Tour of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador ~ May 31st - June 10th, 2018

Trip Leader - Jeff Koss

The Space Coast Ski & Travel Club arranged a travel adventure to one of the top bucket list sites in the World—Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. This was a 10-day adventure with 2-days touring the Ecuadorian Capital of Quito plus a 7-night all-inclusive cruise on the 48-passenger ship Celebrity Xperience. A spectacular trip it turned out to be.

The adventure started with international air from Miami, Orlando, or Melbourne, Florida, arriving on 31 May 2018. The travelers arranged their own international air to Quito, the Capitol of Ecuador, and shuttles were arranged by Celebrity to take each traveler to the JW Marriott in central Quito. The group of 12 travelers met for breakfast the next morning and then boarded a bus for an 8-hour city tour and a cultural museum tour located on the Equator. Everyone had the opportunity to straddle the hemispheres. And yes, water does drain in opposite directions above and below the Equator.

The group flew on 2 June to Baltra Island, Galapagos, to join our cruise ship. The selected cruise traveled the Northern Loop Islands of Baltra, Rabida, Isabela, Fernandina, Santiago, Bartolome, Genovesa and Santa Cruz. Twice daily guided expeditions with the Naturalist staff were made at the various island landing locations from Zodiacs. These expeditions included hikes to observe the fascinating bird, mammal and reptilian wildlife that exist free and fearless of humans. Beach and deep water snorkeling opportunities to swim with the sea turtles and sea lions were a highlight. Kayaking along the cliffs and shorelines provided another view of the wildlife and volcanic landscapes. The four Galapagos National Park Naturalists onboard the Xperience provided daily briefings on the unique environments that helped form Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. The guides also provided individual chats on history, wildlife and geology of these fascinating islands in the Pacific.

After we disembarked the Xperience, we had one last night in Quito before traveling home. Celebrity Group Services provided excellent trip planning and travel execution support. Perhaps another Galapagos trip is in the club's near future. A southern cruise of the islands to include Punta Espinoza and southern Ecuador with the Avenue of the Volcanoes back north to Quito would be a new areas to see.

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