Of all my travels, this is one that transcends time and place. It is as magical the third time as it was the first. The Galapagos Islands are a must see!
From elementary school to college, we learned about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. We studied origins and how species have evolved over time. We know that some of the most unique species on this earth are located on these islands. But have you been there? Have you seen the Blue footed Boobies, the tortuga’s, or the iguana’s. The vastness from lush agricultural land to dry and arid conditions will blow your mind.
The Galapagos Islands were surreal for me. Just imagine Darwin fascinated by all of the species, recording and writing it all down as he traveled around the islands and then onto the Indian Ocean. His actual discovery or his epiphany of evolution actually occurred in the Indian Ocean months after he had left Santa Cruz island of the Galapagos.
He was fascinated by the finches and how they adapted from island to island. He kept going back to his notebook, looking at his drawings, and contemplating how different and unique each finch was to the island. There are more than 100 small islands and 13 major islands in the Galapagos. The unique islands are home to tortoises, iguanas, fur seals, sea lions, sharks, sting rays, and many indigenous birds. It was the birds and their differences from island to island that had his brain churning. I completely understand Darwin needing a few months to put together natural selection, I mean my mom brain works a little slow sometimes. It may take me a few minutes or even a day to remember, why did I come in here? What was I coming to get? Ah, well never mind…..
Some of my best memories are here on the islands. Jamie and I got to experience the Galapagos together, hike a large shield volcano, and kayaked in the Pacific Ocean. I was in my first trimester two years later and snorkeling with sea turtles and white-tipped sharks. The different species on land and sea, the beautiful aqua-blue water, and impressive sunsets were just the tip of the iceberg or lets say volcano. The old adage states, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, I do not know of anyone who has traveled with me, that does not see the beauty in the diversity. Sometimes I wonder if others who yearn for a more homogeneous society could stop and see the actual beauty within things that are different. I know that Darwin saw it, I saw it, maybe others can too.
I have been so fortunate to have experienced this raw beauty personally but for those who have not had the opportunity, let me share these with you. I love looking back at these pictures and remembering the wonderful, fresh seafood each day.
Snorkeling was amazing. I can honestly say that our sites were phenomenal and well worth a full day at sea. Here are some of those pictures:
So, if you ever want to go – let me know and I will grab my passport and pack my bags! Seriously, add this to your bucket list.
One of my favorite dishes in Ecuador and especially on Isabela is ceviche. Ceviche is a fresh, summer time dish. However, I crave it year round. Ceviche is unique because you do not cook it. The acid from the lemon or lime will over time cook the shrimp. You can add a variety of items to go with your shrimp from jalapenos for spice, to onions and tomatoes for the basics. Cilantro is the second star player next to the lime juice.
2 lbs of Shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tail off
2 cups of lime juice
1 red onion diced
1 10oz container of petite snacking tomatoes – diced (that is what I had on hand) You can use a can of diced tomatoes if you do not have fresh on hand
1/2 cup of diced green pepper
2 Tbsps of cilantro paste or 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional – if you like a bit of hit, you can add jalapenos or red pepper flakes, also it is really nice with avocados too!
Dice shrimp and pour lime juice in a bowl, place in the refrigerator for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until they are no longer pink (I have done this in the morning, and had it ready to go for lunch or even supper). Be sure to give it a shake or stir at least once during the process.
Next, after the shrimp are nice and pink, add your diced veggies, salt and pepper along with the cilantro.
Wahoo, you are done. You can serve this dish in a ton of ways. Some will serve it with popcorn, tortillas, tostados, or as a chilled soup. Either way, you cannot go wrong. One last tip, if you need to rush this, mom brain is in neutral, no fear. Take 2 lbs of pre-cooked shrimp and let it thaw with the lime juice and you just sped up your cook time tremendously.
Mis viajes son tus viajas, my travels are your travel! Hope you enjoy!