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My Galapagos Islands Experience

Well traveled student, Cassandra Lund, writes about her experiences on her recent EF tour of  the Galapagos Islands.

Capturing the Chimborazo Volcano
The beautiful Chimborazo volcano overlooked the whole city of Riobamba. This picture was actually taken from the roof of our hotel! We had the perfect view of this amazing volcano and members of our group would visit the roof of our hotel several times throughout the day to see the volcano. On a clear day the volcano was so visible that it looked like a painting.

Chimborazo Volcano

Dan Nevill/Via Flickr

Getting to know Manuela the llama

Our group had decided to do the extension to Riobamba while in Ecuador. We were glad we did as soon as we arrived because we met Manuela, the llama that lived on the farm we were visiting. Our local guide, Trinidad, was grateful to have us there and willing to teach us about her life. We had the opportunity to meet many different farm animals, like Manuela. Manuela was as friendly as the family dog and everyone in our group loved her. She and Trinidad helped make our trip extra special, and it was one of the fondest memories I have from the trip.

Touring on a Chiva Bus

The Chiva Bus was another part of our extension in Riobamba. The Chiva Bus picked us up at our hotel and the adventure began! We were rode through Riobamba on the Chiva Bus, with lights flashing. The whole town loved seeing us and we waved to every person we saw on the street! This was many people’s favorite experience from the trip because we got to feel important in our musical bus. The Chiva Bus even dropped us off in the town square so we could dance with the locals!

Getting to hold a baby Guinea Pig 

This is another picture of one of the cute animals we met at Trinidad’s farm. This baby guinea pig was already comfortable with human contact and was fun to hold. There was a whole room of guinea pig adults and babies. I love animals, so being able to interact with them was something I enjoyed.

Via Cassandra

Thrilling festivities of the Quito Parade

While in Quito, on a local tour, we were lucky enough to see a parade for independence while visiting one of the main squares. The beautiful costumes and dancing were an added bonus to our trip and we were grateful to have been able to see this. There were many different costumes and dances being performed in the parade and it was heartwarming to see the people so proud of their culture.

Traveling to the Equator

Ecuador is associated, often, with the Equator. While in Ecuador we visited the Equator and the museum that is located there. At the museum, there were interesting activities as well as a history of the Indians that lived in Ecuador. Pictured is our local guide from the museum moving the sign so we could take pictures on the Equator line. At this museum we learned both about the history of Ecuador and its people.

Appreciating the wildlife: Turtles

The Galapagos was a dream for many on our tour. Our group was not disappointed at all with what we saw there. This tortoise was located in the Darwin Station on the island of Santa Cruz, also where our hotel was. There were many giant turtles located in the museum and they were able to roam around with each other in the safety of the station. Our group got to see turtles in the wild later in the trip.

Appreciating the wildlife: Sea lions on Seymour Island

Another one of the animals I wanted to see in the Galapagos was the Sea Lion. I was not let down because we saw a baby right in front of us on Seymour Island! The baby was a little shy and ran away shortly after we came up with cameras but we also saw many more on our trip. Seeing animals so close and in their natural environment was something no one on our trip will ever forget!

Appreciating the wildlife: Finally getting to see a Blue-footed Booby

The Blue-footed Booby was one of the animals I was most excited to see. We had seen these birds from afar the day before and I was excited that we got to see them up-close and with an egg! We also saw a family of Blue-footed Boobys later in the day. The birds were close enough to touch and this was an experience only available in the Galapagos!

Saying Good Bye to Ecuador

On our last few days in Ecuador we returned to Quito, the capital. We spent our very last day in Ecuador visiting the Cotopaxi National Park. We saw many different kinds of plant life here as well as a glacial lagoon. The volcano looked over us the whole time with clouds on top, showing us it’s great size. Cotopaxi was also visible on our plane ride back to United States, so it was the perfect icon for our goodbye to Ecuador.

(Editors Note: Cassandra Lund has traveled on more than fifteen EF tours and has more planned through 2013. Lund is a magazine journalism major at Temple University in Philadelphia, and she hopes to write for a travel magazine after her graduation in 2012.)

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