If you are a swimmer, love the aquatic wild life and want to be on secluded islands with nothing but sand, the shade of mangrove trees, clear blue skies and the sounds of wild free roaming seals and exotic birds, then welcome to the Galápagos Islands! It’s a vegan traveller and nature lover’s dream destination. I’m a staunch believer that the only way to see the real beauty of animals is in the wild. Ever since I saw African wildlife on a safari back in 2008, any kind of captivity of animals really makes me sad. Unfortunately the only easily accessible way for us to educate our children today about animals is by taking them to the zoos. But when we were deciding on our annual vacation destination idea I couldn’t help but fall in love with my husband’s suggestion to go to the Galápagos!
As a responsible traveller I love exploring unique and peculiar destinations that haven’t been discovered by the mainstream tourism industry. Galápagos is not only a Unesco world heritage site but it is also home to many birds and species that only live in and around these islands. So of course it had to be on my family’s bucket list of places to see! The Blue-footed Bobbie birds are the most popular “must-see” species out of the Big 15 here. The color of their feet was just so inspiring to the designer in me and reminded me of the Gunas Ridley bag in teal. I felt a sort of nostalgia seeing all the free seals, wild iguanas swimming in the ocean and the birds rejoicing their freedom.
One really felt the power of nature and just what a small place we actually occupy in its presence. The speed boat ride to the Santa Fe islands from Santa Cruz to see the wildlife literally kept us at the edge of our seats. Seeing the big blue waves of the ocean is a very humbling experience. Getting here was not easy either. We had to take a 2 hour flight from Quito, Ecuador, a short bus ride to a ferry, then a 1 hour taxi ride to the boat terminal which took us to the Santa Cruz island where our hotel was. If you are traveling with a toddler (like we did) don’t forget your jogging stroller!
The best part of your travels to the Galápagos was the food! We stayed at the Finch Bay Eco Resort, which is a 40 year old LEED certified resort on the Santa Cruz island and has won 6 years in a row the Traveller’s Choice award for being the best eco-friendly hotel. That was enough to pull us in! The chefs at this resort were amazing. Everything on the menu was made from locally sourced ingredients and they also had a separate vegan/vegetarian menu. I always personally travel with a few vegan sauces to spice up my food, just in case. (Hey Just Mayo!) We indulged in their fine quinoa dishes, veggie burgers and plantain dishes.
Fun fact about these islands! They are so famous because this is where Charles Darwin spent many years of his life working on the Theory of Evolution. So if you ever make your way here do visit the Charles Darwin center and surprise yourself with 300 year old Giant Tortoises walking around the park. Be sure to carry lots of sunscreen, bug spray, hats and anything that keeps you cool and protected! You are dealing with the heat at the equator after all.
My choice of bags for this trip were my Cougar backpack, the Flamingo bag in blue and the new Jane Satchel is red for the plane ride. All 3 bags really stood the test of time and our adventures through heat, cold and rain. They were functional, sturdy and light-weight. Not forgetting to mention, cruelty-free and stylish too!
We will certainly make our way back to these islands some day. We were not able to spot all the ‘Big 15’ species here but at least we spotted half of them.