Ecuador: The Bucket List

View from Finch Bay Hotel, Galápagos Islands (©photocoen)

Sharing Breakfast with Darwin’s Finches on the Galápagos Islands

I was the only guest left in the dining room. Two Darwin's finches hopped on a chair before zeroing in on a bowl with freshly cut papaya, watermelon and pineapple on the breakfast buffet. When Natalia, one of the cooks, spotted the birds, she Read More

Traditional hat maker in Quito (©photocoen)

What to Buy in Ecuador: Shopping for Artisanal Souvenirs in Quito

"Do you know ortiga?" Doña Rosa asked? Fortunately, I did so I knew it would sting a bit. She rolled up my sleeve and held my hand in hers. She took a handful of fresh stinging nettle leaves and rubbed them over my lower arm and hand, which would Read More

Day trip with the Sea Lion to Paltra Sur (©photocoen)

Snorkeling with Sharks in the Galápagos Islands

"Shark!" I was facedown in the water, following a schools of surgeonfish weaving their way among the rocks, yet the word registered loud and clear. I looked up and saw my partner Coen waving frantically, pointing to something underneath his body. Read More

Horseback riding at Hacienda Zuleta (©photocoen)

Horseback Riding to Ancient Pyramids at Hacienda Zuleta in Ecuador

"If you turn around you will see the entire row of pyramids," Alice said. I pulled lightly on the reins and Esthela immediately reacted, at which I quietly breathed a sigh of relief because truth be said, I was not so sure that she would listen to Read More

Booted Racket Tail Hummingbird (©photocoen)

Watching Hummingbirds at the Mashpi Lodge in Ecuador

Purple-Crowned Fairies, Green-Crowned Wood Nymphs and Violet-Tailed Sylphs were fluttering all around me. Had I just landed in an elf forest? It most certainly felt like it. Surrounded by a towering wilderness of forested mountains with grey clouds Read More

A sea lion sleeps while sally lightfoot crabs scamper on the Galapagos Islands. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2012)

Viewing Some of Earth’s Rarest Creatures in the Galapagos Islands

I don’t need a sign warning me to “Yield to Sea Lions.” When a big fellow lumbers across my path you can bet I stop to give him the right of way. Sea lions, like most animals on the Galapagos Islands, are nonchalant toward humans because they are Read More