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May 04th, 2016

Q&A: Dom Billins in Ecuador and The Galápagos


By Dom Billins
Travel Consultants

Where have you been?
Ecuador and the Galapagos.

Have you been before?
No, this was my first visit.

How did you get there?
I took an early morning Iberia flight to Quito via Madrid (the flight arrives and departs from the same terminal, which made the connection very easy).

To get to the Galapagos I took an early morning LAN Ecuador flight from Quito which makes a pit stop in Guayaquil before flying into Baltra.

How long were you there?

3 weeks in total.

General route?
I began my trip with two days in the cloud forest (2 hours north of Quito), then I departed for a 5-night cruise of the Galapagos, spent 2 nights in Quito, 2 nights in Cotopaxi National Park, a week staying with the Huaorani tribe in the Amazon and then I made a short trip up to Otavalo at the end.

Which was your favourite…
Place: The Amazon rainforest. Nothing quite beats the cacophony of sounds emanating from the thousands of creatures that reside in one of the most bio-diverse regions on the planet.
Hotel: Casa Gardenia - this simple yet stylish hotel in Quito offers stunning views over the capital especially at night where thousands of tiny lights glisten around the Andes backdrop.
Excursion: Snorkelling in a nursery of baby sea-lions who glide gracefully through the water and seem entirely unmoved by your presence.

Appeals to which type of traveller?
Someone with a particularly interest in wildlife and experience an abundance of flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth!

What did you pack?
Galapagos: Always remember to bring sun cream! I’d also recommend a GoPro for those who want fantastic underwater shots.
Amazon: Spare clothes are essential; with humidity at 100% having dry clothes to change into back at base camp is a lifesaver!

Any good food, drinks, restaurants or bars recommendations?
As someone who believes that the real essence of cultural identity and expression lies in local cuisine, I would always recommend eating at local food markets. Quito has some fantastic late-night food markets where you can pick up some amazing local cuisine on the cheap - a special delicacy is fried tripe which is known to be particularly good for stomach problems.

Room for improvement?

How would you sum up your trip in a sentence?

A journey that exhibited the incredible natural wonders of the world and emphasised the huge importance of protecting them.

Any top tips?
In the jungle always wear sun cream even when it is cloudy, tread quietly and carefully and be sure to be up before sunrise (this is when most mammals are active).

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