot of meals here in the Galapagos)
     
  • Tortilla de Yuca (A delicious roll of fried yuca that is commonly served at breakfast)
     
  • Amor Galletas (A brand of cookie wafers that are in every corner store. They are so addicting!)
     
  • Empanadas (There are so many different small places where you can buy empanadas here on the islands)
     
  • Chancha (A form of toasted chulpe corn)

Do you have a favorite Galápagos meal?

  • Ceviche (A fish soup with lots of lime or lemon and fresh vegetables. It’s my personal favorite!)
     
  • All of them…Anything that has rice and a type of plantain! (The most common meal here seems to be chicken or fish with rice, plantains and a tiny salad)
     
  • Corviche (A ball of fried green plantains with fish inside)

Do you miss any food from the US?

  •  Shake Shack and Jimmy Johns
     
  •  Familiar milk and cheese products (The most common cheese here is called queso fresco. It’s pretty hard to find things like sharp chedder, colby jack, etc.)
     
  •  Microwave popcorn (We were able to find it in one store on Santa Cruz, but it’s not on San Cristóbal)
     
  •  I miss having more vegetarian options! It’s possible to be vegetarian or vegan here, but a lot of the meals are repetitive.
     
  •  Thai and Indian food!
     
  •  It’s hard to find spicy food here. Most dishes are fairly mild. The best option for seasoning them is to use the aji sauce that most restaurants make available on the table, but aji isn’t that spicey either.

What is your go-to after-class activity?

  • Taking a nap
     
  •  Snorkeling at Tijeretas (A bay where you can find rays, iguanas, sea turtles and sea lions)
     
  •  Relaxing on the beach at Playa Mann
     
  •  Going for a run or to the gym
     
  •  Surfing
     
  •  Hanging out on our hostal’s terrace, playing guitar, working on homework or journaling

What is the best excursion you’ve been on so far?

  • Our field ecology trip to Española Island. There were so many amazing birds including giant, fluffy juvenile albatrosses!
     
  • Our marine biology field trip when we dived at Kicker Rock. We saw dolphins while traveling there and back, it was our first hammerhead shark sighting, and we got to observe how macroinvertebrate species changed along the underwater rock face.
     
  • The second day that we were here in the Galapagos, we saw orcas on our marine biology field trip!
     
  • Our IES field trip to Punta Pucuna because we got to snorkel with a pod of dolphins.

Catherine Putzier

<p>Hello everyone! My name is Catherine Putzier and I’m a senior at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), where I am studying Environmental Science with a concentration in Biology. While on my home turf, you can find me rock climbing at a local crag, playing a game of pickup soccer, or gushing about my three adorable nephews and one adorable niece. I love a good adventure and can’t wait to share about the Galapagos semester program!</p>

Home university:
University of St. Thomas (MN)
Hometown:
St. Paul, MN
Major:
Environmental Studies
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