The last few days we got to explore the beautiful West Coast of Ecuador! On Thursday, we spent the whole day on Isla de la Plata. This is an island off of Ecuador that is known as the Baby Galapogos or The Silver Island. It’s called the Silver Island because all of the bird poop is so apparent it makes the island look silver in the moonlight! Very amazing, but also so disgusting.
We got up bright and early and headed out on a 1 hour boat ride to reach the island. We all were extremely excited to see the blue footed booby, an amazing bird with blue feet. On our way there, as we all searched for the booby in the air, something else caught the eyes of us all: a group of dolphins! They were riding alongside the boat and were putting on a show jumping up in the air like it was a circus. It was so amazing to see that when we had no clue it was coming. When we got to the island, we also saw sea turtles in the water up close. They are also some astonishing animals. We finally unboarded the boat and caught yet another rare sight in a baby turtle taking its first journey from egg to the ocean. The baby turtle was booking it, racing to get into the safe ocean. Fortunately he made it unscaved.
We finally made it to the trail and got to see the majestic blue footed booby. I expected to only see about 10 total, but the island was covered in them. We got to see hundreds and they were so close we could touch them. There were 2 distinct differences between the males and females. The females had bigger pupils and made a deeper call while the males’ pupils were smaller and had a higher pitched call. They also build their nests in the open so they can land easily without getting their feet stuck on bushes. We also got the chance to see frigatebirds. These birds were massive and the males had large red throats that could expand to attract mates. The island is said to have thousands of these birds. They also do not hunt their own food, they steal it from other birds like the boobys! Talk about thieves.
After the island we went snorkeling in the water around the island. It was my first time snorkeling and it was so amazing to be in the water with such colorful fish. We even got a chance to see a pufferfish! After this crazy adventure we travelled back an hour to the mainland to get Covid tests. Thanos almost missed his as he somehow fell asleep on the bus for a 3 minute drive and we all forgot about him. The test was stuck so far up each nostril it felt like my brain was going to seep out after, but I powered through and tested negative. Later that night we got to explore the nearby area and go to a few restaurants tasting the great foods and drinks. I had the absolute best milkshake I’ve had in my entire life.
Friday we got the chance to see Hazienda Victoria’s surprisingly large cacao farm. With over 500 hectares, it is the largest cacao national plantation in Ecuador. It was crazy to see such large scale production with quality chocolate. Finally we went to the Guayaquil airport and flew to Quito on a 25 minute flight. When we got to Quito we found out all flights were delayed by 8 hours. It was such a hassle to get everything sorted out and new flights booked. They even had Will flying to Mexico City! Now instead of returning Saturday at 4 pm, we won’t be back until Sunday at 9 am, but I wouldn’t trade this trip for the world. It all would not have been so special without Rick, Skip, and Dianna being so amazing and having so much knowledge. I’m so blessed to bring back great memories, experiences, and to have met so many amazing people.