With all the planning done and bags packed we are on the road again travelling to Ecuador and Peru to visit Galapagos and hike the Inca Trail both having been on my wish list for some time. We flew to Quito via Madrid on a fairly uneventful BA/Iberia flight and made our way from the new airport into the city centre a distance of about 20kms but travellers beware this journey can take over 2 hrs in heavy traffic and we almost missed a later flight to Lima in Friday rusah hour. We found Quito to be better than expected with a mixture of old and new architecture , clean and safe. Only 20kms from the Equator at this height it is remarkably cool.The hop on hop off city tour at 12$ is good value and allows you to see most parts of the city. After a couple of days on our own we joined a G Adventures tour to the Galapagos and this did not disappoint. Our boat only had 7 rooms so there were as many crew as passengers. Daily routine followed a similar pattern with an island visit each morning and snorkelling in the afternoon. On land we saw blue footed boobies and frigate birds doing their mating dances and also land and marine iguanas. Sea lions and fur seals were a plenty but we only managed to see the giant tortoises at the Darwin centre. I had totally underestimated the snorkelling and we were well rewarded for our efforts with close encounters with white tipped sharks, turtles, penguins, seals and all manner of fish. The occasional rays were also sighted. All fellow passengers got on well, the crew and guide were excellent, food good and the trip got off to a great start.