Retirees Jackie and Warwick Wright took the trip of a lifetime to soak up the sights and sounds of South America – thanks to a Staysure policy.
It’s not every day you get to splash around with dolphins, sharks and giant turtles in the Galapagos Islands. But those were just some of the exciting experiences awaiting Jackie and Warwick Wright after they booked the trip of a lifetime to this unspoilt paradise in 2009. Famed for being the most famous wildlife watching destination in the world, these islands lie 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, and are filled with species that have no natural fear of humans.
But it wasn’t just this remote archipelago that the adventurous couple set their sights on, they also spent some of their three-week trip exploring the exotic Latin American countries of Ecuador and Peru. Their exciting trip even included a stop in the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu, the last stronghold of the Inca Empire. Abandoned in the 16th century for unknown reasons, this fascinating collection of palaces, temples and homes are perched on a high-ridge some 2,000ft above a river – and are a breath-taking site to behold.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Machu Picchu, it’s been a dream for me,” said Jackie, 66, who lives in the village of Ribchester, Lancashire.
“It was expensive, but it was a once in a lifetime holiday.”
Described as one of the most fascinating destinations on the planet, it was deemed a lost city by early explorers as it was only discovered in 1911. Located 7,000 ft. above sea level, archaeologists say that some 1,200 people could have lived there. But history buffs are still unsure as to why the mountain top citadel was constructed in such an awe-inspiring location.
“To get to Machu Picchu we stayed in a little village and we went up a winding country road in a bus, which was very scary,” explained Jackie.
“It was just absolutely amazing. They are starting to rebuild it and restore it back to how it was, as it used to be covered by trees and forests. It’s just so interesting how they got the stones up there. You can’t imagine how they ever managed to do it. It was an eye-opener and the views up there are out of this world.
“However, the Galapagos Islands were even better than Machu Picchu – I’ve never seen anything like it, it was like another world and so unspoilt. We swam with the fishes, turtles, dolphins and sharks. The wildlife was so spectacular. The birds in the Galapagos didn’t move when you came close, as they weren’t frightened of humans. They’re just not used to us. It was fantastic.”
The couple travelled around the Galapagos Islands – a UNESCO World Heritage site – with 17 other holidaymakers on a large yacht.
This was where they ate and slept every night as many of the islands prohibit visitors from staying overnight, so as to protect the wildlife. Highlights included seeing the smallest penguins in the world and meeting ‘Lonesome George‘ – the last surviving Pinta Island tortoise in the world. Unfortunately, George, who was thought to be between 80 and 100 years old, died in 2012 despite efforts by scientists to get him to mate with closely related tortoises from neighbouring islands.
Jackie, a grandmother of seven, said: “I’m so glad to have seen him before he died as there are reputed to be no more remaining anywhere in the world.”
The pair also headed to the capital city of Ecuador, Quito, to see a cloud forest with wild toucans, and Lima, the capital of Peru.
Jackie, who worked as a secretary at a village school in Ribchester for 17 years, told Staysure: “It was a bustling, busy city with great restaurants and shops. The costumes that the native women wore and the way they plaited their hair – both the men and the women – were amazing. The people were so natural. It was like travelling back into the past.”
But the trip would not have been possible if the couple had not purchased an Annual Multi-Trip policy with Staysure, according to Jackie.
She added: “We’ve used Staysure for quite a few years now as my husband is 74 and it’s very difficult to get insurance. There are only a few companies that insure people of our age, which is ridiculous really. So we would certainly recommend Staysure.”
As for their next trip, the daring duo are hoping to visit the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
She added: “And why not? You have to enjoy your health and your life while you still can!”
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