2023 Galapagos Islands

Happy CoupleHappy CoupleThis was not our first attempt at a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to the Galapagos Islands. Almost 3 years ago, to the date, on March 12, 2020, we were packed and ready to leave for the airport where we would begin our journey to the Galapagos Islands and Amazon on a Gate 1 tour.

Covid had just started hitting the news, but since there were only 10 cases in Ecuador at this time, we decided that with extra precautions (hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, sanitizing wipes, etc.) we should be okay.

Just as we were about to head out the door, something made me check the Gate 1 website, only to discover that the tour, which was to begin in 2 days (we were going early) was canceled. We were so close to actually getting to Ecuador where we would find no tour to greet us. I was actually relieved that the decision had been made for us, because I really was quite worried.

Tip Top IVTip Top IVWe all know what happened over the next 2 years - basically travel stopped while the world waited for the pandemic to end.

As things began to open up again, we thought about reimplementing our trip. However, since that time, we had talked to various people and researched other tours and came to the conclusion that the Gate 1 tour (which included only 3 nights on the Galapagos Islands) was not going to be enough.

After much research, Herb came to the conclusion that a longer photography-focused tour made the most sense for us.

Map of our 11-day cruiseMap of our 11-day cruiseThat’s when he discovered Tui de Roy, the legendary Galapagos photographer that was brought to the Galapagos by her Belgian parents when she was 2 years old. Her father gave her her first camera when she was in her early teens, and she hasn’t stopped photographing the islands since. Over 5 decades and tens of thousands of photos later, she has been awarded a place as one of the top 20 wildlife photographers in the world.

When Herb found that Tui was the photography guide on a Galapagos Travels 11-day Galapagos Islands tour, we knew we found the tour for us. The opportunity to spend 11 days exploring and photographing this amazing place with the best of the best was very exciting.

Our home for the 11 days was the Tip Top IV, a 125-foot yacht which held 15 passengers, 7 crew members, one Naturalist Guide (Monica), and Tui de Roy (Photography Guide).

But first, we would spend 3 days on our own exploring Quito with an overnight side trip to the Cloud Forest and Tandayapa Valley.

You can download a detailed pdf Road Trip Travel Itinerary or zipped Microsoft Streets and Trips Travel Road Map file for this trip using the links shown below.