It’s astounding just how many utterly stunning and unique places there are on this planet. It’s no surprise; however, the Galapagos happens to be one of them. The background of thick volcanic rocks made the flowers, cactus, and brightly colored animals all shine. The visibility through the clear turquoise water was not even necessary since the sea turtles, sharks, sting rays, and sea lions swam, literally, within arm’s reach of me while I was snorkeling. The temperature, in the low 70’s with partly cloudy skies, was perfect for the 9.9 mile hike we took to the world’s second largest crater. I had mild goose bumps while sitting on the black rocks of the beach next to the sea lions at sunset waiting for freshly made empanadas, but I don’t think it was from the slight chill in the air.
We may have complained and joked about taking one too many caminatas (hikes) but everyone was happy to partake in seeing breathtaking views and having close encounters with my favorite animals. I hung out with turtles, and snapped pictures of the brightly colored crabs and oversized iguanas. We saw penguins, Darwin’s famous finches, rare doves, and our favorite… Blue Footed Boobies. We stayed in hotels and I managed to always get a shower that sprayed the entire bathroom with water, which, when mixed in with our dirty feet, created a runny mud. I passed out early ever night, exhausted and happy after the day’s adventures and excited in anticipation of those to come.
IES rarely lets us down and a large part of that has to do with our amazing coordinators. The entire office is incredibly nice and we love to travel with Rene and Gladys. They are not only two of the most baller and hysterical people ever, but they also truly care about each one of us and make an effort to listen to our opinions and help us out. They made our Galapagos experience both fun and funny!