Bucket lists. Some people have them, some don’t. Our travel list includes stepping foot on each continent and more specific things or places like the great migration in Africa or ferry-hopping around the Scottish islands.
South America has been on our bucket list for a long time, but no plans had been made. It was just out there until our daughter Bonnie suggested that we go along with her to Peru. She was leading a six day photography tour to Cusco and Machu Picchu, a MAJOR bucket-list destination.
It’s a long way to Peru from the Northwest – thirteen plus hours from Seattle. If you have to sit on an airplane for that long it makes sense to spend more than six days where you’re going. So, we picked another place off of the bucket list and added eight days in the Galapagos Islands to the front of the trip.
Quito, Ecuador – Travel to the Galapagos from the US will likely take you through Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador. The Galapagos are part of Ecuador and the Ecuadoran authorities keep a firm hand on who goes to and from the islands. We had only one day in Quito and were very fortunate to have an excellent guide, Jorge, to show us around. Quito is a Spanish colonial city that is located just 15 miles south of the equator. Click here to see a slide show of Quito.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador – “The tourists are saving the Galapagos” said our guide Billy. “If we didn’t have tourism, the locals would revert to their old occupations of fishing and farming which harm the islands.” Click here to see a slide show of the Galapagos.
Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu, Peru – From the Pacific Ocean to the Andes, from colonial cities to ancient Inca ruins, from pastoral countryside’s to busy urban streets, this country has something for everyone. Everywhere you turn there is another Inca ruin, or a church built on top of a ruin. In the big cities, hawkers try to sell you trinkets on the streets. In the villages, the sales pitch is much more subtle. And there is the crown jewel, Machu Picchu. Click here to see a slide show of Peru.