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★★★★★

“Memories that will last a lifetime”

Written on: 25/07/2013 by GarySmith1 (1 review written)

We had often thought of visiting the Galapagos Islands and as our son was studying Zoology at Uni thought it would be the right time to go.
Looking through various web pages we came across "Think Galapagos", filled in an inquiry form and within 10 minutes a lady had rang us back to see what she could do to help. As we hadn't really thought about what we could do in Galapagos, she came up with a plan based on the type of holiday we like.
We decided on a 3 week trip to Galapagos and Peru (as Peru is so close it made sense). Flights were booked, with their flight specialist, all 10 of them, and the itinerary finalized.
2 days diving, 1 day sightseeing with a guide around Santa Cruz including the Darwin center, 8 day cruise around the islands on a 105' motor yacht, 1 day in Lima, 2 days in Cuzco, 2 days at Machu Picchu.
We did spend a fair bit of time in airports but due to the excellent arrangements made for us we traveled early in the mornings and had the rest of the day to explore our new location. We were met at every airport by private transport and experienced guides who would know our itinerary and gave advice on things to do in our spare time. Scuba Iguana in Santa Cruz were a very professional diving company and tailored dives to suit our ability, the underwater life was amazing seeing sharks, turtles, rays and huge shoals of large fish swimming next to us.
The cruise on the aptly named "Beagle" was also fantastic, the on-board guide, Duncan, gave us so much information about the island's wildlife and geology it was hard to remember it all. The accommodation on board was cosy but not crampt, the crew were great and the food was very good. The day would often start with a 6am breakfast followed by a shore landing to see the wildlife at its best, later on we would snorkel and see all sorts of things including marine iguanas feeding, turtles sleeping and even penguins coming to see who we were. The sea lions were also very inquisitive and would play if you encouraged them to do so. Sailing to the next destination was often at night but a couple of days we had a 2-4 hr cruise, one morning we saw whales swimming past, that was very special.
After leaving the Beagle we traveled back to Ecuador and visited the city of Guayaquil before leaving very early the following morning to fly to Lima where we were met and taken to our hotel by our guide who gave us ideas on how best to see the city during the day.
The following day we flew to Cuzco which is 11,000 ft up in the Andes. Its an old Inca city with many interesting buildings and history. Our superb guide Americo, who met us at the airport was very informative and gave great advise on where to eat and things to do in the evenings when he was not with us. Americo escorted us for 4 days whilst in Peru and explained the history of the Incas in great detail and showed us Machu Picchu at its best. We stayed 1 night at the 5*Sanctuary Lodge hotel next to the entrance to Machu Picchu which was very luxurious. Being so close allowed us to see the city without any people early in the morning and late afternoon. We climbed Machu Picchu Mountain (the city is named after the mountain) which,after 3050 steps gave us a great view of the city and surrounding area. The 2 hr train ride back to Cuzco was enjoyable due to the meal, entertainment and fashion show which was supplied by the train staff, you had to be there!
Finally it was time to make our way back home via Lima and Schiphol which took about 36 hrs.
This gave us time to reflect on how much we had done, the sights we had seen and how well it organised had been. Our thanks go to all the guides and especially to Think Galapagos for giving us memories that will stay with us forever.