Planning a Vaya Trip to South America
At Vaya Adventures we pride ourselves on firsthand destination knowledge that can only come from shutting down the computer and getting on a plane going south. This year I’ll be returning to Peru and the beautiful Galapagos Islands, familiarizing myself with new and updated ships, hotels, activities, and of course wildlife.
As I prepare for this trip, I’ve found myself asking many of the same questions I field from our travelers on a daily basis. There are plenty of similarities between planning a trip with a potential Vaya Traveler and planning a trip as, well, a Vaya Traveler that happens to work for Vaya!
The first hurdle in planning a trip is coming up with the list of place I’d like to visit and things I’d like to do… and then reducing it. Sadly, the list of what I’d like to do is much longer than the list of what I have time to do. With a 7-month-old baby at home, my days of throwing gear in a backpack and setting off for a few months in a foreign land are over. Decisions have to be made and priorities set. So, while Ecuador’s Avenue of the Volcanoes has long been on my wish list, for this trip I will focus primarily on the Galapagos Islands and the mountainous northwest region behind Peru’s famed Machu Picchu.
After pinpointing my overall trip goals and figuring out my dates, it’s time to get down to specifics. On my first trip to the Galapagos I was fortunate to take a wonderful 8 day cruise aboard the Eric, Flamingo, Letty, so this time I’m switching things up and trying out a land-based itinerary. I’ll spend a few days at Iguana Crossing on Isabela Island, then head to Santa Cruz Island to check out the Angermeyer Waterfront Inn and the Galapagos Safari Camp. I know that I want to get in some great snorkeling (an unmissable activity in Galapagos) and also try out some mountain biking and stand-up paddling. In Peru, I’ll be meeting up with the rest of the Vaya team to explore a less-touristed section of the Andes (including part of the great Salkantay trek) and doing activities with my colleagues. With my hotels nailed down and a few must-do activities planned, I can relax and take the rest of the trip as it comes!
Once the itinerary has been all firmed up (the days go by quickly, and I still have plenty of work to do on this portion) I can start thinking about packing. What’s the weather going to be like? What’s the best clothing to bring that will work for both the mild weather of the Galapagos and the briskness of the high Andes? And where the heck is my passport?
I’ll report back at the end of April with trip photos and a brief trip re-cap!