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August 20, 2010 / Jim Fenton

Day 1: San Francisco to Guayaquil

This is part of a series about our vacation to the Galápagos Islands.  To see the first article in the series, click here.

The day started early. The first leg of the trip was a 6:15 departure for Miami, which by the time you add up the final preparations at home, drive time to SFO, parking shuttle, checking bags, and security, we were looking at about a 3 am wake up time. At least we can doze on the plane…some of us, anyway. Thankfully, the Peet’s Coffee at SFO opens at 5 am so we were able to get our usual “Friday Food” breakfast of coffee/milk and muffins/pastries before we jumped on the plane.

Terminal Artwork at Miami Airport

MIA Airport Artwork

Although Kenna and I had driven through Miami many years ago, this was our first connection through the airport. Why does it seem that airports are always under construction? The construction at Miami wasn’t much of an inconvenience other than that many interesting shops and restaurants were “coming soon”. The terminal, however, was quite attractive, quite reminiscent of the new Denver International Airport but with an “islands” theme.

Lindblad had provided us with distinctive blue and yellow ribbons to attach to our luggage and carry-ons, and in the vicinity of the departure gate for our Guayaquil flight we started noticing others with those ribbons on their bags. A Lindblad greeter soon appeared and told us that there were 57 members of our cruise on the flight (since this was the suggested flight for the tour). There are (apparent) retirees and families with children both younger and older than Celeste and quite a few multiple-generation families.

Hilton Guayaquil Atrium

Hilton Guayaquil Atrium

When we arrived in Guayaquil, another Lindblad representative met us as soon as we emerged from Customs, and we were taken by bus to our hotel, the Hilton Colón Guayaquil. Unfortunately, we arrived rather late (about 11:30 pm), so we didn’t get to see much of the city. I was expecting it to be quite warm and perhaps humid, but the weather was very pleasant, in the high 70s. Both the airport and the hotel have a definite European feel.

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