During 2012, my travels took me to five very different destinations throughout the world. I began and ended the year in tropical locations that are part of the United States of America—the Florida Keys and Kauai, Hawaii.
Sandwiched in between were Tenerife, the largest of Spain's Canary Islands, located off the coast of Morocco, Africa; Riviera Maya, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and the Galapagos Islands, made famous by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, located off the coast of Ecuador in South America.
In reflecting on these destinations, each spectacular in their own way, I thought about all the places I have temporarily called home—the hotels (and one a floating hotel) where I have laid my head (upon the satin pillowcase I take with me everywhere), but in very different locales.
Here is the fourth of my favorites for 2012—my "tops in the tropics," which I am featuring in the order I visited them, with heartfelt thanks to all the staff at each of these world class resorts who made my stay so memorable!
Ecoventura's M/Y Flamingo I
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Visited: September 2012
The M/Y Flamingo I, a 20-passenger, 83 foot yacht was my "floating hotel" for a week of a lifetime, as I motored through seven of the 14 main islands of the Galapagos.
Located approximately 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, protected as a national park, are home to nearly 2,000 unique animal and plant species, made famous by Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, which outlined his theory of evolution.
The Flamingo I is one of three identical expedition yachts, along with the Eric and the Letty, which have been run by tour company, Ecoventura, since 1990.
Each features three decks. Most cabins are furnished with one double bed or two twin lower beds; mine on the lower deck included a lower twin and an additional upper and lower twin. All are fully air-conditioned with private bathroom (hot and cold water showers), bio-degradable soap/shampoo dispensers, hair dryer, closet, drawers, intercom and separate climate controls.
The main deck includes the dining room, bar and conference area with flat screen TV and library, where we gathered before dinner each evening to receive briefings on the next day's location and planned activities.
The sun deck was enjoyed day and night, as many of the guests gathered under a sky full of stars for conversation after dinner.
• 7-night expedition, departing from San Cristobal every Sunday
• Three meals daily, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
• Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail parties
• House wine and local beer served during dinner
• Guided excursions with English-speaking naturalist(s)
• Low guide to passenger radio (maximum 10 guests per guide)
• Complimentary snorkeling equipment, 3mm custom wet suits and kayaks
• Rates start at $3,750 double / $3,650 triple / $5600 single (Early bird discounts of 5% are available on selected seasonal departure dates.)
It Goes Without Saying...
To be in the Galapagos Islands is a once-in-a-lifetime honor and privilege. If you have dreamed of walking among giant land tortoises, snorkeling with sea lions, watching the mating dance of blue-footed booby birds, or getting up-close-and-personal with marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs and many other endemic species, do whatever you must to get there! From the fantastic accommodations to the amazing staff aboard the Flamingo I, as well as the knowledgeable naturalists, this is the definition of an unforgettable adventure.
Check it out: 800-633-7972; www.ecoventura.com