The Galápagos Islands Day 11 & 12

Saturday, April 16th, 2022 & Sunday, April 17th, 2022

Saturday, April 16th, 2022

Well, after the canceled American Airlines flight we were able to rebook for a flight to Miami, Florida leaving Saturday afternoon. Of course this flight still had us missing our connections so there was no way we were going to make it home Saturday. We also checked every other airline and their available flight times were even worse! The fact that we were able to get a later flight out of Quito on Saturday meant we didn’t have to spend the money for another COVID-19 test. To get back in the United States the test was only good for 24 hours! It was either spend another night at the hotel we were and change rooms, take another COVID test or get to Miami Saturday evening and spend the night there and fly home Sunday morning. We chose flying to Miami on Saturday.

Since our flight was leaving early afternoon we were able to have breakfast at the hotel.

Morning at our hotel

We enjoyed our last day of fresh fruit! We were sitting in the restaurant with others from our group when we felt the room shaking and experienced our first earthquake tremor. We all froze and weren’t sure what to do next! The wait staff went on about their business and weren’t bothered. We asked about it and they told us they have these tremors almost every day! When you live in Ohio you don’t experience those things.

Those of us on the afternoon flight had a mid-morning bus ride to the airport so we would be there three hours in advance. Below are pictures taken from the bus on our way to the airport!

We were told that Ecuador required you be at the airport three hours in advance for international flights. Our arrival so early gave us time to shop at the airport! We purchased shirts again since we would have an extra night in Miami!

Our flight left Quito on time.

We arrived in Miami and went through customs without any problems. We waited for our hotel shuttle and were finally settled in our hotel room by 10:00 PM.

Sunday, April 17th, 2022

We were up by 6:30 AM so we could catch the 7:15 AM shuttle to take us back to the Miami airport for our 9:43 AM flight to Columbus. This flight also left on time! Goodbye Miami!

Hello Columbus! We arrived home about sixteen hours later than we were originally scheduled.

It was a fantastic ten days in Quito, Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. Everyday was a new adventure and we will treasure those experiences and the new friends that we made on this trip. Having a small group was perfect and we enjoyed getting to know each other! A big thank you to our guide, Fernando, for his patience, knowledge, and words of wisdom.

Road Scholar Travelers

The Galápagos Islands Day 10

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Most of our group got up for a 6:00 AM dinghy ride to North Seymour Island. It was a dry landing and walk. Before leaving the yacht we saw a Galápagos shark swimming around!

Shark swimming.

North Seymour was a major nesting area for Blue-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds. We saw some Blue-footed Boobies dancing in a circle. We did spot a few iguanas, both marine and land.

Palo Santo Trees & Prickly Pear Cacti

We also saw some sea lions still snoozing and relaxing.

There were swallow-tailed gulls also on the island.

As we walked we saw Magnificent Frigatebirds as well as the Blue-footed Boobies.

Blue-footed Booby and Magnificent Frigatebird

The Magnificent Frigatebird males have a red throat pouch that inflates. This is called a gular pouch that the male frigatebirds use to attract females. We saw many males trying to get the females attentions.

There were many juvenile Magnificent Frigatebirds around the area and on the nests.

The males and females frigates take turns on the nest. We observed more males sitting than females.

There were Blue-footed boobies and they had nests too. One way to tell the difference between a male and female is the color of their feet. A female has deeper blue hued feet. The females are also a little larger in size so they can carry more food. The male whistles and the female makes more of a honking/braying sound. We heard both as we walked around. The females have larger pupils and the males have more of pinpoint pupils.

Blue-footed Boobies

The dinghy took us back to the Tip Top V for the last time.

After breakfast we packed up and headed for our dinghy ride to take us to the pier for our bus ride to the airport on Baltra Island. At the airport we checked in and before we went through security we said goodbye to our Naturalist and Galápagos guide Fernando.

Our group!

Taking off from the airport in Baltra Island.

Our flight from Baltra to Quito had a stop in Guayaquil. Some passengers got off and others got on.

Flying over Guayaquil, Ecuador

We got a good view of Quito as we were coming into land.

Quito, Ecuador

Patricia met us at the airport when we arrived. It was good to see a familiar face again. We headed to our hotel, Hosteria Rincon de Puembo and later had our farewell dinner with our group. We said our goodbyes and we have each other’s emails so we can keep in touch!

Looking out at town from our hotel.

We set our alarms to get up a little after 2:00 AM because our flight was at 6:40 AM. Thank goodness Susie still had her phone on and saw that our flight was canceled. She let the rest of us know. We all were scurrying to rebook and figure out our flights. It became a restless night once we figured out our route home.

The Galápagos Islands Day 3

Friday, April 8, 2022

This morning we were up by 5:15 AM to get ready and have our luggage outside our hotel door by 6:00 AM. We checked out of our hotel and headed for the Quito airport by 6:30 AM.

Our flight to the Galápagos Islands made a stop in Guayaquil, Ecuador to let some passengers off and pick up passengers. We stayed in our seats.

When our plane landed at the airport on Baltra Island, we went through Immigration, picked up our luggage and then we were met by our naturalist Galápagos Group Leader, Fernando!

Fernando lead our group of 14 to the bus that took us to the pier where we boarded a dinghy that took us to our yacht for the week, the Tip Top V!

When we got off the dinghy, we were welcomed by our cruise director, Gabriella.

We visited our cabin and unpacked. On our way to our cabin we saw a squadron of golden rays!

Golden rays

After unpacking, we had lunch together. It was our first meal on the ship and if it was any indication of what the rest of our meals would taste like, we would be eating very well! We can tell you our meals were delicious and varied! After lunch we had our safety drill and orientation.


Our yacht navigated to Mosquera Islet. It was located between Baltra and North Seymour. We boarded a dinghy and had a wet landing on the beach. A wet landing meant that you would be getting your feet and possibly your legs up to your knees wet. You could wear your aqua socks or go barefoot. Mosquera was a relatively flat, white, sandy island with many sea lions and sally lightfoot crabs. We also saw some frigates flying around.

Bryde’s whale skeleton

Our first sunset at sea!

First Sunset

Every evening we had a briefing with our guide, Fernando, where he would explain our schedule for the next day.

This evening we had a welcome cocktail with the ship’s crew.

Introduction to our ship’s crew.

The evening concluded with a movie called “The Rock: Galápagos in WWII”. It was an interesting documentary about the United States base built on Baltra Island.

The Rock: Galápagos in WWII

The Galápagos Islands Day 2

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Our group met this morning at 8:30 AM for an introduction of each other and Patricia gave us an overview of our day! There are 13 of us from around the U.S. and Gonzalo with Holbrook Travel will be with us also!

We left the hotel around 9:15 AM and our driver dropped us off in the old town of Quito which is an UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site. Quito is the capital city of Ecuador. It is located between mountain peaks and is at an elevation of over 9,000 feet so it was important to drink plenty of water and take it easy as we walked the city so we didn’t suffer from altitude sickness.

Our first visit was to the museum Casa Del Alabado.

The museum held a collection of over 5,000 objects that were created from various materials and gave a vast information about the cultures that lived in Ecuador from 7,000 BC and 1530 AD. Also, the museum’s collection best represents archaeological possessions of Ecuador.

Below are a few of the items in the museum.

It was fun to see a couple of school groups touring the museum. We also saw them creating their own artifacts made from clay.

As we walked to our next stop, we saw stores selling spices and the San Francisco Plaza.

We visited the Capilla de Cantuna. This chapel was one of the first built after the Spanish conquest in the 16th century.

The Church and Convent of St. Frances was our next visit. This complex was part of Quito’s UNESCO area. It encompassed 13 cloisters, 3 churches, a plaza, over 3,500 works of religious art, and a library with thousands of books and historic documents. We walked through the main courtyard at the Basilica of San Francisco which was built between 1573-1581.

We then climbed up to the second level of the courtyard and then up to the choir stalls of the church. From this location we could look out below to the interior of the church and its altar.

The front facade of the Basilica of San Francisco.

There were over 20 churches just in the historic area of Quito. As we were walking we saw five churches within several blocks! We went in the Jesuit church, Church of the Society of Jesus or to the locals it was the Church of La Compañía. Photos were not allowed but this church was filled with gold leaf and was with ornate details of the Baroque style. It took over 150 years to build this church and it was completed in 1765. It was beautiful.

The Virgin of El Panecillo or the Virgin of Quito can be seen on top of El Panecillo, a hill in the center of Quito. The statue of a winged Virgin Mary was made of aluminum by a Spanish sculptor, Agustin de la Herrán Matorras. It was placed on top of its base in 1975 with a total height of 135 feet.

As we continued our walk in the historic center we passed by the Carondelet Palace (built in the 1500s) which was the seat of the government for the Republic of Ecuador and on its 3rd floor was the residential area for the President of Ecuador.

The Palace was located on the Plaza Grande.

We had a delicious lunch at a restaurant not far from the Carondelet Palace. Our dessert was served by a penitent who was dressed in a purple robe and purple-pointed hood. In Quito you would see a parade of penitents for a Good Friday procession. We had our very own at lunch!

Our group of travelers, minus Dave who took the pictures!

After lunch we met our bus driver and headed to Capilla del Hombre to learn about the works of Oswaldo Guayasamin, a famous Ecuadorian artist!

As our bus headed back to the hotel we noticed the amount of wires on the poles. To us it appeared as a tangled mess! You can decide for yourself.

We had time to freshen up before Juan Carlos Valarezo gave a lecture on past, present, and future of Ecuador. His talk was very informative and we learned a lot.

Tomorrow we fly to the Galápagos Islands!

The Galápagos Islands Day 1

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

We left Columbus on time for our first flight to Miami, Florida and we were so excited to board our next flight that would take us to Quito, Ecuador for our adventure to begin!

We arrived in Quito on time and met our Road Scholar guide Patricia! There were five of us on this flight. Tomorrow morning we would meet the rest of our group that would be together for the next nine days!

Patricia gave us information about Quito as we traveled on our bus from the airport to our hotel in Quito. It was a 45 minute ride to the hotel where we would be staying for two nights. Our bus driver, Lanning, was with us for our time in Quito. The check-in process at the Sheraton Hotel was easy and we were in our room to get some rest from our day of traveling!

Our room was a suite so we had plenty of room.