Galapagos – does paradise exist?

Long white sandy beaches, blue skies and crystal clear blue water. Sounds pretty much like paradise, doesn’t it? Our dear friend Google claims that too. Just check it yourself – takes you 10 seconds! Has to be right then. Another place it also describes perfectly is the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean a two hour flight east of Ecuador. So is this perhaps paradise?

Galapagos belongs to Ecuador and consists of 18 islands of which I think 3-4 are inhabited. The rest are either very small or in the National Park of Galapagos which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The reason for that is the marine life here. There are LOTS of different animals, both on and off land. Here you can find the biggest turtles in the world and a huge variety of birds. Of course also lots of fish like different sharks and even orcas. It really is an epic place when comes to nature and wildlife. The fact that Charles Darwin spent some time of his year here to study the wildlife is probably proof enough. And just as paradise, according to Google, the beaches and waters here were beyond everything else, and trust me, I do have pretty much to compare with when it comes to paradise beaches.

Alone one week in this so called paradise. How was it? At first it was a blessing to put my feet in the incredible sand and dive in to the ocean and let the sun warm my skin. Also a relief to get away from the buzz in the capital Quito. But to be honest, and I’m an honest man, you get tired of picture perfect beaches. At least I do.  Luckily for me I met some fantastic people to share the days with. People from Poland, Hong Kong, Canada, Germany and The United States all gave color to my stay on the islands. Especially the guys from the US, I will meet up with them later this winter in Colombia. Travel is not only about the destination, but even more about the people along the way. The good (and sometimes bad) thing about traveling alone is that you have to make new friends pretty much every day. Sometimes perhaps you feel that you are not soulmates, but easily can kill some time together – but sometimes you hit the jackpot too!

So back to the start; does paradise exist? I still choose to believe in paradise, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a place – it’s a state of mind. It’s a feeling, situation or a moment where everything is just the way it should be. Since it’s not a place, you can’t search for it.  So how to find it? I believe the best way to find things here in life is to stop looking – and things will eventually come to you. Go with the flow, and make sure you enjoy the ride. Both small and big moments. Probably you’ll have more small than big. So make sure you also enjoy the small ones and you will live a happier life. Find happiness in less. When was the last time you reminded yourself of how lucky you are to be healthy and free from decease? (Which I really hope you are).

Don’t misunderstand me; I had a blast in the Galapagos, but at the same time I’m glad leaving. Should I leave some travel tips it must be to have at least two weeks. Also make sure you have the Advanced Diving Certificate. Galapagos is more than just a beach destination. If you really want to see the unique thing about Galapagos, make sure you spend a lot of time under water. Perhaps take a 4-7 day boat cruise. I went on a one-day-cruise for some snorkeling and beautiful islands, which suited my budget well this time.

Diversity is the key for a restless soul like me. I had a return ticket to Guayaquil in Ecuador, but no plan from there. The plan was to go somewhere in Peru and I chose between a surf and party place called Mancora, an alpine destination by name Huaraz or the capital Lima. I chose Lima, without any high expectations.

By the way, sorry for late blogpost but the wifi on Galapagos was weaker than my tolerance of seasickness.

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Galapagos Tortuga Bay

Unique for Galapagos

Adios Quito – hola Galapagos!

After three and a half day in Quito journey continues, but not according to the original plan. The plan was to stay on the mainland in the high altitudes before going to Peru. Though I must admit that temptation of some real summer, white beaches, crystal clear water and what many call paradise – became too strong. I’m off to Galapagos!

The good thing having absolutely NOTHING (but the flight to Ecuador) booked, makes room for a lot of freedom and spontaneity. Free like a bird! Quito has been fine, but since there will be colder and higher mountains the coming months to come in Peru, Bolivia and Chile I think this is a good decision. Diversity is always good.

So how was Quito? Definitely a beautiful city with great vibes, friendly people, good food and picturesque architecture, but I feel 3-4 days is enough. When I travel and “review” places I always ask myself: could I imaging living here? In this case the answer is no. Again, the keyword diversity is important for me. The weather is the same year round, no snow and no ocean. A restless soul like me needs four seasons. On the other hand I of course encourage to visit if you are nearby, for example before or after visiting Galapagos or Macchu Picchu in Peru – than this is perfect to acclimatize.

It’s 5 AM in the morning and soon I’m off to the airport to fly to Galapagos. Looking forward working on that tan!

Architecture

It’s not called Ecuador for nothing

Most people associate this country with an old song with the same name as the country. And it really lives up to the name. Just a short drive north of the city centre there is a place called Mitad del Mundo – or middle of the world if you like. Right here is the equator. Still a little jet lagged I woke up before the sun and made my way here. They say that early bird gets the worm – and I must say that it was true this time (as so many other times). I was first at the place and was soon to be accompanied by two young “hombre” from Colombia. Always nice to avoid the crowds when visiting tourist attractions. Regardless of visiting some special places I like getting up early. That special vibe in the morning when the streets are empty and the city has still to wake up is, besides sunset, my favorite part of the day

Today there were blue skies pretty much all day. It’s warm when the sun’s out, but after the equator I decided to go hiking to enjoy the view over Quito and also get some exercise and altitude acclimatization. I came to 4100 m.a.s.l and the air was both thinner and colder – but the views were not too shabby!

Now I’m a little confused where to go though. The first alternative is to stay on the mainland here in Ecuador, either in the mountains or perhaps I’ll go to the coast. I have to admit that after spending almost the entire summer in the mountains, it’s tempting to have a couple of days on the beach. Especially when Peru, Bolivia and Chile will bring even more, higher and colder mountains than here. The other alternative is something of a dream – Galapagos Islands outside Ecuador. The only bummer there are the prices. It’s said to be super expensive. But hey, you only live once.

Have you been to Galapagos?

Quito by sunset