Subject: Re: Galapagos Islands

January is such a wonderful time in Ecuador. The weather in the highlands is like a perfect spring day: cool nights, pleasant mornings, warm afternoons with a shower or two & lingering evenings. Layering your clothing is the best way to respond to the daily variation in temperatures, relying on my ever-fave polarfleece & a rain jacket. See my comments below about altitude, as Quito is at 9,000 feet! The little inn I stayed in had no elevator & by scampering up & down 4 flights of stairs at that altitude, I was ready for Cuzco & the Trail.

The Galapagos will be consistently warmer & quick-dry shirts, shorts & sturdy Teva-type sandals are in order. Don't forget a packable hat for sun protection.

Machu Picchu is at about 7,000 feet in elevation, but it's very jungly, being on the Amazon side of the Andes. To get there, you'll climb over the spine of the Andes to 15,000 feet (I assume on the train & that you're not hiking the Inca Trail!), so your polar fleece comes in handy. It can be rainy & misty at MP in January, which I think makes for the most wonderful exploring of the site. Will you stay overnight at the onsite hotel? I seem to recall room 220 has the killer view of the site itself, but it's been a while. The altitude can bother some folks (headache, nausea), so if you can find a way to get yourself at high altitude before then to find out how you might react, it's a good idea. Most Cuzco hotels offer an herb tea (ok, so it's coca leaf tea) which really helps the headache. When I hiked the 13,000-foot high Continental Divide in Colorado one year, I mightily wished for some of that brew.

Enjoy! Gail In Eugene & restless