Expectation vs Reality

We never thought this trip would happen for us, but it did. No matter how much we read about the islands, the animals, and birds, our expectations didn’t prepare us for the reality of the surprisingly diverse and wonderful adventure in Paradise.

DSC06781

We always thought of beaches when we thought of the Galapagos Islands, but who could have imagined snorkeling from the red beach of Rabida Island?

Galapagos is more than beaches. We drove up into the green highlands of Santa Cruz Island to see the giant tortoises.

Galapagos is more than beaches. We drove up into the green highlands of Santa Cruz Island to see the giant tortoises.

We chose Ecoventura for their itinerary and excellent guides. In 7 days we visited 7 islands where we saw marine life and breeding colonies of birds; visited the giant Galapagos tortoises; walked, snorkeled, kayaked, and even visited mangrove inlets in pangas (small boats).

We split into 2 groups on outings with 9 or 10 people for each guide.

We split into 2 groups on outings with 9 or 10 people for each guide.

The pangas squeezed through the mangroves. In one spot, sea lions rested on low branches of the mangrove trees just over the water.

The pangas squeezed through the mangroves. In one spot, sea lions rested on low branches of the mangrove trees just over the water.

When we looked down into the water, we saw golden cownose rays (photo), green sea turtles, and Galapagos penguins.

When we looked down into the water, we saw golden cownose rays (photo), green sea turtles, and Galapagos penguins.

Our guide, Ivan, did more than name what we were seeing, he gave us information.

Our guide, Ivan, did more than name what we were seeing, he gave us information and taught a few of us the finer points of snorkeling.

Our guide, Jose, explained the context to better understand the ecology of the islands.

Our guide, Jose, explained the context to better understand the ecology of the islands.

IMG_9250

One night we were treated to a concert in honor of fellow passengers, John and Jane, who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Our guides magically transformed into rock stars. Musical instruments were guitar, teaspoons, and plastic water bottles filled with rice. Everyone danced.

We were surprised how different each island was from the others. Birds and reptiles vary from island to island. Tortoises can only be seen on half of the islands. The sharp-beaked ground finch is found only on Fernandina and Santiago Islands.

A helpful reference book, “Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands” by Andy Swash and Rob Still, helped us keep track of the many things we were seeing, including where to find them.

Despite all the research and preparation that we did before the trip, we found ourselves surprised at all the many unexpected wonders.

 

April 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Ecuador, South America - 2016 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Expectation vs Reality

  1. Annette says:

    What wonderful adventures you both have experienced. Fantastic

  2. This post has made me think we should plan a trip there one day. The wildlife sounds amazing.

  3. Cliff Mail says:

    That is the enjoyment of travel, the surprises. Looks like it was a great adventure and after all of your travels it would take something special to generate that special surprise factor.

  4. Jeannie Claypoole says:

    Joe and Beth
    Your posts echo how we felt about the Galapagos. Many unexpected wonders and the excitement
    of waiting for the next big surprise. Up until I went to Belize, Galapagos was the best snorkeling
    I’d ever experienced. Your posts make me want to go back and I think Dale feels the same way.
    Best wishes….jeannie

    • You’ve got us thinking about comparisons. While we enjoyed Galápagos very much and learned a lot, we think our walking safari in the Maasai Steppe, arranged by Mark Thornton Safaris, was our best so far.

  5. It’s never what you plan or expect, but this one seems wonderful just the same.

Tell us what you think, please.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s