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Trip Updates

Ecuador + Galapagos 2 A • June 24-July 7, 2022

Exploring the Islands - hiking, kayaking, and history galore!

June 29, 2022

Hello from the beautiful shoreline of Isabela Island! We have had an absolute blast getting to know this group and can’t believe that we are already on day five!

 

The group arrived safely in Quito with smiles on their faces after a long travel day. Small talk and laughter erupted on the bus as we headed to our first hostel. After all the students put their bags away, we met up in the lobby for pizza and more name games. Shortly after, we gathered around the hot tub for our first Moonup where Will and I challenged the kids to think about a goal that they have either for the trip or their lives. We then chose our first leaders of the day, Trey and Sydney.

The next morning, we quickly packed up and headed to the airport to catch our flight to the Galapagos. We arrived on the sandy shores of Baltra Island where we took a bus and a boat to get to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to see the giant tortoises. We had a warm lunch of pasta and teriyaki chicken that was absolutely mouthwatering before we put on our rubber boots to explore the lava tunnels and get a closer look at the tortoises. The kids were stunned to see how massive the tortoises were and were fascinated by the magnitude of the lava tunnel. Afterwards, we took our bus back to the hotel and were able to explore the unique town on Santa Cruz. Then we concluded our night with a moonup on the rooftop of our hotel.

On day three, we had an early morning and caught a boat ride to our next island, Isabella. After three travel days, our whole group was ready to settle down at our luxurious hotel with a pool, beach access, and a soccer field right next door. When we first got to the island, the group visited the giant tortoise breeding center where we saw…well lots of breeding. After an interesting afternoon, we met up with our guide, Juana, and gathered our snorkeling gear. We then went to a crystal-clear bay and jumped right into the cold waters. Most of the girls vlogged the whole experience. Jackson stayed out the longest with the guide and Will and even spotted a giant stingray! We then headed back to the hotel where Jackson, Trey, Freddy, Spencer, Alex, and Hudson played some locals in a soccer match. Theodora practiced her Spanish by cheering on the boys and even befriended some local students that have become close friends of our group as we have come to know this island. Jackson and Trey even scored some points and Spencer served as a great goalie! It’s fair to say that even though our boys lost by a ton, they had the best sideline cheering them on. We closed the night with the best moonup to date where Alex and Mary challenged us to think of something we would go back and change about our lives. Parents, all of you would be proud because most of their answers involved spending more time with their family before, they go off to college.

The next morning, we woke up and prepared for our 12-mile round trip hike to a volcano. We started off in the wetlands sliding up and down a muddy path-so muddy that Caroline and Taylor took off their shoes and decided it was better to go barefoot. Meanwhile, Spencer and Jackson started a small business where they would carry peoples bags up the volcano for extra snacks. Very resourceful and very helpful. After a very wet part of the hike, we walked into a very dry section, and it looked incredible! Large cacti and volcanic rock were scattered throughout the setting. It looked like we were exploring a different planet! We learned so much here about volcanos and the Galapagos archipelago! On the way back, everyone compared how muddy they got. Mary and May detailed the day’s journey in a vlog. Then we all jumped in the ocean as soon as we arrived back to our hotel home. Here we body surfed and played chicken fight — Hudson was our chicken fighting champion! Later on, we played more soccer, beach volleyball, and beach tennis with some of our local friends we have made here. Catherine especially shined in the volleyball game, showing off her skills. After a great dinner and moonup, we all went out to the beach where we sat and watched an amazing clear sky, full of beautiful stars before turning in for the day.

The next morning, we gathered our stuff to go biking to the Wall of Tears. Here we learned more about the history of the Galapagos as a historical home for prisoners. It was a tough ride up but everyone really enjoyed the way back, where we zoomed through the downhill ride. During the ride, Alex was super friendly in sharing some of his gushers from home with the rest of the group, helping us fuel up for the rest of the day. After a great lunch, we went to go sea kayaking in two-seater kayaks. Caroline and Catherine especially worked well together, yelling their “right” and “left” motions to ensure their synchronization. Ridley and May were together in another boat, where sea lions kept popping up their heads and jumping out of the water around them. Out in the water we all saw penguins, sea lions, and the Galapagos signature animal, blue footed boobies. On the way back in, Hudson and Trey tried to surf a wave into shore, wiping out and falling out of their kayak! They got back in, finishing their final kayak into shore. On the way back to the  hotel, Theodora and Sydney entertained the group with a fast song of the different state’s names. We later finished the night with churros and milkshakes after dinner before having another great moonup led by Spencer and Catherine.

 

Today we are headed back to Santa Cruz to further explore that island! We loved our time in Isabella and are so excited to continue getting to know each other and seeing what else the Galapagos has in store for us!

 

Until next update!

Taylor and Will


Arrived in Quito!

June 25, 2022

Hello Ecuador + Galapagos Families!

We heard from our leaders late last night that the group has landed safely in Quito. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.

Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!

-Moondance HQ


Students

  • Sydney
  • Frederick
  • Spencer
  • Caroline
  • Hudson
  • Mary
  • Catherine
  • May
  • Jackson
  • Trey
  • Theodora
  • Ridley
  • Alex

Staff