It took less than a minute after stepping foot on North Seymour Island to be blown away by the Galapagos Islands. I was taking off my life jacket, being careful not to trip on a cluster of rocks below, when I realized the largest rock was in fact a curled-up sea lion. It was a fabulous first day in one of the few places in the world where animals have little to no fear of people. It was also one of the only days on my cruise of the western Galapagos with Metropolitan Touring that I was dry all day long.
You could spend an entire trip to the Galapagos above water and be astounded by the wildlife you meet. Walking along a beach and getting close to a sea lion that has no concerns about personal space creates amazing memories. But get below the surface of the water, and an entirely different world awaits. In the ocean, where swift, graceful movement comes naturally, sea lions (especially pups) can be just as interested in you as you are in them. When they swim around you with the same excitement as a playful puppy, or have the spunk to grab hold of your camera stick to jump-start a game of tug-of-war, the moment moves beyond the average vacation memory — it’s inspiration for a lifetime.
TIP: Parents and kids should be comfortable in the water, but unlike diving, no special training is need to snorkel. Most boats provide all the gear you’ll need and typically have wetsuits available to rent. Wetsuits do more than keep you warm; they also protect you from jellyfish stings and sunburn.
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Editor’s Note: Dana’s trip to Ecuador was sponsored by Metropolitan Touring. As always, our thoughts and opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photo by Dana Rebmann.