Overseas Adventure Travel
Machu Picchu and Galapagos
May 11 through May 28, 2022


Due to the length of the review, it is in five parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top and bottom of each page.

Page 1:  Lima through Sacred Valley day 1
Page 2:  Sacred Valley day 2 through Machu Picchu day 2
Page 3:  Machu Picchu to Cusco for 2 days, Quito for 2 days
Page 4:  Quito day 3 through Galapagos day 2
Page 5:  Galapagos day 3 through Quito return to home


Day 15 - Galapagos day 3

Below is the schedule for the day
7:00 AM  Breakfast
8:00 AM  Dry landing on Bartolome
10:30 AM  Snorkel/beach time
12:00 PM  Lunch and Ceviche class
2:30 PM Snorkel at Sullivan Bay
4:00 PM Dry landing on Santiago Island
7:00 PM Dinner

This would be another active day, especially since we would be climbing to the top of the mountain that was in front of us.  I assumed that we would get a closeup view of the lighthouse.  It was also a cloudy day.  We hoped for some sun later.


There were a couple other boats anchored, so we would have company while doing our walk.  A group was already at the beginning of the steps to go up at 7:30 AM.

Bartolome Island is one of the most visited islands in the Galapagos.  A notable feature of Bartolome is Pinnacle Rock.  It is the core material of a volcano that has been eroded away by nature.  The rock is much more impressive from the other side of the island as we would find out later.

We put on our life jackets and headed for our dry landing.

Once again sea lions were blocking the dock, but we were able to maneuver around them.  I also took my best close up of a Sally Lightfoot Crab.


The view from the dock of Pinnacle Rock was much better.

As we walked up from the dock, we saw a blue footed booby.  It is a must-see bird when in the Galapagos.  I had hoped to be able to get some good pics of them, but this one was not in an ideal position and was too far away.  But seeing one might mean that there were more around.

This island was much different looking from the others we had been on.  Different vegetation and rock formations.  The first part of the walk was relatively flat.  We knew that wouldn’t last for long.


 This was a strange looking place but just fascinating. 


I had to get a closer look at the white ground cover.  It was an interesting looking and a pretty plant.

The stairway began to incline.  The fun had just begun.

There was a beautiful variety of cactus close to the path.  I hadn’t seen that one before.


The path continued up.  There were some beautiful rock formations on the mountain.


About halfway up, there was a landing for a scenic outlook.  It was also a great place to stop for a bit to catch your breath.  At least we were walking at close to sea level rather than 9,000+ feet like in Peru.


Further up we found another place to stop, take pics and catch our breath.  There were two stones there that could be picked up to see how much lighter the volcanic one was to the other.


I was just mesmerized by the beauty of this barren part of the island.  It was so different from anything I had seen.


We could see that we were getting close to the top and only had one last steep climb.

When we got to the top, we were rewarded with a gorgeous view of Pinnacle Rock and the rest of the island.  Daniel told us that this is a very popular photo opp and is also used in Galapagos marketing material.  I understand why.

We had to have our photos taken there.

We had to walk the final steps up to the lighthouse.  We needed a group photo after all the climbing.  Looking at my phone altimeter, we were only 348 feet above sea level.  It sure seemed like we had climbed higher.


Daniel pointed out a submerged volcano crater in the water below.

I took a lot of photos looking down on the unique landscape.  It was quite a site.


When we got back near the dock, the same blue footed booby was still on a rock too far away for good pics.

As we were leaving the dock, Edgar pointed at some boobies that were right in front of us on a ledge.  At last, we could get some decent photos of these unique birds.


When we got back to the boat, everyone was excited about the great island we had visited.  We were looking forward to our upcoming snorkel there.

After resting up for a while we were suited up and heading back to Bartolome Island to snorkel.  It turned out to be the best snorkel of the cruise.  We snorkeled around Pinnacle Rock, seeing penguins speeding by and even some sharks hanging around the bottom.

Before lunch we had a ceviche class.  The chef brought out all the ingredients and showed us the order to put them together to make the perfect ceviche.  He gave out small samples and told us that it would be our appetizer for lunch.  Yippee!  The ceviche was so good and the beer with it made it even better.


We met after lunch to discuss the afternoon’s activities.    We talked about the upcoming snorkel and since the boat wasn’t moving and we were just going to the the other side of Sullivan Bay, we decided that we would all pass on the snorkel.  This worked out well, so that we could begin the next landing an hour earlier and spend more time doing that activity.

As we approached Santiago Island, it looked different from any of the others we had been to.  The most obvious difference was that there were large cactus on this island.  Daniel told us that the cactus we were seeing were very old.  It takes a very long time in that environment for the seeds to take hold and grow with as little water they get and limited nutrients from the lava rock.  There were some young-looking plants, but he said they were probably at least five years old.


We would move into enclosed areas along the water looking for birds and any other life form.



It was an interesting looking place, and we were anxious to go ashore.

There were some pretty steep cliffs along the water.  We would have to find something a bit lower to step out on to the island.

I looked back across the water to Bartolome Island.  You can see how close it is from Santiago.


We continued cruising around the island and found a spot where we could dock.  We stepped out onto a large lava field.  The lava formations were amazing and so beautiful! 


We did have to be extra careful when walking on the lava.  Our shoes gripped it very well, but it could also grab your shoes and possibly trip you.  We were glad that Daniel told us to bring our walking sticks.  Walking on this type of lava is a different experience.


Santiago is the fourth largest island in the Galapagos and was formed by the combination of two shield volcanoes.  These are relatively low wide volcanoes that resemble the shape of a shield.  They made the largest and longest lava flow in the Galapagos.  The hill in the background is one of the shield volcanoes.  It created the newest flow.  Daniel said that the lava came from the base of it rather than the top.


The landscape is really surreal.  There were so many different patterns.





We started to look for images in the lava patterns. Someone thought this one looked like a sumo wrestler.  It kind of does.

When we got back to the boat, it was time for happy hour.  The third deck lounge area was filling up.  They only have seating for six people, but by squeezing three on each couch and using the end table, we had room for nine, plus one sitting on the stairs made ten.  Since Cathy had been the one sitting on the stairs, I switched with her as the party went on.  With one of the couples on the deck four lounge chairs, everyone was happy.  In addition to enjoying our beverages of choice, there was lots of talk about the day’s activities and showing the photos that had been taken.  Every happy hour was a fun time.  But then again, every time our group got together was a fun time.



Crew member, Enrique, brought us up a bowl of yucca balls.  So good!  We also had a lovely sunset.

I went up to look at the sky.  It was clear, but the bright mast light was still on.  I could still see the beauty of all the stars, especially the Southern Cross.  The next morning Howard told us that the light was eventually turned off and the stars were brilliant.

What we did see that Daniel had told us to look for was sharks swimming around the boat at night.  We didn’t think we would be able to see them, but sure enough we did.  We first saw one, then two of them were swimming together.  Probably not a good time to go swimming off the boat.


Day 16 - Galapagos day 4

At 2:00 AM the captain began our cruise south to the next island, Santa Fe.  We would arrive at 6:15 AM.  As we were told would happen, that section of open water was rougher than what we had experienced.  Being on the lowest deck worked out in our favor and we didn’t notice the rolling that much.  The deck 3 folks noticed it much more.  Moving while we were sleeping was a good way to get there.
Below was the day’s schedule.

7:00 AM  Breakfast
8:00 AM  Wet landing on Santa Fe
9:30 AM  Kayaking
10:00 AM  Snorkeling
12:00 PM  Lunch
3:00 PM  Dry landing on South Plaza
5:00 PM  Cocktail class
7:00 PM  Dinner

This would be our last full day of our adventure.  It was kind of sad that it was ending, and we might never see our new friends again.  Hopefully, that isn’t the case.  We did have another fun filled day of exploring two new islands and we were ready.  From a distance, Santa Fe looked totally different from any of the previous islands we had visited.  It is the oldest of all the Galapagos islands.  We could see that there was a large, protected lagoon in front of the beach.  That could make for a nice snorkel adventure later.


Normally we had 5 or 6 of us in each zodiac.  Everyone didn’t go on every landing or snorkel.  For some reason, the first zodiac was loaded down with 8 and we were on the second one with just three of us.  Almost like a private tour.


The soft sand made for an easy wet landing.

The beach we had landed on was covered with sea lions.  In fact, everywhere we walked had sea lions laying around or sleeping in the bushes.


As we walked away from the beach, the terrain became very rocky.  Unlike most of the islands we visited, the rocks were loose, and we had to be careful when stepping on them or resting our walking sticks. 

One of the endemic creatures we were looking for on Santa Fe was the Galapagos Santa Fe Iguanas.  They are only found on this island, hence their name.  It wasn’t long before we saw our first one.

We soon saw another one and everyone was snapping away.


The island also has hybri iguanas, marine amd Santa Fe mix.

The island had a different type of cactus.  It was more like a tree.  I found one with a pretty yellow flower.


Daniel took photos of us with the unique cactus.


The island also had a different type of cactus with very long soft looking bristles.  I wasn’t going to touch it to find out if they really were soft.


We went back down to the beach to see the sea lions and be there when the zodiacs came to pick us up.   There were so many and they do enjoy relaxing on the beach.





There were so many different types of lizards.  Kind of like in south florida where we live.

As we were standing around taking photos of the whiskered inhabitants of the island, a large one decided that he wanted to walk through the group to get to his spot on the beach.  We quickly moved away for him.

We were on the beach for a while and enjoyed watching the young ones play.  They were so cute.  I liked watching them moving quickly around in their hopping motion.

This one couldn’t stop yawning.  Another one preferred looking at humans upside down.  Sea lion watching is an entertaining activity.


Cathy had to move quickly when a baby took a shine to her and came too close.  Others had the same issue. 


Daniel told us that if a human touches a baby sea lion, the mother won’t have anything to do with it.  The human smell keeps the mother from recognizing her baby.  How sad is that?

As we were leaving the lagoon, we saw a shark swimming toward us.  That made for a good photo opp.


Edgar then spotted a sea turtle swimming close to us.  We could see it better than the photo shows.

We returned to the boat for a short R&R before heading back out for our snorkel in the lagoon. 

The water in the lagoon was very clear.  We were glad it was since with so many sea lions on the beach, there were lots of them in the water swimming with us also.  As with the penguins, the sea lions could swim by us so quickly.  It was easy to miss seeing them.  I got a kick out of one of them that was playing peek-a-boo around a rock with me.  This was a great Galapagos snorkel experience. 

After lunch, we began our cruise to the next location which was getting us closer to Baltra where we would be flying out of the next day.  We would be doing a dry landing at South Plaza Island.  It is one of the smallest islands but is also the island with the largest population of land iguanas.  They also are the only place on earth where there are hybrid iguanas, a combination of the marine and land iguana.   The island looked pretty flat from the boat.


As we got closer, we could see the rocky coastline.

We came to our docking and saw that there were plenty of sea lions enjoying the rocks.

Not long after beginning our walk, we saw our first land iguana.  It did look different from the others we had seen on other islands.  They are also the smallest iguanas found in the Galapagos. We then saw this other iguana, which might habe been a more mature one.  We saw so many iguanas on this trip, that I now can't tell one from the other.  Hopefully, they are both land iguanas.


We continued our walk enjoying this very pretty colorful island.  There were just so many different beautiful views to take in.




After assuming that this was a flat island, I saw that the elevation did increase and there was even a small lighthouse on top. 


When we got to the top of the hill, we saw that we were standing on a steep cliff, looking down at the waves crashing against the rocky shoreline.



The wind was very strong up there, which felt great under the warm sun.  It was also a favorite place of many bird species.  We were all trying to get pics of the Red Billed Tropic Bird, which had a long white tail.  With them speeding by so quickly, it wasn’t easy to do, but I did the best I could.

As we walked around the area, Daniel showed us where the government is planting cactus.  They have to put protection around each plant to keep the iguanas from eating them before they get a chance to take hold and grow large enough to survive the iguana’s amputation of their flavorful parts.  The cactus on the other side of the island were doing fine, but the young cactus couldn’t survive on their own on this side.


We came upon a swallow tail gull sitting on a rock.  It also had a red rimmed eye.  These birds are endemic to the Galapagos and are the only nocturnal gull.  They are supposed to be very curious birds.  When early sailors to the Galapagos landed, the gulls would land on their hats, heads and arms.  This led to them being easy source of food for the sailors and settlers.


This island was a birder’s paradise.  This bird was close to the swallow tail gulls, but I didn't know what it was.  I emailed Daniel to see if he could help me.  He told me it was also a swallow tail gull, but a juvenile one.  He looks almost as big as his parents.

Before we left the cliff, I was surprised to see a sea lion perched on the top.  I can’t imagine how or why he would come all the way up there.

We came across another bird that folks were taking pics of, so I did too.  I don’t know what it is either.

We did see so many different iguanas on this island.  I had to stop taking pics of each one of them.


I did find this guy’s pose amusing. 

I got a final photo of this most interesting island and the last one we would visit on the trip.  Just a beautiful place.  It was so amazing to me how different each island we visited was.  They aren’t that far apart, but each had so many unique things to appreciate.  I have to say I thoroughly loved our visit to the Galapagos.

We headed back to the boat where we were going to have a cocktail making class.  It turned out to be less of a class than a cocktail sampling.  Enrique had cooked up a Canelazo drink which he added some Ecuadorian alcohol to.  It was like some other drinks similar to this that we had been served in Ecuador.  It is a good one.

We then headed up to our last happy hour of the cruise.  We had a lovely sunset to enjoy it with.

We went down to the lounge before dinner for our normal meeting with Daniel.  He discussed the next day’s activities and flights home.  We still had one more landing before leaving the boat if we wanted to.  It was a wet landing at 6:00 AM at Las Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island.  It was the same island we went to on our first day and very close to the Baltra airport.  Had it been a dry landing, I would have gone.  Since everything would be packed for the airport and we didn’t want to get anything wet before the flight, we passed on it.


This was the night for our farewell dinner.  All the crew except the captain, who was driving the boat, were there.  They thanked us for being a great group and we thanked them for being an awesome crew.  They had been so good to us.

I took a photo of the map showing our route through the Galapagos that Daniel had marked where we would be going each day.

A list was started for each member of the group to put down their names, email and phone numbers, so we could get in touch with each other after we arrived home.  Even though they all had this website address, it will be nice to be able to let them know when they can see the finished review.

After the delicious farewell dinner, I went up to the deck 4 lounging area to check out the night sky.  At last, the lights were off on the mast.  There was some light coming from other boats that were docked in the area, but the stars were brilliant.  I was so glad I finally saw them.


Day 17 Fly to Quito and home

The captain began the cruise to our last destination at 4:00 AM.  I went out to see who was going on the last landing.  There were 4 of them and they looked excited to be going. 

It did look like a nice beach to walk on.  They told us they enjoyed it when they returned.

We had our final breakfast on the boat and then headed for Baltra.  I had to take a photo of the volcano that I had seen from above when we first flew in to Baltra four days earlier.

After disembarking the boat, we had to wait for the bus to take us on the 10-minute drive to the airport.  It gave everyone a chance to take a photo of the Welcome to the Galapagos sign.

While we were in the Galapagos, there were no places to purchase t-shirts.  Daniel promised us that there were at least ten shops at the airport where we could get them.  He was right about that.  They were everywhere.  Other than photos, it is our only souvenir of the amazing place.

After buying our shirts, we still had over an hour’s wait until boarding.  I have a benefit called Priority Pass with one of my credit cards.  It allows us to go into VIP lounges at certain airports.  From what I understand, Priority Pass is much better for international travel than at US airports.  Surprisingly, Baltra was one of those airports.  It was a comfortable and pleasant area to wait.


Once again, we were flying to Guayaquil then on to Quito.  Our flight was at 10:45 AM and we would land at Quito just after 4:00 PM.  We were taken to the Wyndham Hotel at the airport. 

This was a very nice hotel.  We each had a room we could use until we were supposed to meet in the lobby at 9:30 PM to go to the airport.  This allowed us time to reconsolidate our luggage from the duffel bag we took on the boat with the checked bag we would use on the flight home.  It could also be used for a shower, nap or anything else that was needed before our flight. 

Everyone met in the lobby to go to the restaurant for a great buffet meal.  It was an outstanding buffet.   After dinner we went back to the room to try to take a quick nap before our 1:30 AM flight to Miami.  It would be a long night. 

Fortunately, the Quito airport also had a VIP lounge that was as nice as any I have been in before.  They had some great looking food, but we were stuffed from the buffet and just used the lounge to read and/or watch videos on our iPads.

When we finally got on our short four-hour flight home, we slept most of the way.  We arrived in Miami at 6:30 AM on a Saturday.  We breezed through immigration with our Global Entry and then had to wait for a half hour to get our luggage.  We walked out to get the shuttle bus to hotel parking lot, which comes by every 20 minutes.  As soon as we stepped to the curb, the bus came.  Very lucky!  A benefit of an early morning arrival red-eye flight is that traffic in Miami is great. 



This was a trip that I had been wanting to do for so many years.  When I finally booked it, there was an additional two-year Covid delay.  This trip was so worth the wait.  I can’t say enough for the great itinerary and travel leaders Overseas Adventure Travel has.  It makes a trip so much better when you have knowledgeable professionals leading and helping you to have the trip of a lifetime.  This was a trip of a lifetime going to two bucket list locations and seeing so many other amazing places.  OAT also immerses you into the culture of the places visited, which makes you understand and appreciate the people and what you are experiencing so much more. 

The best part of this tour was that we had a great group of fun and intelligent fellow travelers from around the country to share this adventure with.  A friendly group can make such a difference on a trip like this.  We really lucked out.




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