A Travellerspoint blog

Equadorian Travels

Galapogos Islands

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Our time in Equador has been Unique. Like no other place on earth ( from what we´ve experianced so far!). Landing in Quito after getting acclimatised to the altitude we explored New Town, Old Town, and the TeleferiQo (a 2.5k ride on a sky tram almost to the craggy summit of volcan Pichincha 4800m.) Both Old Town and New Town with vast contrasts in tradition and its architecture. Old Town a most enchanting place stooped in tradition was favourite, and housed one of the most amazing buildings i have ever been in, the Basilica Del Voto National. A beautiful Cathedral with the most uplifting atmosphere caused by the bland marble and roit of colours in the stained glass, the architecture grand - quite a humbling place to be.
Well that was just the beggining of a treat to come - The Galapogos. If you ever have the opportunity to come to this place we can truly say it is a magical place. From the brilliant to bizarre! We stayed on 4 islands, San Christabol, Floreana, Isabella, and Santa Cruz amongst visiting many other smaller islands for a few hours.
There is just so much to tell you about this place I dont know where to start...

After sitting here for a few minutes in a dream thinking back, i decided to start with one of our favourite places, an 8 hour round hike to the summit of a volcano on Isabella and its lava fields. The volcano only erupted last year and Pablo our guide whittnessed this phenomena. His passionate description of the 9x11km basin eruption was encapturing. We learnt so much on this hike and the terrian of the lava fields was totally alien to us. The immense heat from the sun was being drawn towards us and retained by the dry, black, bare rock. In areas it was just like walking on broken bits of fired terracotta, or clinkers from an open fire. Pablo showed us how all the different formations were created, from lava rivers, explosions, tunnells, lavafalls, wind, crusts cooling ontop of others, sulphur steam etc. The wierd thing you could still feel pockets of hot air and moisture comming out of some crevises where it is still active. Amazingly there were signs of life starting to emerge on this baran area, ferns forming, and lava lizzards scuttling from place to place.
The snorkeling in the Galapogos was a first for us both and this was so exciting. We kept on laughing at eachother-not the best thing to do with your head underwater trying to breathe through a tube, a few mouthfulls of salty sea water later we was enjoyiong the treasures of the marine life. Abundant with sealions, numerous fish, marine iguanas, rays, starfish, and sharks! Unforgettable and quite scary initially.
Other things the Galapogos had to offer us was the Tourtise sancturarys, Lonesome George a hero! these graceful characters a pleasure to sit and watch for hours. A thrilling downhill bike ride avoiding the potholes whilst admiring the scenery with its different contrasting plateus. Oh, the birds- blue footed boobies, frigates, galapogops penguins very cute and too many more to mention. Kayacking to see turtles, rays and lots of sharks taking their daily rest. Abundant wildlife, marine life, bird life, and unique scenery. And if you dont visit the Galapogos to see all this (but why wouldnt you!) visit it for it beaches, these are a paradise on earth, the prettiest we have ever whittnessed. Got to be seen to be believed!
Everything we expected and more.
PS.
Hi and Thankyou to all for your kind messages sent via e-mail to us throught this site. We are unable to write back as it has a no reply policy through this site for some reason-thinking of you. Lots of love to all family and friends. XX
PPS.
More photos on the way,Promise!

Posted by CarrieSean 10:14 Archived in Ecuador Tagged luxury_travel Comments (4)

Peru

Was it altitude disiness or the excitement?!

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Well, what a contrast to Costa Rica. The humidity very dry and landscape rugged and harsh, but still very beautiful.
The Peruvian people have so much character, spending our quiter times (the few we had - GAP tours keep you yery busy!) people watching. Such simple lives and so happy. A couple of things we have noticed since the beginning of our travels are the children are so happy, having seen or heard none cry or whinge. Bliss! The other is we hav´nt seen pushchairs or prams. The parents tend to keep them close by carrying them on their backs wrapped with cloth and tied on, or in their arms until their old enough to cope for themselves. What better form of protection until you can run about and then cause chaos?! A very nice way of life.
We spent a couple of days in Miraflores-Lima, before setting off on the group tour. I think we gave these people some amusement with our extremely pale skin, very sun bleached blonde hair with braids and long hair on a bloke - whatever next! Quite funny. Having a tour of the city initially by a local taxi guy gave us a good insight of what to see and do in this beautiful costal area. One of the highlights there being our visit to one of the excavation sites of a pyramid where only last year they found 3 mummies.
Our GAP group for the Peru tour was good, meeting more like minded people meant everyone got on well.
One of the first main areas we visited was Lake Titicaca, this was one of the highest altitude areas we stayed so it took quite a bit of getting used to. Tingly hands and feet, disiness if any sudden movements were made and extremely short of breath if you tried walking too fast. Slow and easy was the only pace there. We visited a couple of small islands on the lake and had a home stay with Mama Nancy and her family, on Amantani Island. She made us feel most welcome. Speaking mostly in Quechua, we learnt a few words and got by nicely with Mama Nancys fantastic cooking & their very basic way of life. In the evening we was invited to the village hall for live music and dancing. Mama Nancy helped us dress in traditional Andean clothing - layers upon layers (why in such a hot climate?) and we had a great time. Whilst on Lake Titicaca we visited the floating reed islands of the Uros People. Interesting way of life where if they fall out with whom their living with on the island they simply saw it in half and float off to a new bit of lake!
My first experiance of camping was a success on the Inca Trail. The sacred valley was just extraordinary. A very special place to have spent time in, learning part of the history along the way from our brilliant guides Whan and Fernando. Many early mornings the earliest being 3am meant that we made Macchu Picchu in good time. The hike was hard work, but sheer determination, strength both physically and mentally, and support all around kept us all plodding on to see such amazing scenery and ruins. Dead Womans Pass reached 4200m the highest point of the trail. Macchu Picchu itself was enchanting and amazing.
We spent time in the Amazon jungle Eco lodges. Fun? Yes, but it did take a bit of getting uesd to only having 3 walls and no doors! The open side looked out on to the jungle having on protection from the elements, monkeys, birds and big bugs. Its suprising how safe you feel under a mosquito net!! A beautiful place. Several treks ivolved us visiting a Shamans medicinal garden, Parana fishing, Treetop lookout, katamaran over the lake, clay cliffs where we saw red mackaws feeding, and several excursions on the river.
Our time spent in Peru has left us with memories and experiances that will last a lifetime.

Posted by CarrieSean 06:57 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Costa Rica Tour

Mind Blowing!!

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Hi all
The Costa Rica part of the journey was excellent - out of this world. The group was fantastic and we all got on really well. The things we saw were unforgettable. Trecking in jungles, river tours, white water rafting, canyoneering, horseback riding, deep sea fishing: catching a 30lb mahi mahi! for tea(Sean), surfing and boogieboarding (me), La Fortune volcano base visit where at night we watched the volcano erupt! these were just some of the activities twe took part in. We have seen a huge variety of animals(monkeys-sweet), insects(tarantulars!), fauna, landscapes, birds and communities over the past few weeks - totally mindblowing and each one a new experiance leaving us with many different emotions.
When we have a few more hours on our hands we will try to suss out how to put a few more images on? Still a novice at this. A big thankyou to those that left message your kind wishes to us for the year.

Love to all, Take care
Carrie and sean xxxx

Posted by CarrieSean 15:48 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged luxury_travel Comments (7)

Costa Rica Tour

sunny 0 °C

Hi all
The Costa Rica part of the journey was excellent - out of this world. The group was fantastic and we all got on really well. The things we saw were unforgettable. Trecking in jungles, river tours, white water rafting, canyoneering, horseback riding, deep sea fishing: catching a 30lb mahi mahi! for tea(Sean), surfing and boogieboarding (me), La Fortune volcano base visit where at night we watched the volcano erupt! these were just some of the activities twe took part in. We have seen a huge variety of animals(monkeys-sweet), insects(tarantulars!), fauna, landscapes, birds and communities over the past few weeks - totally mindblowing and each one a new experiance leaving us with many different emotions.
When we have a few more hours on our hands we will try to suss out how to put a few more images on? Still a novice at this. A big thankyou to those that left message your kind wishes to us for the year.

Love and luck to all,
Carrie and Sean XX

Posted by CarrieSean 00:00 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

Full of emotions

Did I pack that?

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Shortly off on our adventure. Sorry to those of whom we didnt get chance to say our farewells to and catch up before we set off for the year but we look forward to meeting up on our return in 2010.
Love to family and friends for the whole year - we'll miss you. Keep us up to date with life back home or any helpful advice /contacts by leaving any messages for us on this blog or at carrieannefunnell@yahoo.co.uk
Have a happy, enjoyable and successful 2009!
If this doesn't get updated too much in the first 3 months it is not because we have forgotten everyone back home! We are pretty full on for the first leg of our journey.
(Had better finish packing now)
Take care XX

Posted by CarrieSean 23:33 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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