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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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.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
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.