Just back from…Ecuador and Colombia with Evie Oswald
WHAT COUNTRY DID YOU VISIT?
I visited Ecuador and Colombia.
HOW DID YOU GET THERE?
I flew with American Airlines via Miami into Quito. For the Galapagos Islands, I flew from Quito to San Cristobal (with a touchdown in Guayaquil). I then flew from Guayaquil to Bogota and on to Cartagena.
WHERE DID YOU GO?
I spent 2 nights in Quito, followed by a 7-night cruise in the Galapagos Islands. I then flew from Guayaquil to Bogota and spent a week there, and finally flew up to Cartagena for a week over Christmas.
HAD YOU BEEN BEFORE?
I had travelled to Bogota and Cartagena before, but not to Quito or the Galapagos Islands.
IF SO, ANY NOTABLE DIFFERENCES?
I had been to Cartagena before but not over Christmas, and it was a lively and vibrant place to spend Christmas. I’d definitely recommend it!
WHICH WAS YOUR FAVOURITE:
Place: The Galápagos Islands
Hotel: Casa Gangotena in Quito was beautiful!
Excursion: Dragon’s Hill (Cerro Dragon) on Santa Cruz Island I thought was spectacular – the contrasting colours and drastic scenery was really beautiful and spotting the land iguanas was really exiting.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?
Snorkelling in Punta Vicente Roca – this was an unforgettable experience! At one point I had 8 turtles swimming around me amongst numerous sea lions and along came a Galapagos penguin and a marine iguana to top it off!
WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES ALONG THE WAY?
I travelled on Silversea’s new ship, the Silver Origin, which was full of really pleasant surprises! Champagne in the room on arrival, spotting a small shark while snorkelling and a fabulous farewell party on board.
WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR TRAVELLERS WANTING TO VISIT THE SAME DESTINATIONS?
Don’t be put off by larger ships – 100 is the maximum that we work with in the Galápagos and for me it was absolutely fine – just the right amount of time socialising with others while also having enough privacy.
Take part in as many excursions as possible on your cruise. It may seem busy, but in my experience, there was still plenty of downtime on the ship even after having signed up to all the excursions and I wouldn’t have chosen to miss any of them!
IS THERE ANYTHING INDISPENSIBLE TO PACK OR PREPARE FOR?
Water/swimming shoes for snorkelling are very useful, and a few layers as it can get chilly at night. In Cartagena, you’ll need as cool clothes as possible as it is regularly above 30 degrees and humid.
ANY LOCAL SNACKS, DISHES OR DRINKS THAT SHOULD BE SAMPLED?
I was very pleasantly surprised by the Ecuadorian wine on board our cruise ship! Definitely ask to try some if you get the opportunity!
ANY RESTAURANT OR BAR RECOMMENDATIONS?
Serrezuela Shopping Centre in Cartagena is a really beautiful building – worth a visit just for this reason! It also has a number of really good restaurants, particularly on the terrace at the top where you can sit outside with a cocktail and have gorgeous views over the old city.
SUM UP YOUR TRIP IN A SENTENCE...
My trip was wildlife-packed, conservation-orientated yet wonderfully luxurious – not to mention a fabulous first exploration abroad after 2 years of Covid!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and really learn from the guides in The Galapagos. They are almost all from the islands themselves (it’s a national park rule!) so they really know their subjects and are usually very happy to chat and share the secrets of their precious islands with travellers.
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Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert
After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Sally Dodge - Travel Expert
A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.
Heloise Buxton - Travel Expert
Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.