AN ESCAPE TO EDEN OR THE CAPITAL OF PARADISE (as the Ecuadorians call it): MY WEEK IN THE GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS.

And Miss Sea Lion 2017 is....

And Miss Sea Lion 2017 is....

Having just returned from an epic expedition to Galápagos Islands with #LindbladExpeditions onboard the #NationalGeographicEndeavorII was beyond what I ever imagine.  I can't even put into words the magic that is Galápagos Islands. From the tiny finches that influenced Darwin to the giant tortoises that gave the islands their name, from the huge variety of marine life to the charming mating rituals of the frigates and boobies, the Galapagos Islands are simply magnificent!

Blue-Footed Booby

Blue-Footed Booby

Galápagos Sea Lion - "Strike a Pose"

Galápagos Sea Lion - "Strike a Pose"

Galápagos Sea Lion and Me :-)

Galápagos Sea Lion and Me :-)

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Galápagos Sea Lion being Cute

Galápagos Sea Lion being Cute

Red-Footed Booby

Red-Footed Booby

I fulfilled a lifelong dream together with my  husband Marc, and also crossed off a very top destination on our bucket list. I can only tell you that the Galapagos Islands were beautiful. They were breathtaking. They were everything people said they would be. I’ve never been to a place where the wildlife was so abundant and the geography was so diverse in such a small space. I've been back for one week now and I'm still pinching myself.

The Indiana Jones Feeling

The Indiana Jones Feeling

It felt as though we were part of a movie plot like Jurassic Park, or Indiana Jones entering a  sacred land that we were not deserving enough to enter. It was magical!

Yeah, that initial glimpse of the islands was humbling. But I’d soon learn that thankfulness is a feeling you’ll experience most days in the Galapagos Islands. With each new wildlife discovery and each new encounter, gratitude is the most common reaction, at least for me.

We learned about the vast number of endangered animal and plant species endemic to the Galápagos, and all the research and work being done to save them by the Charles Darwin Research Station, the biological research facility operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation.  That was so much learned on this expedition trip, that all my worries about not being scientific fit to embark on the trip was soon vanished by Lindblad’s/National Geographic experts naturalists. Their knowledge, skillfully, tirelessly, kept the groups together with stories about the formation and history of the islands that kept my attention in a way that would made my geography, science and history teachers proud.

There is nowhere quite like the Galápagos Islands, certainly not anywhere that I’ve been, and the week I spent there with Lindblad Expeditions blew my mind in more ways than I thought imaginable.

Have you ever thought that there is a world of learning beyond the classroom? We fuel our bodies with food, our minds with education and our hearts with love. However, new experiences can nourish our spirit in a way that nothing else can. Hands-on experience can be priceless for a child, they can turn their inspiration into becoming the future film maker or the new  Charles Darwin's and the "theory of evolution".

Our Home Way from Home - The Lindblad/National Geographic Endeavor II

Our Home Way from Home - The Lindblad/National Geographic Endeavor II

Our Home Way from Home - The Lindblad/National Geographic Endeavor II

Our Home Way from Home - The Lindblad/National Geographic Endeavor II

The brand new, stunning 96-passenger National Geographic Endeavor II makes for a luxurious and comfortable home base as you explore the enchanted islands. With a range of accommodation options from suites to triples to solo cabins, the newest ship in the Lindblad fleet ensures a room suited to each type of traveler. Better yet, the Endeavor II is the first ship to offer seven sets of connecting rooms, perfect for accommodating families.

Just the 3 of us

Just the 3 of us

Our voyage to the Galápagos wasn't all biological and geological fun facts, though. My husband and I are active traveler, and we love and look for adventure in all shapes and sizes. The Galápagos Islands and Lindblad Expeditionsdid not disappoint us in any given moment, from the lovely and friendly stuff to the daily activities. We kayaked along shorelines and around islets, saw manta rays jump and do flips right in front of our eyes awhile we kayaked with gorgeous sea turtles played around our paddle boards. We also did lots of snorkeling, and one afternoon, I locked eyes with a sea lion, and with tears in my eyes in disbelieve of what I just experienced, a powerful moment of natural connection. The Lindblad expedition cruise blended education with entertainment, activities with relaxation and luxury with adventure. If you are interested in planning a trip to the Galápagos, or anywhere else, please let us know!