Posts Tagged ‘ecuador’

May 18, 2016

The Galapagos Alphabet

Every family has some kind of tradition that works its way into every adventure that they go on. One family that just traveled to the Galapagos for a family vacation has shared with us one of their traditions! This alphabet is not only a list that is fun to put together, it helps create a list of memories that you will always be able to look back on. We’ll be incorporating this into our next family vacations! What kind of fun traditions does your family have for when on vacation?


A – AWESOME ADVENTURE! Albatross Hotel, a’a’ lava, ani (invasive black bird), airplanes that were big and very small


B – Blue-footed booby (yes, Eric, their feet are really blue), big bees, brown pelicans, Bartoleme Island, brackish pools on Isabela, Baltra (an island with only an airport), biking twice (Eric thrice), brachycereus (lava) cactus


C – Caipirinha drink (lime, sugar cane and rum), cows, carpenter bees, Cheryl looking for her glasses when they were on her head, Charles Darwin traveled here, candlebra cactus, coffee (the good stuff is exported), cilantro (not for Susan and Cheryl), Cuenca! (Wilson’s hometown)


D – “Daco pull your shade!” diving boobies, “don’t drink the water!”, dolphins jumping, Daphne Major (site of Beak of the Finch book), delicious fish dishes


E- Ecuador, equator nearby, El Nino weather (we had no rain), egrets, endemic (only found in one place), El Garrapatero Bay (we biked there, swam, and rambled among the rocks), EARTHQUAKE (7.8) which we felt during dinner in Quito


F – Fabio our fabulous Santa Cruz guide, frigate birds, finches (13 kinds), ferry to Santa Cruz, fantastically colored flamingos, flying fish, Favian and Maria’s house for dinner, flan frequently for dessert, friendly people


G – GALAPAGOS, geckos, Guayaquil (largest city in Ecuador), Gabe rolling off the boat seat and staying asleep, green sea turtles slowly swimming, ghost crabs


H – Hermit crab, HOT and HOTTER (the two seasons), high humidity, hibiscus flowers, hiking on marked trails, Himalayan blackberry (invasive on Santa Cruz – very sad!)


I – Isabela- our favorite island, Iguana Crossing Hotel, internet access sometimes, iguanas of all sizes, iguana crossing sign where the iguanas really crossed – can they read?


J – Jon eating four large servings of paella, Junior teaching everyone how to surf (lie down, paddle, paddle, paddle, stand up. Easy)


K – Kayaking on Academy Bay (Wilson and Susan, Gabe and Fabio, Tony and Jon, Eric and Cheryl), king angelfish


L – Lighted lava tunnel, lava gull, land iguana (only seen at the Darwin Research Center), lava lizards doing pushups, lichens, the lobster, Lava Java coffee


M – MULTI SPORT ADVENTURE, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, mangroves, magma, moss (hanging from the trees), monarch butterfly, matrimonial rooms in the hotel,


N – Nazca Booby (the black and white one), night sky with tons of stars, noddy (brown), no shadow at noon (since the sun is right overhead)


O – Omelets, opuntia (prickly-pear) cactus, orange Fanta, overweight luggage


P – Perfect Paella, panga with a sleeping sea lion, Puerto Ayora, potato soup (sopa de pata – good for hangovers), puffer fish who didn’t puff, pens of baby tortoises, penguinos at the equator, pahoehoe lava, Pablo (Eric’s snorkel helper)


Q – Quito, questions for our guides, constantly!


R – Reef sharks (white and black tipped which nap during the day and hunt at night – we hope), red-billed tropicbird


S – Stingrays, storm petrols, snorkeling three times! Speedboat, sunburn, Sacajewa one dollar coins, Santa Cruz Island, Susan and Gabe’s ocean walk, stargazing with Wilson, Southern Cross constellation, swimming with sea lions, no seasickness, swallow tailed gull that flies at night, swimming in the hotel pools


T – Tortugas (tortoises)! Texas t-shirt, Tintoreras Island, tiny 10 seater plane with earmuffs, Tortoise Breeding Center

Batch 2 131

U – Underwater camera, used TP goes in wastebasket, use USA money everywhere


V – Very, very humid! vast ocean views

Mancuso 2

W – WILSON– our wonderful guide, wahoo (delicious fish), Wall of Tears (built by convicts), Whale Bay walk and snorkel, wading in the ocean


X – eXtra biking by Eric


Y – Yellow warbler, yellow-tailed surgeon fish, yellow-crowned night heron.


Z – Zandoli (word for lizard in Creole)


So there are at least 26 memories that come with going to the Galapagos on a family vacation!

April 21, 2016

An Update on Ecuador

On April 18 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador. Many communities were affected by the earthquake and the places that were hit the hardest were the coastal provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabi.

We have been in contact with our friends and partners in Ecuador and while they are all safe it is clear that this is a serious disaster affecting much of the country and we are saddened by the destruction that has been caused. We will keep the country in our thoughts as the search for people continues. We hope that you do the same.

Here is an update from one of our partners:

“Our spirit is touched so deeply and we keep seeing so much pain and misery. On the other hand, it is sooooo amazing the support we have received from other countries, but mostly the compassion, resilience and solidarity that we Ecuadorians have shown this week. People have come through in such a great way it brings everybody tears and emotions of how these terrible events bring the best in people!”

We appreciate people reaching out to check on how our partners in Ecuador are doing. We’re happy that they are ok, but humanitarian efforts are still needed.

We checked with our friends to see who was doing good work to help out and here is a list that you could contribute to:

Ecuadorian Red Cross – Emergency Fund:

Support UNICEF’s Earthquake Relief Efforts in Ecuador:

World Vision – Disaster Relief Fund:

OXFAM – Emergency Appeal Ecuador Earthquake:

January 9, 2012

Top Five Reasons to go to the Galapagos (aka ECUADOR!)

Happiness in Ecuador

Funny, none of these particular reasons have to do with the Galapagos Islands. For years we’ve fielded calls from families wanting to go to the Galapagos. Yes, it is a really cool place to go. Do you want to spend your whole vacation in the islands? No. Why? Because mainland Ecuador has so much to offer – and you are flying through there anyway . Don’t miss out on what most of our families say is the very best part of their adventure! Why?

1) If you buzz right through to get to the islands you’re wasting no-value travel time and overnights to your precious vacation schedule. Stop and smell the roses – literally! Ecuador is one of the world’s biggest exporter of roses. See rose plantations and orchid gardens en your way to some real adventure. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to drag you through museums.

2) Did you know some of the world’s coolest rock climbing is right here in mainland Ecuador? We have an expert climber who has prepared a really cool beginner spot – just for us – for you to try your hand at rock climbing. Are you experienced in this sport? We have an option to knock your socks off.

3) While you are investing in your family memories you may also be interested in showing your kids how meaningful it can be to give back to the world. We’ve partnered with a school full of gleeful children – and a school in need of support from those of us who have something to give. Come visit and start up a game of soccer with these great kids! We’re building a play ground and delivering supplies to the classroom – you can help!

4) Villages, markets, artisans, cobblestone streets, country lanes… the local people of Ecuador are some of the most hospitable people you will ever meet. The opportunity to learn about their traditions and crafts is a highlight of our family adventure in Ecuador.

5) SURPRISE! This is the best part. No one expects it, almost everyone loves it best of all. Mainland Ecuador is full of opportunities for horseback riding, hiking, tasting great food, learning a new craft, and meeting interesting people. But we don’t want to tell you everything you might see and do…come be surprised in Ecuador. We’ll add you to our long list of families who found the adventure of a lifetime in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.