Tortoise Conservation

As anticipated, I saw some large creatures in the Galápagos; however, I didn’t expect to see tortoises up close. Manolo also took Juan and I to another destination we couldn’t skip, which was filled with these native species.

Interestingly enough, “galapago” meant “saddle” in Spanish, which described the shells on these animals’ backs.

Tortoises can actually live up to 150 years (the average lifespan being 120 on the islands). They can also weigh up to 250 pounds for females and 500 pounds for males! At this facility, the young tortoises between the ages of one and five are separated: fed individually, heavily cared for and combined with the older tortoises at age five.

Although the tortoises have it good on San Cristobal Island now, it wasn’t always this way (it was actually quite tragic). When Darwin visited the islands in 1835, he noticed that these creatures were so large and had lots of meat on them; tens of thousands of tortoises were slaughtered and consumed by himself and others he knew.

Thankfully this isn’t still happening today!

Private Beach near Kicker Rock

After a long (but very fun!) two hours of snorkeling at Kicker Rock, the group headed to a beach that was completely secluded!

There were many staggering features of this deserted area, and I can’t decide which one was my favorite…

1) the water had beautiful turquoise and teal tones

2) the sand was organic, which means that the chemicals the pufferfish can’t digest turns into the soft, velvety sand we walked upon!

3) every creature on the beach was tranquil (more posts to come on this!)

4) the views on and around the beach were awe-inspiring

5) the warm waves hitting made me feel as though I was taking a bath

The only thing I’d change? The FLIES! They bite, and they bite HARD.

Pro tip: bring bug spray to the Galápagos!

Snorkeling at Kicker Rock

Instead of working a 9-5, Juan and I decided to spend a full day snorkeling in the Galápagos Islands!

Kicker Rock has an abundance of angel fish, sea turtles, sea lions and hammerhead sharks! Not only did we have amazing views, we were also welcomed by the nicest crew members and were able to meet three scuba divers: Anne-Marie, Lorraine and James.

Always try new things, because you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll see along the way!

“Glamping” in Chile

That’s right: my husband and I participated in some “glamorous camping” during our time in Chile!

Three years ago, I discovered a unique Airbnb that I immediately wanted to see. Mateo, a French-born man who now lives near Santiago with his wife and daughter, built a dome for people who want a once-in-a-lifetime experience under the Milky Way.

It was worth the wait because the dome was everything I was expecting and more! The bed was perfect for cooler nights, the clear area allowed for the dome to get warm during the day and unplugging was just what we needed. I could tell that Juan was just as thrilled to be there!

We stayed a total of three nights, and each provided us with the perfect opportunity to see the stars, drink herbal mint tea and enjoy each other’s company.

If you’re interested in staying here (which you should be by now!), please visit Mateo’s Airbnb link here: https://abnb.me/e2m8GMYAVW

Galápagos iOS Photos

San Cristóbal Island in the Galápagos was nothing short of breathtaking. I have much better footage from my Rebel, but here’s some iOS photos for now…

Bellavista, Santiago de Chile

Juan and I were only able to see a quick glimpse of Santiago, but Bellavista was our favorite barrio.

Before camping in the mountains, we headed to Bellavista – a hipster/artsy area of the big city – for a good meal. I heard that Como Agua Para Chocolate was highly recommended by locals, which is always better than the “typical touristy stuff.”

I can honestly say that this was the best meal I’ve ever had in South America (between Peru, Ecuador and Chile). The salmon had a delicious buttery sauce with the best sautéed vegetables… and the dessert spoke to me with it’s dark chocolate and raspberry sauces!

Bellavista is also recognized for its nightlife. We were exhausted since it was late when we arrived, but we did wonder around and view the unique street art.

The next morning we only had a limited time to enjoy Santiago, so we grabbed some quick breakfast and rode up to the top of the city.

We were camping in the Olmué area of Chile from May 10-13, but were able to see a little more of Santiago prior to our next flight on the 13th. Of course, we returned to Bellavista during the day to grab cappuccinos and a great seafood lunch!

As always, I wish I had more time in this one-of-a-kind place, but I know we’ll be back someday 🙂