How to Plan a Trip to The Galapagos Islands (Ep. 33)

Lori and Sylvio of VoyageWriters.com join me to discuss all things Galapagos. Ever thought about taking a trip there? They've got some great advice from their own travels and will help you avoid some mistakes you could potentially make.

In this episode we'll discuss:

  • Recent travels to Vancouver and Mexico City
  • Flying to TBEX in Billings, Montana
  • Maple on the Map Radio Show
  • The origins and philosophy of Voyage Writers
  • Why Galapagos? And why now?
  • The experience of the wildlife and the landscapes
  • How long should someone plan on being in the Galapagos Islands?
  • History and biodiversity
  • Getting around Galapagos
  • Having a certified guide to get around
  • The fees, regulations, and restrictions
  • Finch Bay Lodge and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World
  • The wildlife seen
  • Observational distance
  • Controlled tourism
  • No plastic, no dirt, no food, and large fines for violations
  • Health Insurance requirement and importance of travel insurance
  • Do you need spending money and if so, what kind, and where do you get it?
  • Using an agency versus doing it on a budget and DIY
  • The cost of the trip (with Ecuador included)
  • Best time of the year to visit
  • The landscapes of the islands from desert to tropical jungle
  • Waiting lists?
  • Hitting the 7 continents, Thailand and South Africa
  • Flying to the Arctic
  • What kind of camera to take
  • Government link to restrictions (see episode resources below)




Show Notes


Lori (00:00):
This is Lori.

Sylvio (00:01):
This is Sylvia

Lori (00:02):
From Voyage writers.com, and you are listening to Travel Fuels Life.

Drew (00:21):
Hello everybody, and welcome to Travel Fuel's Life, the show we share stories, tips, and inspiration to help you live a travel lifestyle. I'm your host, drew Hamish, and have you ever wanted to go to the Galapagos Island? In fact, is it on your bucket list? Well, I've been hearing it a lot lately, and so I thought it was a great idea to find two people who have been to the Galapagos Island to come in and share their stories with us, not only of what they experienced while they were on the Galapagos Island, because there are lots of natural wonders and exotic creatures, but there's also a lot of strategic planning that needs to go into going to a place like Galapagos. It is a very fragile ecosystem, and they're doing a lot to protect it. So there's stuff we need to know before we would plan out a trip like that. So from my home here in Greenville, South Carolina, it's time to jump on the worldwide web and get a connection going with Lori and Sylvia from north of the border in the great white north of Canada. Not quite white yet, but anyway. Hey guys, how you doing today?

Lori (01:31):
Hi Drew.

Sylvio (01:32):
How are you

Drew (01:33):
Doing? Good. How are you guys doing? It's been a while since our meet up in Corning, New York last year.

Lori (01:39):
It has been almost a full year and lots of travel, both of us as well as you, I can see.

Drew (01:45):
Yeah, absolutely. And Lori, you just got back from Vancouver it looks like.

Lori (01:51):
Yeah, I was there for about five days and then I'm heading back again next week.

Drew (01:58):
Wow. Do you go to Vancouver often or is this just once in a blue moon kind of trip?

Lori (02:05):
No, I go fairly often. My son is at university there. He is doing his master's degree in engineering. So I pop out whenever I can for a visit. I love it out there. Absolutely love it out there. So it's a good place to go. And then I have two stepsons that were also out there, one is still out there. So I try to combine as many trips and family visits as possible. And when Sylvia can work around his schedule and join us, it's even better.

Drew (02:36):
Very nice. And Sylvia, you were on a red eye down to Mexico City, so I hear, are you a full-time commercial pilot?

Sylvio (02:43):
Yes, I am. I work for Canada, so yeah, no, I was part of my job. I just came back yesterday.

Drew (02:51):
Okay. And you were in the Canadian Air Force, correct?

Sylvio (02:56):
Yeah, 25 years and four days to be

Drew (02:58):
Precise. Okay, because we're, we're going to Tex again this year in Billings, Montana, and I understand that you may be flying in there. I mean, when people say I flew in there, that usually means that there's a pilot flying us in, but it sounds like you're doing the flying.

Sylvio (03:19):
Yeah, it'll still be a pilot flying us in, but in this case it'll be me. So it'll be flying our own little airplane into Billings.

Drew (03:28):
Well, that'll be fun.

Sylvio (03:29):
Oh, absolutely. The view, the sensation, the modern nature ne is a point, put it that way. And going to Montana, it's not going to, it is a point either.

Drew (03:42):
Oh, absolutely. Montana is just incredible. And the last time that I went, there were so many places I wanted to go that I just didn't get a chance to. So I'm going to try to make up for that this time and see what I can see. But Lori, you actually not only do voyage writers.com, you also have a radio show, so I understand.

Lori (04:06):
Yeah, I have a travel radio show called Maple on the Map, and it is just per my perspective as a Canadian traveling around the world, but also having people who listen, which right now they do in over a hundred countries hear some about Canada and hopefully they'd like to visit.

Drew (04:29):
Nice. Very good. And so you're near the Toronto area, is it Kingston?

Lori (04:34):
Yeah, we're about three hours east of Toronto, so we're in a nice area. We're between really between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. So it's a great location for sort of getting around, but we're also, oh maybe what, 20 minutes, 30 minutes from the US border.

Drew (04:55):
And so what got you into doing travel writing?

Lori (04:59):
Well, for me, I've traveled or enjoyed travel all my life, and I was a school teacher for 30 years, and I always kept journals, used my travels to develop curriculum, et cetera. And then when I was retiring from 30 years of teaching, I still wanted to do something and we actually talked about trying to find something to do together, and we both liked to write, we both like to travel, we both like to take photographs. So it seemed like a good fit for the two of us. I retired, but he went from the military into commercial flying. So we actually took a travel writing course to see if this would be of interest. And actually within about two weeks of the course, we had our first joint article published and sort of gone on from there.

Drew (05:54):
And so what's the focus of your writing? Because I see that your site says that you're not necessarily about traveling on a budget, but more about traveling smart.

Lori (06:04):
Well, we look at using your hard-earned money to get the most out of your travel. So that's where we went with it. It's not budget, it's about traveling. Smart was the fact that whether you spend a hundred dollars on something or a thousand dollars on something, you want to get the best value. And for us, when we travel, we don't want to spend all our time when we get to a destination figuring out what we should do, where we should go. We do the prep in our articles, we give sort of an overview of things to do. That way if you're going to plan a trip or you're going somewhere, you've at least got a good idea to start. And if you in fact are not ready to travel for various reasons, even just reading a little bit about a place might take you away for just a little bit of your time.

Sylvio (07:01):
So part of it is the organizers, organizational, and the other part is look, we can even travel from base home, for instance. So it's all about what is best for an individual. Some people like little bit tighter budget, some people have a little bit wider budget. In our case, we try to just make it the best value for the buck, basically.

Drew (07:26):
Very nice. And so this leads in nicely into Galapagos because I feel like Galapagos is not the kind of place that you can just go, Hey, let's go to Galapagos this weekend and see what it's all about. It's like there, there's got to be some preparation for this trip. And you guys have gone recently and I've had a lot of people asking me questions about it, and I definitely have some interest in going there as well. But it's kind of a bit of a mystery for us travelers who have gone to the destinations like Europe or we don't have to deal with visas and all of that kind of stuff. And Galapagos is kind of its own self-contained national park. So I thought this would be great since you guys just went to have an opportunity to ask you some questions about it and get a feel for your experience as well and how you planned all of this out. So what was the thing that drew you to Galapagos as a destination?

Lori (08:35):
Well, certainly everybody's heard about Galapagos and how unique it is and how bio, but still how biodiversity it is. And we were looking at places that are around the world that because nature is changing, the environment is changing. What if we waited another 10 years and it wasn't the same or you couldn't travel there anymore? That took us actually to Peru two years ago, to Machu Picchu because we'd heard rumors that it was becoming damaged, that they were going to reduce the number of people going, et cetera. So we thought, why not go now? We love Europe, we love Canada, those places are going to be there, but maybe the Galapagos won't be. So that was a bit of a push. And Sylvia's parents are world travelers. They are fabulous travelers, and they were both turning 75, and they thought that it would be a fabulous trip for us to all go for their 75th birthday and their, what was it? 50 55th, 55th wedding anniversary. Wow. So we combined all of that together and decided to go to gla, no, we did Gala Galapagos and the mainland of Ecuador as well. So we were 12 days total, but we were three days in the Gala. Galapagos itself

Drew (10:06):
Was the wildlife and the plant life. All you expected it to be,

Lori (10:10):
It was beyond that, absolutely. Beyond that, we both knew that it was going to be terrific, but it was beyond anything that, you know, hear the cliche about, oh, it was much better in person. I mean, the pictures are great. You can't even really grasp it until you are there and see what happens there. And of course, they're very, very controlled in how many people they allow and what type of activities. And it least to us seemed very evident. They're doing a very good job at the controlling of that. It was an experience, a once in a lifetime experience. Would we like to go back? Absolutely the different things, but boy, we got a phenomenal overview. Even just the three days we were there.

Drew (11:07):
Of all the things that you saw there and then wanting to go back and see more. I can imagine that mean with three days you kind of feel like, man, I need much more than this to do that. How long do you think somebody should plan to be in Galapagos?

Lori (11:27):
Well, depending on how you do it, because there's a number of different ways you can do basically the land tours with day trips to different islands, or you can do some of the tours where you're living on a boat for a period of time and sort of three days for us, because we were with specialists and we were going morning, noon, and night. Everything was planned, everything was organized. There was no waiting for this, waiting for that. We were able to do a lot. In those three days, they do recommend at least five because of course you've got your travel days on either end, five to seven.

Drew (12:15):

Lori (12:16):
Would be a good number. What do you think,

Sylvio (12:18):
Sylvia? Yeah, something like that. Absolutely. And it's also a different way to look at the islands. You can look at it on the absolutely beautiful biodiversity you have there, but also you can look at the historic aspect with the story of Darwin coming there and finding out the beginning of this theory for revolution and stuff like that. So there's different ways of looking at it and there's different ways of visiting the islands too.

Drew (12:47):
And so did you guys tend to be on boats when you were going between the islands or did you island hop a decent amount or did you take planes? How did you do that?

Sylvio (12:58):
We flew, because Galaga itself does not have any customs or immigration there, so you have to go into Ecuador first. So we flew from Kki in Ecuador to Valtra Gallop Island, and from there it was either boat or small bus.

Drew (13:18):
Okay. And everything is guided, I'm sure. I mean, it seems like I, I'm such a free spirit and want to roll around wherever I want to go, but it sounds like you're pretty much locked into always having a guide with you.

Lori (13:31):
You must have a gala Galapagos National Park guide with you when you're going on some of the smaller uninhabited islands. But on the main island, once you've paid your tourist visa and your Gala Galapagos National Park entrance fee, so the first one, the tourist visa is $20 US dollars, and the second one is a hundred US dollars. And there's no question you have to have those. You have no choice. You can then stay on the main island. There's lots to do there. That's where the Charles Darwin Center is. There's the what? The Galapagos Tortoise Reserve. You can do all that and not leave that main island. But if you are going out to any of the other islands, the only way to get there is by boat. And you must have a certified guide with you.

Drew (14:31):
So how many of those other islands did you go to on your trip? Did you have time with the three days?

Lori (14:37):
Yeah, we went to North Seymour. Right. And we went to, well, Balter is where we initially landed.

Sylvio (14:48):
And the main island where we stayed most of the time was Center Cruz.

Drew (14:52):
Oh, and which was your favorite?

Lori (14:55):

Sylvio (14:55):
Wow. Oh, jeez.

Drew (14:57):

Sylvio (14:57):
Good reasons.

Drew (14:59):
Give you the tough one. I

Lori (15:00):
Picking a favorite child, right?

Sylvio (15:02):
Yeah, no, it's for very different reasons. They were all fantastic. The island of center Cruz is also where the biggest town is. Guerra, I think I pronounce it probably. It's surprisingly, it's a town of about 20,000 people, surprisingly enough. And that's where we were based off a beautiful little hotel resort called Finch Bay. And it's actually listed in one of the General National Geographic, unique largest in the world.

Drew (15:33):
Okay, yeah. Is that, that's an interesting designation that I've never heard of before. So they actually have just picked out a series of hotels to highlight as just being exceptional. Is it exceptional for where they're placed or is it just because that is just a incredible hotel all the way around?

Lori (15:55):
Well, it, it's part, yes, certainly be where it's placed, but it's also because it's considered an eco lodged. So everything they do there is very purposeful as far as dealing with waste, just even the structure of the lodge. And for us to get there, we had to take what they call a pena, which is actually the water taxi, but it was a private one that belonged to the hotel. So they picked us up at the wharf in Port Porto aor. And then, I don't know, we were about a 10 minute ride over to another dock, got out and we had to walk about 10 minutes to get to the lodge. It's very private lodge, the type picture with the hammock on the deck and all that sort of stuff. It was pretty amazing. And wildlife all around, incredible sunsets, incredible food, and very laid back, which was quite nice.

Drew (16:58):
So did you see the sea tortoises and the sea lions and the rest?

Lori (17:03):
We absolutely did. We had two different days of tours, both by boat to different islands where we were led by one of the naturalists that were assigned to us for the whole three days. So we had actually two naturalists that were specifically for us. We were a group of 14 total, and they stayed with us for the three full days and did all of the activities with us. And one of the great ones was going out to the North Seymour Island and Finch Bay Lodge where we stayed has its own private yacht. It's a 60 foot yacht with a chef and bathrooms and showers and the whole bit. And that was ours for the day. So they picked us up and took us out to North Seymour Island where we were the ones that were on display, not the animals. It was unbelievable. I mean, you keep an observational distance, that's the phrase. And obviously not fenced on anything. This is their environment. We are the visitors and they just literally look at you and they don't run away. They just stay where they are doing what they do in nature. And just see the world famous blue footed boobies. And what were the scarlet?

Sylvio (18:32):
The frigates.

Lori (18:33):
The frigate.

Sylvio (18:33):
Magnificent frigates. Yeah,

Lori (18:35):
With the massive red throat that blow that they blow up into a great big balloon during mating. And to see the landi gu as and sea Gu as it was, we were all hushed. We hardly said anything as we walked. We wouldn't just touch of nature.

Sylvio (18:56):
You can basically stand a as close as about a meter or to two meters away. I mean, it's incredible.

Lori (19:03):
Yeah, that's the, the naturalists will caution you if you are too close and there is a gravel, not a gravel, but it's a dirt path that you must stay on. And quite honestly, some of the wildlife enjoys the path too. So you have to just stay put until they move.

Drew (19:24):
So if you're going around in these little 14 people groups, then it just doesn't, I mean, see pictures of tourist destinations where it's just bumper-to-bumper people, and it's kind of frustrating these days to go to popular destinations and have that happen. But it sounds like it's a lot more controlled there.

Lori (19:45):
Oh, very, very much. Even to the point where when we landed at the airport, the Walter Airport, there are a couple of different control stations right there at the airport before you can even leave. You can't have any dirt on your shoes. It's a complete non-plastic island. So you can't have plastic bags if they, and they will look through your luggage. If you have plastic bags, those plastic bags are gone. You can't have non recyclable plastic of any type. Very, very controlled. And the fines are huge. You can't bring in food. What else?

Sylvio (20:33):
You have to check underneath your shoes, your luggage, everywhere. If there's any little stones, anything that's sticking to it, you have to get rid of that before you get to the island. And to control the number of people also, which is nice because you kind of need to be able to preserve the fauna and the vegetation.

Drew (20:53):
Wh where did you learn about all of this stuff? Because I can imagine that a lot of people show up probably with all of this stuff in their luggage, and then all of a sudden they're in panic mode trying to figure out what they're going to do with all their stuff.

Lori (21:08):
Yeah. Well, I read, I'm a gracious reader, so even just when we discussed going to Gala Galapagos, I wanted to know everything there was to know. So I picked up the Lonely Planet book. I looked online and because we chose to go with a tour company, we went with a company called Gate One Travel. They were very good about passing on that information. Now obviously you have to read, so we knew that. But I just, I'm very, did we need visas? Do we need, what did we need? So I looked for a lot of things. And the one that was very interesting is that they won't let you on the airplane to get to the Gala Galapagos without in hand proof that you have health insurance.

Drew (22:08):

Lori (22:08):
Which apparently is fairly new. So I mean, they have a very different infrastructure there, obviously. I mean, the main town there has approximately 20,000 people. That's the largest. After that, you're looking at uninhabited islands or islands that have just a scattering of people. So their infrastructure as far as dealing with people with medical issues is semi limited. So they, it's really well thought out, I have to say in when you're looking at Gala Galapagos versus the actual mainland Ecuador, unbelievably different yet considered the same country.

Drew (22:53):
So with the health insurance, you're not speaking of just, I have my own home health insurance, but I have some kind of travel health insurance, yes, that's going to carry along with me. Did your agency help you take care of that or did you kind of do that on your own?

Lori (23:08):
Well, we're the type of people, because we travel so often we have an annual health insurance plan through Elon's Insurance. But when we purchase tours, and this one cost us, I think it was 3,700, so 3,700 US each. But that included flights from Toronto, all of our flights, most of our meals, all of our accommodation, all of our activities, we always add on the travel slash health insurance with the company. It's minimal. We spend $3,700 each. If something happens, you want to know that if you have to cancel that you're getting your money back. But also the health insurance, I'm one of those people who thinks you can't have enough because the cost of things are astronomical. So that's just process. It's literally insurance and peace of mind. So we always include that in every trip over and above sort of our regular annual plan.

Drew (24:19):
Now for me, I think the trips that I've taken in the past when I was being frugal and I didn't have a lot of money and I wasn't traveling at the amount that I am now, I didn't really think about getting health insurance when I was traveling out of the country or getting trip insurance because I thought, well, especially if I find a really good fair somewhere, sometimes I'm sitting there thinking, well, do I really need to or not? But it seems like the more you travel, the more you start to see the value in these things.

Lori (24:52):
Absolutely. And the more horror stories you read. And I think I don't want to be one of those statistics. So yeah, that's, that's included in what we're going to spend on our trip.

Drew (25:04):
So you're kind of answering one of my questions, which is spending money, because I'm thinking when I get down there, do I have to have cash in my pocket? And if I do, what kind of cash do I take with me and how easily accessible is cash? But did you feel like you just didn't really even need to have money in your pocket because food and activities and all that are taken care of?

Sylvio (25:28):
Most of it was taken care. So we didn't really need much cash. The only thing we needed is for the tip towards the guides towards the end.

Drew (25:37):
And so what kind of currency did you work with?

Lori (25:40):
US Dollars.

Drew (25:42):
Okay, so you're not getting Ecuadorian money? Nope.

Lori (25:46):
No US dollars. Now that is a consideration because you, especially when you're going to Galapagos, there are not going to be an abundance of bank machines or banks. Everything there is done by satellite. So they really discourage credit cards and debit cards because their connections aren't always terrific. So cash is king there. It works well. And there are a couple of ATM machines. But the other thing is you don't need to go with a thousand dollars in cash in your pocket. If you pre-book your hotels, even if you did it on your own, pre-book your hotels to some of your excursions before you even leave, they can be a bit more expensive that way, especially the excursions. But you've got them and they're paid for. If you do any research into travel planning for Gala Galapagos, people do find it very, very expensive. And you need to know how to get around because it's not like there's a massive transit system.

There are hotels, but only in certain locations. That's why we let somebody else do all the work. And we literally just went and enjoyed it. And we were, we've traveled on our own. We travel through Europe or we do all the planning, we do all the driving, et cetera. In this case, we thought, you know what, this is a specialized place. We're going to go with a tour company that has a good reputation. And it didn't let us down. I mean, we were not even rushed on this trip. We had downtime. They built downtime in so that, for instance, at the Finch Bay Lodge, they had a pool area which was inhabited by ducks, occasionally looking out over this beautiful mangrove area with a cup of coffee. And my writing material like, life doesn't get better than that.

Drew (27:57):
Right. Awesome. Too bad you can't do it all the time. But who's got the $3,700 to do that over and over?

Lori (28:04):
Exactly. Now remembering that that $3,700 covered the gala galas and doing a mainland Ecuador, all flights, et cetera. So that was an all in that covered a lot of stuff.

Drew (28:20):
That's 12 days.

Lori (28:22):
Yes. Yeah. Yep.

Sylvio (28:23):
Yeah, that was the flight starting from Toronto also.

Drew (28:26):
Yeah, I definitely can see that. I mean, because I do these trips planned out in grabbing a hotel here in a hotel here, in a hotel here, and then paying for my airlines and doing this over a span of months before I go on a big trip. I don't know that I, I hate to admit this, but I don't know that I ever actually see what the total cost for my trip is by the time it's done. And it wouldn't surprise me if I probably get up into maybe not that range, but not far from it. And you're going to a amazing place like Galapagos that is a once in a lifetime kind of an experience for a lot of people.

Lori (29:06):
Yeah, exactly.

Sylvio (29:07):
When you think about it, just a flight from guac to BTA and Galapagos over 600 miles away. So that takes well over an hour with an Airbus airplane.

Drew (29:20):
So there are people who are probably going to try to do this on the cheap. And I've heard couple of suggestions of ways of going and doing some last minute deals for cruises and things like that. With your trip having happened as smoothly as it has, do you think those people should rethink that or do you think maybe that's something worth in investigating? And for the person who really doesn't mind doing a lot of extra legwork to try to figure all of this stuff out, that it would be feasible and they wouldn't get into trouble doing it.

Lori (30:00):
That's good consideration.

Sylvio (30:03):
These people, the group we went through are the expert and they have group rates and stuff like that. So you might be able to get it a little bit less expensive if you do it on your own. But the difference in price and the amount of work you're going to have to do and the risk of something not going the way you planned, I'm not sure if it's, it's worth it. Like I said, our site is based on trying to get the most for your dollar, not necessarily going the cheapest way, but what you get is what you pay for.

Lori (30:37):
Basically. One of the things that a lot of people do is they go down and they take one of the boat tours where you're actually living on the boat for three or four days because Galapagos has two seasons. What was the date? The January to May can be is warm but quite rainy. And then the June to December is cool and dry. The weather can still be inconsistent. And I do have read, sorry about people that have been on the boats and it's been rough for me, that does not make for a good stay. Each day we were on a boat, but at night we were back on the land. So those are added logistics. If you're going on one of the tours where you're staying on the boat, then that's sort of all dealt with together. You've got your side activities, but where you're staying and that's partly your transportation. So certainly a lot of considerations. And in this case, I think with Galapagos and just personal opinion, there's a lot of extra considerations to that trip as opposed to going somewhere else.

Drew (31:49):
And what time of the year did you go?

Lori (31:52):
We went in early November. And again, personally, I don't think the weather could have been one iota better. It nice was amazing. It was warm but not brutally warm. The water was a fabulous temperature. The one thing though that we did notice when we landed was that on Bulter itself, it looked like a Barron desert wasteland with trees that were dead. And I'm thinking, I know it's on volcanic soil, but what is this? We asked our naturalist and he said, oh, you just wait. Within a couple of days of rain, this whole island comes together and it bursts with life and there's flowers everywhere that amazing. And then we move to Santa Cruz Island and it's lush and blooming. And I'm thinking, this is your dry sea.

Drew (33:02):
That's interesting.

Sylvio (33:03):
Yeah, the airport's on the north side of, it's on the lee of the side of the mountain of the volcano and the water, the humidity stopped. They stopped by the physical feature of the volcano. So it's dry on the north side, but very lush and green on the south side. So just by Dwayne that hour and a half drive from the airport to port A, you see from almost a desert area to a jungle area, it it's quite different. It's very unique.

Drew (33:44):
What's funny about that is the islands, if you go to Hawaii and you go to the big island of Hawaii, you get that same effect because you have those two large mountains in the middle of the island and one side is tropical and the other side looks like a desert in some spots. Exactly. Yeah. It's

Sylvio (34:03):
Think of that. But even more dramatic, oh

Lori (34:06):
Yes, they say there really isn't a bad time to go to the Gala Galapagos. You just need to do your research and find out the way you like to travel and what you like to do and see. Because you're still going to see 99% of all of the wildlife all year long.

Drew (34:26):
But I would imagine that during heavy tourist seasons, especially middle of summer, you're probably going to be looking at more waiting lists.

Lori (34:36):
That's a good question. I don't know because it's a place that people can travel to 12 months of the year. We were coming up to the beginning of the wet season. No, we guess we were sort of in the middle of the cool dry season. It's so regulated. I don't know if there's a part of the year where it's massive tourism. It's just not something that's so frowned upon down there.

Sylvio (35:07):
Yeah, it's very close to the equator. So the summer, the winter is almost the same as far as temperature and stuff like that. There is a drier season and a weather season, a little bit of a temperature change, but it is very close to the equator.

Drew (35:23):
And this is my inexperience, traveling not only to the equator, but south of the equator is trying to get the seasons in my head and figure out when is the best time to go there and what is the, but that makes, you're right in the middle of the globe, so the swings are not going to be that great.

Lori (35:42):
No, all these seem

Sylvio (35:43):
To be where it gets affected the most actually is El Ninos. That affects the weather there. But then El Nino may last a few months to a year. Right.

Drew (35:53):
Yeah. So from Galapagos, where do we head to next? I know when we were at Tex and we were having dinner that one night, we talked about Antarctica, which is another one of those spots that I think you just really have to do a lot of research and probably going with some kind of an agency is probably the better way to go. Do you have any more wild and crazy trips like that coming up or more kind of standard fair stuff?

Lori (36:25):
Well, what we're doing the Montana, but we're flying our own small planes. So we've got some little side adventures as we go down there for be almost, I guess almost two weeks total. And then in November we're heading to Thailand.

Drew (36:40):
Okay. First time.

Lori (36:42):
It's our first time in Thailand, so we're really, really looking forward to that as well. So doing research on what extra things we want to see in Montana and what else we want to do in Thailand and get a little background and history. So those are the two main ones coming up.

Sylvio (36:59):
And we've got

Lori (37:01):
In two years, we're also doing South Africa, a couple of weeks in South Africa. So we're already got the safari and everything's all booked. So now we're just working on the other ends of that week of safari with some time in Cape Town and doing a few other things. So

Drew (37:20):
Is this a first trip to Asia and the first trip to Africa, or have you been to either one before?

Lori (37:27):
I've been to Japan and Singapore. I actually lived in Singapore for, or stayed in Singapore for four months. Sylvia,

Sylvio (37:37):
I've been to the Middle East, so that's part of Asia, but I've never been to the far east. And also in Africa I've been to Northport north part of Africa, like Egypt, but I've never been to some.

Lori (37:49):
Yeah. And for me, this will be my first trip to Africa.

Drew (37:53):
Fun. Fun, new adventure. So is this a conquer all seven continents plan?

Lori (38:01):

Drew (38:03):
Get it done.

Sylvio (38:05):
When I was in the Air Force, I've been to the Arctic the far, well pretty close to the North Pole, and now I want to go to SA Antarctica. So

Drew (38:16):
I saw a YouTube video and I'll have to hunt it down, but I saw a YouTube video of some guys that were flying around the world in a small plane. And it was interesting to watch because they videoed a lot of it and they picked somebody up and they took them from Montreal to Paris on that leg of their flight. And they were, when we were talking about you and your great view that you have flying a plane, just looking at what they got to see while they were flying over North Quebec and up in that area is just absolutely beautiful. And something that I've never seen before. Because it seems like every time I'm flying to Europe, it's always on a red eye. And that's exactly dark by the time I get to that area. So have you flown up in that area before?

Sylvio (39:08):
Yeah. Oh yeah. Many times. And the Arctic is so beautiful. The air is pristine, the visibility is amazing. And the interesting thing is if you, on the far north, the far high arctic, there's no trees. So another thing you have is a little bit of a small plants lichen. And the vegetation environment is so rugged. You can see a boulder, you don't have any perspective for distance. You can see a boulder and think, oh, it's only about four mile away. And you start walking for it and you find out that it's five miles away. It's incredible. It's just incredible. I think everybody should see that and have a bit of perspective for how important the environment is.

Drew (39:56):
Yeah, I saw these guys landed in Baffin Bay and I was surprised at how many people lived up there. There was a little town there and they had enough to enjoy a night in the hotel and do stuff. And you just kind of forget that there are cultures and people who actually survive up in these terrains.

Sylvio (40:19):
Yeah, survive and drive.

Drew (40:21):
Yeah. Amazing. Amazing. Well, I appreciate you guys jumping in on the show this week and filling in the gaps on Galapagos because I know a lot of people are interested in that. So I think we got a lot of good information there for them. And you're going to be posting pictures from that coming up very soon, so I understand.

Lori (40:45):
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I just have a new article up on the website about Ecuador itself and then just getting ready to publish one just on the Gala Galapagos. And I will tell you, it will be a massive challenge to pick which pictures to include. Cause it is a photographer's dream down there.

Drew (41:09):
I can imagine. Do you, do you like me and take your cell phone with you because it takes such good pictures? Or do you take more of a professional camera with you when you go?

Lori (41:20):
I have a Cannon DSLR that takes phenomenal pictures and my iPhone, which also takes phenomenal pictures. So I spend a lot of time with my eye in the camera. I will admit that

The one thing is I did not bring my telephoto lens because I was told that the animals are so close that you don't need to, and it is a bit heavy. There were maybe once or twice and thought, oh, I wish I'd had my telephoto lens with me, but for the rest of the time I didn't need it. And also a good waterproof camera, like a GoPro or something else. When you're snorkeling and you see the, I think they're black tip sharks and the beautiful seagrass and the hawksville tor turtles. Unbelievable. So yeah, as I said, I, I'm going to be hard pressed to pick which

Drew (42:17):
Pictures to include.

Sylvio (42:18):
We've done snorkeling, I've done snorkeling, number of places around the world and that by long shot was the best snorkeling I've ever, ever done. I mean, there was one time we saw, not one, not two, but four huge sea turtle at the same time. Fish that are over a foot long. One of the sea turtle actually was just got up start grazing and his startup and was moving towards us. We had to move out of the way to be able to let it go. Oh

Drew (42:50):
Wow. For a guy like me who's never snorkeled before, I'll, I'll get spoiled if that's my first experience.

Sylvio (42:59):
Oh yeah. We both came out on boat and it's just a, wow. That was amazing.

Drew (43:06):
Wonderful. So tell me how people can keep up with your photos and the stuff that you're doing and the trips you're taking, including Thailand and all that websites, social media. Best place to reach out for you.

Lori (43:21):
Well, our website is voyage writers.com and on all social we are voyage writers. And if anybody wants to listen to the radio clip Maple on the map, it's on pock can radio.ca. It's a strange radio and it's said it's listened to in over a hundred countries with the All Canadian music. And then my travel, click

Drew (43:52):

Sylvio (43:52):
As way writers with writers with an, because there's two of us. Okay,

Drew (43:58):
Excellent. I will put all of the links onto the show notesPage@travelfeelslife.com and then people will be able to just click and follow and check out what you're doing. And I really appreciate your time today and I'm looking forward to seeing you guys and catching up in Billings, Montana when we all get there. So it's, it's been fun following you guys for the last year and looking forward to catching up in the future.

Sylvio (44:26):
Looking forward to see you there.

Lori (44:28):
Can't wait.

Drew (44:31):
Well, I hope you enjoyed the conversation today with Lori and Sylvia and you got some good information about Galapagos. I've got a little bit more for you if you go out to travel fuels life.com/podcasts. And then look for show number 33, that is this episode. And on the show notes page, I've got a link to a government website for the Galapagos Island and it's going to give you eight things that you need to know to be able to get to Galapagos and not have any kind of issues when you are traveling there, especially if you are planning this out by yourself without the help of an agency. So check that out. It is@travelfuelslife.com slash podcasts, episode 33. So do you like whiskey, you like history, you like travel? Well check out my new webpage. It's devoted completely to whiskey travels and sign up for the newsletter to make sure that you find out when the new Whiskey Lore podcast is going to be hitting your favorite podcast app. All you have to do is go to whiskey lore.com. That's whiskey lore.com. Something new and exciting coming from Travel Fuel's Life. And until next time, have a great week and thanks for listening to Travel Fuel's Life.

Sylvio (46:03):
Just to give you an idea for the sea lions, they are every everywhere. One time we were waiting on the dock for the Pena, that was taxi boat and there was two benches. One bench had two sea lions, and my brother-in-law was sitting in the bench next to it. So one of the sea lions sort of grumble and moved the other one. And the second sea lion just went towards the bench, basically moved my brother-in-law out of the way so he could have the bench.

Drew (46:35):

Sylvio (46:36):
How intimate the animals are. I mean, they are absolutely not afraid of people.

Drew (46:42):
Wow. That is crazy. And you didn't get video of that unfortunately, I'm guessing. No,

Sylvio (46:49):
No. It was just out a few pictures on the move. Yeah, with my brother-in-law when he said the lion coming over. Yeah, just about moving. He just moved out of the way.

Drew (46:57):
That's crazy. Oh, excuse me.

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