Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda StancatiMy name is Debbie Maguire and I have been in the travel industry for almost 30 years. As a senior travel consultant with tripcentral.ca for the past 10 years, I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively.
My recent visit to the Galapagos Islands is by far my best trip yet and I would go back in a heartbeat! I can see why Charles Darwin never wanted to leave this unique and fascinating place when he was researching the finches, which would eventually lead him to publish his world-renowned papers on the Theory of Evolution.
I have snorkelled in the Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii and most of the Caribbean Islands, but nothing compares to experience of swimming with sea lions, penguins and giant sea turtles in their own natural habitat!
These gentle creatures are not afraid of man and are just as curious about us, as we are about them. The sea lions were incredibly playful as they swam circles around us and looked into our snorkel masks as if to say hello! What an amazing feeling to be swimming alongside giant sea turtles one minute and flipping around to play with the sea lions the next. I was glad I purchased a good quality underwater camera to be able to capture these moments forever.
As if the underwater adventures were not enough, each day also included breathtaking hikes. Each one of the islands in the Galapagos offers a unique landscape and an adventure that is different every day. One day you are on an island made mostly of lava rock and getting up close with giant iguanas resting beside 100’s of sunning bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs and the next you are on a lush island and sunbathing on the powdery white sand beaches with the sea lions.
Celebrity included all our meals, alcoholic drinks, first-rate naturalist guides on every outing, wetsuits, snorkel equipment, daily excursions and the gratuities for all the staff and the guides! Cabins were modern with comfy bedding, the food was plentiful and fresh, and every evening you got a first-rate presentation in the lounge of what we would be visiting the next day.
You could sign up for as many outings per day as you wanted and it was all included! We sailed with Celebrity Cruises aboard the Xpedition, which sails year round in the Galapagos and was built specifically with this task in mind. It is first class all the way! There are many smaller cruise lines and boats to choose from but dont be fooled … none compare to the Xpedition. It is the only one that is truly first class and all inclusive! Plus they have won many awards for being eco-friendly and have been recognized for their efforts to leave no carbon footprint on these unique and precious islands.
Some days we did a hike at 9:00am, came back to jump into our wetsuits to snorkel at 11:00am, back for lunch and siesta and then more snorkelling and hiking in the afternoon! They offer amazing experiences and excursions for all physical capabilities. We hiked with people in all age groups — from 30-80 years of age! It truly is for everyone!
If you can extend your stay it is worth visiting the pretty historical city of Quito, Equador, where you can take a day trip to the equator or visit one of the huge colorful markets for amazing bargains on leather, silver, blankets, etc.
For the more adventurous, be sure to plan a trip to Peru to visit the ancient 15th century Inca site of Machu Picchu!The memories of this trip will be with me forever! If you are tired of doing the same type of trip year after year, why not consider something different for your next “adventure!”If you want to experience the Galapagos, call me at 1-800-665-4981 ext. 7223 or email me for more information.