A Vacation within a Vacation

or Why has Two Who Trek been quiet so long?

The Spanish studies program in Cuenca offers a four day “spring break” halfway through the month-long stay.  The program organizers encourage students to explore new possibilities during this period.  About half the students in our group stayed in the Cuenca area; a few took advantage of day bus trips offered by the school to nearby towns.  A couple went by van with some Cuencanos to Baños, a resort town to the north, reached by driving through the “Avenue of the Volcanos”

Our program organizers took a van load of students to a coastal resort community in northern Peru.  One couple decided to venture to Macchu Piccu, the place where Two Who Trek made their first trip outside of North America in 2006.

What did Two Who Trek decide to do with this time off?  Well, we headed for the Galapagos Islands!  We worked with an excellent Ecuadorian travel agent, Maria José Ordóñez of Corpo Viajes Travel in Cuenca, to find a last-minute deal on a Galapagos cruise.  Maria is fluent in both Spanish and English, which was great for us.  Otherwise, we would not have had enough Spanish between us to even talk to a travel agent!  After looking for a couple of days, she finally found one that fit our schedule closely.  We did play hookey from school one day to go on the trip, but the miss was worth it!

What we found was that last minute Galapagos deals are available as early as three weeks before a sailing date.  Because ships want to fill as many cabins as possible, the prices drop as the departure date approaches.  Ecuadorian travel agents apparently are more tuned into cruise and land deals than other agents are, primarily because they work with the Galapagos companies more frequently.

The real benefit of a last minute deal was the reduced price now included an incentive from the cruise company of paid air fare from Guayaquil, Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands.  Because we were already in Ecuador, we also saved the price of a $1000 round trip ticket to and from the United States.  As a result, our trip cost about a third of what we would have paid had we arranged the trip stateside.  It was just too good a deal to miss.

However, WiFi isn’t available on most ships.  So as a result, Two Who Trek couldn’t blog about any of the adventures to date.   We also decided against taking the laptop as we wanted to enjoy the Galapagos experience as much as we could.

So we are sorry about being silent for so long.  We will be posting more regularly over the next few days.  Plus we will be posting more about Galapagos.  As a teaser, it was probably the best trip we have ever been on, with our month in Cuenca being a close second.  But first, we’ll be getting caught up on our Cuenca adventures (and resting from all the activity in the Galapagos!)

One last note about working with Maria — she is excellent!  She worked out every detail and had answers to our questions before we asked.  Our plane from Guayaquil to Galapagos was delayed by three hours.  Maria called the ship to see if they would still be able to pick us up.  She found that there were nine cruise passengers on that flight, so the answer was a definite yes.  She called us in Galapagos to make sure we arrived, then again on Tuesday during our ride home to see if we returned safely.   Mucho gracias, Maria!

Categories: blog, classes, Cuenca, ecuador, galapagos national park, lessons, photos, preparation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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