Being 22 years old I chose Ecuador to make my first trip to South America. One of my dreams was to visit the Galapagos Islands, so isolated and particular that it seems that you land in another world, with an incredible and wild fauna and where the impact of human civilization has not yet done much damage.
I spent 2 weeks touring the different islands in Galapagos Archipelago, and later, I spent a month and a half in the mainland of Ecuador. I was completely alone and I didn’t have any friends or contacts there but that was the reason for my trip.
Sea lions are funny animals that can be easily found on most of the beaches.
Views of the Galapagos islands from the plane.
Kicker Rock, near San Cristobal Island, it’s an amazing formation.
Some Neogene fossils on San Cristóbal Island.
In Galápagos the use of cars is very regulated and it’s allowed only for local people. It’s possible to get around by taxi or bike, so some days I decided to do some trips with my bike to tour the island.
With the famous giant tortoise of Galápagos, impressive!
Some beautiful places…
‘Las Grietas’ on Santa Cruz Island.
The endemic marine iguanas from Galapagos are the only ones that can swim and dive in the sea, their respiratory system is adapted for that. When is low tide they go diving in the sea to eat seaweed and the rest of the day they are sunbathing on the beach to improve their body temperature. They are very calm and don’t get scared when you see them, in some areas hundreds can be seen! An incredible animal.
Turtles taking a bath in the mud…
A cute baby sea lion sucking from the mother.
The large and endemic cactus.
The pink lake on the Santa Cruz Island, consequently to some bacteria present in the water.
The crab Grapsus grapsus, very common in Galapagos.
The beautiful ‘Playa de la Tortuga’ in Santa Cruz Island.
In the fishing market on the island of Santa Cruz is a great attraction for tourists to see how wild animals approach and await the remains.
Pelicans waiting for food.
I visited the island in the best time for the lobsters, the fishermen brought many every day and in the restaurants they cooked for dinner.
Sierra Negra volcano crater on Isabela Island.
Snorkeling with a marine iguana.
El Garrapatero Beach.
Spheniscus mendiculus, the small endemic penguin from Galápagos.
Sula nebouxii (Piqueros de Patas Azules) an endemic species from Galápagos.
Galapagos was a unique and unforgettable experience where I could know the best side of nature and enjoy it in its pure state.
I returned to Quito to know the city and start my adventure around the country.
The old colonial Quito is very pleasant to walk around and has a very good atmosphere.
The Cuicocha Lagoon on Imbabura Province.
Me near the Pichincha volcano, more than 4,000 meters high.
My first friend was a peasant who helped me for two days to find some snails.
A beautiful Drymaeus fucatus from Pichincha province.
Drymaeus petasites that I found in the middle of 3 oranges, very curious!
Beautiful waterfall on Imbabura Province.
One of my best finds during the trip was the Rhodea cousini species, rarely seen alive.
A very old Megalobulimus popelairianus. The locals told me that a few years ago it was very common and they ate them. But now the specimens have disappeared. It’s in consequence of the pesticides and chemicals used in the fields and also by deforestation.
A undescribed Porphyrobaphe species found in a small coastal Island, very interesting.
I came to the coast to spend a couple of weeks on the beach and collect marine fauna, meet some fishermen…
The crows waiting to eat a dead turtle on the beach, the cycle of life.
Oliva undatella ecuadoriana that I collected during low tide on the beach, this species have a nice color variations.
A really beautiful Pitar lupanaria, very difficult to get with this quality.
I bought a shark tooth from a merchant on the Manabí province, it’s undoubtedly an important piece since there are no reported teeth from this area and there are very few studies on fossils in Ecuador.
Persististrombus granulatus, some specimens that I got during my days on the coast.
A really big and exceptional Cypraecassis tenuis.
Long excursions in the mountains… The way to get some beautiful snails!
With Gustavo Noboa, the former president of Ecuador, is a great collector of seashells. He received me one afternoon at his house and I was able to meet him personally, he has a unique collection for the country’s fauna and he is a great fan of the family Conidae, Spondylidae, Pectinidae and Pleurotomariidae with some impressive specimens. A really nature passionate that was a pleasure to meet.
In the middle and end of my trip I set course to the Amazonas to look for terrestrial snails and freshwater mussels. I first met a friend who welcomed me to his home with his family and my visit was very pleasant.
The shotgun is a necessary tool in these lands as a defense against large wild animals that may suddenly appear in the jungle.
I went to meet the Secoya indigenous community on the banks of the Napo River (affluent of the Amazon), they received me very kindly and explained their customs, a beautiful experience.
The mother teaches her son the process of making Yuca powder.
Nice Plekocheilus lynciculus that I found in the jungle.
Looking for Freshwater mussels. Anodontites and Castalia specimens.
And finally, the two beautiful brothers showing a Sultana sultana specimen that I found with them.
It has been a pleasure to spend two months in Ecuador, a fantastic country that will return soon!