Way way back in January 2020, just after I’d settled into my new apartment living on my own, I decided to book a trip of a lifetime. I had always wanted to visit the Galapagos islands because of my love of nature and serious obsession with documentaries. As a scientist, and predominantly a biological scientist, the Galapagos islands are iconic, synonymous with Charles Darwin and known to be the place where his theory of evolution and publication “The Origin of Species” was concieved.
But it’s not just the Galapagos that’s special, I was aware of the diversity of Ecuador, from the high volcanic peaks of the Andes, shrouded in cloud which protect some of the few remaining cloud forests of the world, to the lowland amazon basin, which covers nearly half of the country. As the name suggests it’s also on the Equator, so nice and sunny, and the capital Quito, is the 2nd highest capital city in the world.
I was sold. It looked idyllic and like there were some real adventures to be had…
I would have love to have gone to Ecuador with someone, but alas, being single I had nobody 😦 but I wasn’t going to let that stop me, so I booked my flights and planned the trip myself, as usual, booking hotels, transport and activities directly or via hotels/booking.com.
But then… the global covid pandemic hit in March 2020, and at the start of April, my trip was cancelled. Fortunately, I received either full refunds or vouchers for the entirety of my trip. So for now, it was just on hold, never forgotten…
Fast forwards 2 years, and in December 2021, when things appeared to be opening up again, I rebooked the entire trip for April 2022. However, by then, some things had changed. Covid had taught me a valuable lesson… To not take travel and trips like this for granted. To ensure that I make the most of my time, and to make it as special a trip as possible, after all, you only live once, and this may be the only opportunity I have to take a trip like this.
So in the second wave of booking, I also decided to book a special hotel for my trip; Mashpi Lodge. I had seen Mashpi on a BBC documentary called “Equator from the Air”, where Gordon Buchanan travelled the ecuator visiting various places with drones and from above to get a different view of the world. I remember watching it and seeing the episode where Mashpi is thinking “Wow, what an incredible magical place!”. I instantly googled it and found it on Hotels.com, but at around £1,500 a night, it seemed way out of my budget, not something I could justify.
But when I rebooked my trip just after Christmas 2021, I did just check Hotels.com again… out of curiosity mainly, but also with my new YOLO post-covid attitude(!). I was surprised to see that there was a special promotion on. For a single room, just over £1000 for 2 nights! A couple of saved hotel vouchers got it down to £760, and then a Quidco cashback promotion got it down even further to just £700, £350 a night! That was more like it. I booked without hesitation and let the excitement begin.
Unfortunately, for my bank balance, my YOLO attitude only grew, and 3 nights before I was due to fly out to Ecuador I emailed Mashpi and found myself booking a 3rd night for another $600! Haha!! But as you’ll see… it was SO worth it!
So in the end, this is how my trip panned out:
- Quito – 4 nights
- Mashpi – 3 nights
- Cuyabeno Amazon Region – 4 nights
- Banos de Agua Santa – 2 nights
- Galapagos – Santa Cruz Island – 3 nights
- Galapagos – Isabela Island – 3 nights
- Galapagos – San Cristobal – 2 nights
I’ll be posting all my blog posts here over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!! 😉