If you are lucky enough to have secured space aboard a Galapagos Cruise during the Christmas holiday, you are in for a real treat. Galapagos cruises during the holidays are in huge demand and many of the best ships and yachts are sold out over a year in advance. But for those who planned ahead a holiday trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos islands is the trip of a lifetime.
December is one of the best times of year to visit the Galapagos Islands. Climate in the Galapagos is divided a warm season (December-May) and a cool season (May-December). These seasons are dictated by warm or cold currents. The warm season is characterized by hot weather, afternoon tropical rains, and calm seas. The cool season is characterized by coastal fog, no rain and choppier seas. The transitions between these two seasons can offer the best of both worlds and some of the most unique wildlife encounters available.
Each month in the Galapagos bring unique and varied wildlife. During the end of December and early January you will find giant tortoise eggs hatching, green sea turtles mating, albatross young fledging, land birds nesting, iguanas turning bright colors and the best weather of the year. The air and water temperatures are rising and this is a great time to snorkel. Most ships and yachts will celebrate the holiday with a traditional dinner and even carols or gifts.
Another reason to travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos during the holidays is to experience the colors and culture of Quito during the holidays. The culture of the Quiteños (Quito locals) is characterized by their Catholicism, and Christmas represents a time of celebration and traditions. Visitors to the Cultural Capital of the Americas will no doubt be able to experience the month-long celebration on every corner of Quito’s streets.
One of the most unique offerings of Quito during this period is its celebration of the Bbay Jesus and its crib. During the
“Fiestas de Quito” a 66 feet-high metal crib is raised at the bottom of the city’s patron saint Virgen del Panecillo on El Panecillo Hill.
This year will also mark the 6th annual exhibition of Christmas cribs in the Convento Maximo de San Francisco from December 9 to January 9, 2012 where Peruvian artists Juana Mendivil and Silvestre Ataucusi will be exhibiting nativity figurines based on the Andean autochthonous fauna.
Visitors to the city must not miss the neo baroque churches and convents in Quito’s historical centre which open their doors to feature antique nativity scenes and the boisterous streets of La ronda which are impregnated with incense aroma and street musicians singing Christmas carols. Join them during the nine days of Christmas on the “Novena” during which time people fill the streets and song and celebration of the holiday.
Whether you visit Ecuador for the creatures or the culture, the holidays are a special time in Quito and the Galapagos Islands. Contact the Ecuador and Galapagos travel experts at AdventureSmith Explorations to plan your next trip.