Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

posted 7 Nov 2012, 10:34 by Heather Wyatt   [ updated 19 Jun 2013, 23:56 by ]
Paragliding in San Gil    

Hola Amigos! It is now Miercoles 7 Noviembre 2012, I hope you all had a great half term? Sorry it's been such a long time since my last post! If I remember rightly it was from San Gil in Columbia? We have done many things since then, so I'll fill you in briefly. From San Gil we travelled back to Bogota for a few days, and then headed south to another city called Cali. Cali is the best city for Salsa dancing (and no I can't teach you how when I come back - I'm terrible at it). We enjoyed having a go though. From Cali we continued south, to a beautiful colonial town called Popayan. All of the buildings have white-washed walls and it is very lovely there. Nearby Popayan there is an archaeological sight called Tieradentro, which we visited overnight. It took us 6 hours on a bus to get there, along a dirt road that was perched perilously on the edge of the mountain-side. We got stuck for 2 hours when the road had washed away into the ravine below! However, it was well worth the journey. All along the mountains in Tieradentro they have discovered hundreds of burial sights from the 9th century, left by indigenous peoples who lived there before the arrival of the Spanish. You can climb down into the tombs to see the beautiful paintings and carvings left on the walls, it was fascinating. 
We then continued south and entered Ecuador. I thought the mountains in Columbia were impressive, but the Ecuadorian landscape leaves you breathless. We came to Quito (the capital) and stayed here for a few days before embarking on a trip of a lifetime: visiting the Galapagos Islands! If you don't know about the Galapagos you should look them up. We spent 8 days there, living on a boat and sailing around the islands to look at the wildlife and scenery. All of the islands are volcanic, and many have erupted so recently that the vegetation has not begun to grow yet, so you walk around on black lava (ex- Y3s I hope you remember the name of the rocks that are formed from volcanoes?) We saw the most amazing wildlife - right up close. The animals aren't bothered about human presence in the slightest, so you can walk very close to them. We saw giant tortoises (over 160 years old), millions of bird species (including the blue-footed booby), sharks, sea-lions (very playful when you are snorkeling with them), sea-turtles, manta rays, sting-rays . . . I could continue this list for ever! Suffice to say it was the most incredible place I have ever been to.
We are back in Quito now, planning on heading off again tomorrow. Ecuador has a different feel to it than Columbia, especially Quito as it's such a huge city. We have been away for 2 months now already. I can't believe how fast the time is slipping by! I hope all is well at school! Hasta Luego!