Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands: A Conversation with Paige Arnof-Fenn
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where do you live? What made you decide to go to Ecuador?
I am the Founder & CEO of of a global marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA. I started the company 15 years ago. I love to travel and just got back from 8 days in Rome this week in fact, I have a niece who is doing a semester there. It was the perfect excuse for a trip! In 2007 I was in Ecuador for a week to attend a conference that was hosted by a global professional women’s group I am part of. A few of us from the group flew there 5 days early to go to the Galapagos Islands. It was a magical trip.
How long did you go for? How did you spend your time in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?
We spent 5 days on a boat in the Galapagos and 5 days at the conference. The boat was amazing, it was small only about a dozen travelers plus the guide and crew so we were able to go to many of the smaller islands. Each day we would dock and tour and every night the guide would debrief us for the next day’s adventures. The food on the boat was delicious. The conference was at a hotel in Quito and there were dinners in town at fun places each night with entertainment. When we had breaks we could put on our swimsuits and get some sun.
What were your most memorable experiences? What were the biggest disappointments?
I will never forget arriving in Guayaquil and seeing our guide holding a sign with our names on it. He checked his clipboard to mark us off and after several minutes of searching for us he announced we had not been assigned yet to a boat and the only one that had enough space for us had French tourists and a French speaking guide. Well as luck would have it all of the women in my group spoke French quite well! What are the chances? We had no idea that one grew up in a multi-lingual home, one attended French schools, one was the child of a diplomat who had lived in France for high school, etc. It made the trip even more special and bonded the women forever! We were not disappointed for one minute, it was a fantastic trip. We only wish we could have stayed longer.
What do you wish you knew before you went?
I had done research so knew what to expect. I guess if I had known we’d be speaking French the whole time I might have practiced a bit before and brought a dictionary. By the end of the trip my verb tenses and vocabulary had really improved.
Is there anything that women specifically should know before they travel to your destination?
If you have any excuse to go to Quito for work make sure you tack on a few extra days to visit the Galapagos Islands. I have traveled all over the world including Europe, Asia, Africa, etc. and that trip was one of the best ones I have ever taken. It is incredibly special and unlike any place else. Each island is different so try to see as many as you can. You will not regret it. Have fun!