If I tell you that we are going on a plane trip and we will be arriving in Quito, Ecuador and from there taking a trip to stand on the equator, how are you going to dress? The equator after all is the center of the earth and you know it just has to be …
Ecuador's Weather Can Surprise
We had done our homework and we arrived in Quito with slacks and warm sweaters, a wind jacket nearby, umbrellas at the ready but there were a number of people on the same flight who were dressed in sleeveless sundresses. Boy were they in for a rude surprise. You may guess that Ecuador's name comes from the equator which passes through a great deal of Ecuador. But you would probably think that it would enjoy an extremely warm climate because of its proxies to the equator, but that is where research comes in handy.
Yes a lot of Ecuador, especially in the coastal areas is in fact tropically warm, but a lot of Ecuador consist of very high Andes mountains, so high in fact that they are snow covered all year long. Flying into Quito can be quite the experience as there is no room for error as you descend from the clouds and glide between some very mountains peaks to land at this rather small runway in the heart of Quito. I have a friend who is a pilot and he tells me that flying into Quito is one of the most dangerous places the international pilots get to land.
Any we landed safely and disembarked and after collecting our luggage we stepped outside to find our pre-arranged taxi to take us to the equator. The shock began as it was cold and windy and we were quickly grabbing for our jackets. The people in sundresses just standing and shivered.
After visiting the equator, which was sunny, cold and crisp, we were spending a few days in mainland Ecuador and then heading for the Galapagos islands for a week on a catamaran, sailing between and around the various islands. Now that was where we enjoyed the warm equatorial weather that you might expect.
The Galapagos Islands
I was sort of shocked by the Galapagos islands as the topography was certainly not spectacular. However the animal life more than made up for it. We got to see nature up close and personal in all of its many forms both the beautiful and the strange, the happy and the sad. The rule on the Galapagos is DO NOT TOUCH, but boy that is hard when a cute little sea lion baby comes and sits on your foot and stares up at you with big brown warm eyes. (No you are not allowed to let them sit on your foot, you would transfer your scent, but they do sit and look up at you from only inches away and they are cute.) Swimming with their gigantic parents was quite something too.
The birds, fish and mammals of the Galapagos are unbelievable and as no man has ever harmed them they are totally happy to go about their business as if you were not there. We saw waved albatross who, sitting on their nest were up to my waist in height. They are huge birds and as they spend years at sea without ever coming to land they have a tough time landing when they do come in, but this was their nesting area. As their landing strip had had scrub brush and small trees on it a lot of them broke their wings trying to land, So the birds had actually cleared off a huge area of scrub brush and small trees so they could land more safely. No human had helped them despite the fact that they were painfully aware of the problems these huge birds were having, but the rule on the Galapagos is to let nature work her marvels her way. By the way the landing strip they had chosen went out to a cliff so they could just walk off into thin air. They are so big they can not get airborne from the land. And we watched them come into land but they often had to try it about 18 – 20 times to figure out how to get slowed down at the right place. When they finally did land the landing was very rough and some tumbled off their feet trying to get balanced.
Any if if I get into telling you about all the amazing birds, fish and animals and the stories we have from the Galapagos, this article will never end. Because the Galapagos are so highly protected it is hard to get a reservation on a boat to go in and see the islands but totally worth it. If you get the chance go and spend at least a week. You will see hundreds of amazing things every day, that you just can not see anywhere else ..
But before you go do your homework; Know what to expect and be prepared for the weather and the many amazing surprises that await you. Always be sure to take your camera.