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If you plan a trip to the Galapagos islands, you will have to catch a flight either from Quito or Guayaquil. Your tour company may dictate which city you would fly out of, or you might get to choose. If I could choose, I would recommend starting from Quito and tacking a day or so onto the end of your trip to explore the city.

Quito is the capital of Ecuador and has the distinction of being the highest capital city in the world at 9,350 feet above sea level. The city was built on a plateau of the eastern flank of the Pichincha volcano which looms over the city.  As a tourist, I’d suggest you spend your time in the historic center. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is thought to be the best preserved historic center in the Americas. That is saying a lot since South America is susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides.

Even if you are not normally drawn to cathedrals and religious buildings, if you ever get a chance to visit the grand cathedrals of Central and South America – go. Quito’s Church of the Society of Jesus (in the picture below) is amazing. Pictures can’t do justice to the gold leaf on the ceiling and the incredible Moorish influences in the decoration. I have dragged my husband through many a cathedral in Europe, and they are breathtaking, but I didn’t connect to them in the same visceral way I did to the churches we saw in the Americas. The way the local people incorporated their belief systems into the Catholicism of the conquistadors is amazing. Quito is definitely worth a trip, with or without a jaunt out to the Galapagos islands.

The port city of Guayaquil is the largest and most populous city in Ecuador. We flew through Guayaquil on our trip to the Galapagos and it was extremely easy to navigate from the airport to our hotel and back. The city struck me as business oriented and eager to keep things moving in and out of the port. We didn’t have much time to look around, but did spend several hours exploring the Malecon 2000 restoration of the Simon Bolivar Pier. After a long flight from the east coast of the U.S., our family was ready to walk along the waterfront and explore the pocket parks along the way. My kids were fascinated to see big yellow iguanas hanging from the trees and munching on the plants.



Would you like to be part of Midge & Snig’s adventure in the Galapagos? Want to have your name (or any name you choose) in my next book? From now until the end of April, everyone who follows my blog, signs up for my newsletter, or leaves a comment, will be entered in a drawing for the chance to name the cruise ship featured in the book.

This post in part of the AtoZ Challenge. Please click on the sunflower AtoZ icon in the sidebar to go to the official list of participating blogs. This year my theme is the Galapagos Islands. I am in the process of writing the first of my Midge & Snig mystery series set in the islands. In my research, I have come across a plethora of interesting facts and images. The vast majority of my research won’t get included in the book, but it’s fun to share what I’ve learned with you all.