Leaving New York City for the Galápagos Islands

Leaving New York City for the Galápagos Islands

When I chose to give up all of my possessions, turn away from my lucrative make up, photography, and reiki massage clients, move from my amazing rent-controlled apartment in New York, and leave my incredible friends I had celebrated life with for 10 years, everyone (including myself) thought I was crazy.

Yes, I was a free spirit who worked seven days a week and had to schedule my world travels around my clients’ needs, and yes, I severely dislike the bone-chilling New York winters, but my life was blessed – yet something was missing.

The minute I landed in the Galápagos Islands, my old life seemed to dissolve. A long-awaited dream was coming true in which I would experience a magical land where humans and animals could coexist in peaceful, respectful harmony.

Choosing a gypsy path after college may not seam so eclectic, but as a 35-year-old entrepreneur, it was relatively unheard of. My spirituality had been blooming and after getting my first reiki attunement, a huge shift happened and I couldn’t continue to live in the cage I’d built for myself.

Now I’m on a journey to study with indigenous healers, detox from a stressful lifestyle, and document everything.

The minute I landed in the Galápagos Islands, my old life seemed to dissolve. A long-awaited dream was coming true in which I would experience a magical land where humans and animals could coexist in peaceful, respectful harmony. Although Santa Cruz has grown substantially in recent years, it still remains rural and is dedicated to researching and preserving the natural habitat of thousands of unique species Charles Darwin set out to document in the 1830s. This chain of 20 islands off the coast of Ecuador holds a mystique of times past. This world seamed so far from the one I’d left and enchanted me into the nostalgia of a life where one’s greatest value is time spent with loved ones, relationships that mean more than material things, and exhilarating adventures that feed the soul’s need for exploration, jubilation, and awe.

On the white sand beaches of Tortuga Bay, you’ll find a little shade beneath the few cactus and Palo Santo trees, but make sure to bring your sunscreen, as even with cloud cover, you are on the equator. Between the exuberant sea, where you can surf, and the tranquil lagoon, where you can swim, snorkel, and kayak, you’ll find dozens of playful water iguanas, black-tipped sharks, a variety of bird species, and possibly a sea lion, if you are up for the two-kilometer hike from town.

Leaving New York City for the Galápagos Islands

Don’t forget to bring toilet paper, food, and lots of water, as you won’t find anything but a friendly park ranger and kind kayak rental agent on the beach.

My favorite hidden gem was the Laguna las Ninfas. Extremely peaceful and serene, I spent hours in meditation and contemplation on the wooden docks that weave through the mango trees. I witnessed a sea lion in divine harmony with nature performing the backstroke while manta rays and exotic fish swam beneath him.

On Saturday nights, stroll down to the main pier to discover the locals hanging out and playing sports while the children run free on the pier and playground. On any given night, you can witness the sea lions cuddling on the ramps and boats docked for the night. On a stroll down Charles Darwin Boulevard, you’ll be entertained by birds and sea lions waiting for fish scraps from an outdoor fish market. For the adventure seeker, a scuba or snorkeling adventure is a must. There are many to choose from and you will find better deals on the side streets.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself in a playful dance with friendly sea lions awaiting your presence underwater. They’ll swirl, twirl, and come close to kissing you. Follow their lead and they’ll guide you to treasures of the deep sea.

Leaving New York City for the Galápagos Islands

Leaving New York City for the Galápagos Islands

Water shoes are a must, as many of the islands are very rocky with no vendors. If you want to cliff jump into a romantic lagoon, venture to Les Gretas for a morning of fun, as it can get quite crowded in the afternoon, then walk or take a cab to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you’ll meet lonesome George, the last known Pinta Island tortoise, and many other tortoises who’ve been bred and studied there.

There are many islands to explore and tickets are more reasonably priced in Santa Cruz than online. They have a more indigenous feel with exotic species and activities specific to each island. Isabella was one of my favorites, and with the two-hour boat ride, I recommend you stay over night. You can swim with sea turtles, vibrant fish, manta rays, white-tipped sharks, and sea lions. On land you’ll be entranced by the Banded penguins (the only species of penguin to naturally live north of the equator), land tortoises, and pink flamingos.

I always felt extremely safe and am forever grateful for the peace I experienced. It prepared me for the next leg of my journey to Peru, and I’m thankful for the oneness with nature these magical islands

Leaving New York City for the Galápagos Islands

 

About Dara Jewett

Dara JewettDara Jewett is a eclectic entrepreneur juggling successful photography, make up artistry and holistic healing businesses. In Sept, 2014, she choose to sell and donated all of her things from her NYC home of 10 years, give up her many clients and embark on a journey of peace, love and light. She is traveling the world to study with indigenous healers, explore new lands and to document it all. With a gypsy soul, Dara has always been passionate about traveling the world, learning about other cultures and enlightening others through art, writing, motivating and living her life with unbridled passion. She has dedicated her life to raising the universal vibrations with her camera as eyes, healing through her hands, a pen her voice, and the road her home.

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