40 Photos

Pirates & Giants
Ecuador and Peru Family Trip

Machu Picchu, PeruMachu Picchu, Peru (Yvonne Smith)
After breakfast we board a traditional style bus which has seats and a roof but no sides and we ascend to the highlands where we visit another giant tortoise sanctuary. This provides another great opportunity to interact with these remarkable animals at close range in their natural environment. After this, we embark on a short hike to unique rock formations as well as caves and rock carvings which are believed to have been used as a hiding place by pirates and buccaneers. They are said to have chosen Floreana as a hide-out because it is one of the only Galapagos Islands to have a natural fresh-water source. By late morning, we board another fast boat (as they call them) to our next destination, Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest of the Galapagos Islands and contributes 60% of the total land mass. Our accommodation is a little adobe style building fronting on a large sand beach. After lunch, we travel by water taxi and are taken to an old lava flow which extends out into the ocean, La Tintorenas. This is home to colonies of both sea lions and marine iquanas. The marine iguanas are particularly abundant and we see everything from 3 inch babies to 2 foot daddies. As we return from La Tintorenas, we drop anchor and jump over the side for another snorkel. We are hoping that the sea lions will join us for a swim but we didn't see any in the water - we settle for more sea turtles, rays and brilliant fish instead. On our boat ride back we pass a colony of blue-footed boobies (still the boys favorite joke) and are even treated to an appearance by the rare Galapagos penguin. To end our day, we head back to the lodge and the boys play in the sand and surf before bed.

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