Scottish backpacker tells of dream holiday in lockdown on Galapagos Islands

A backpacker who found himself stranded on the idyllic Galapagos Islands when the lockdown kicked in has spoken about his trip of a lifetime.

Backpacker Ian Melvin who has found himself stranded on the idyllic Galapagos islands when the lockdown kicked in has described a trip of a lifetime on the deserted island of of  Isla Isabela.
Backpacker Ian Melvin who has found himself stranded on the idyllic Galapagos islands when the lockdown kicked in has described a trip of a lifetime on the deserted island of of Isla Isabela.

Ian Melvin, 29, had a toss up between getting a repatriation flight back to Scotland or staying put in a tropical paradise - where he has been having a dream holiday for ten weeks.

The former TEFL teacher flew to South America last November after three years in China.

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On March 14 he travelled to the Galapagos, 500 miles west of Ecuador, and landed on Isla Santa Cruz.

He had a toss up between getting a repatriation flight back to Scotland or staying put in 'paradise' - where he has been having a dream holiday for ten weeks.

Three days later he took a ferry to the largest of the islands, Isla Isabella, which has a population of just 2,200 people - and where a 2pm curfew enforced since the lockdown has helped him get to grips with studying Spanish.

For the past nearly three months, he has spent his time relaxing and enjoying the tropical weather, stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and astonishing wildlife, including marine iguanas, sea lions, green turtles and penguins.

Ian said: "No one will get the opportunity to experience the Galapagos so quiet.

"The swimming here's amazing, the sea lions come right up to your face. Marine iguanas swim next to you and penguins peck your feet."I also cycle around the island and run on the beaches. It's been a really unique experience.

"When I arrived in the Galapagos I had a few days of normality, I went scuba diving with hammerhead sharks which was amazing, then I came to this island.

"There was a bit of uncertainty at the beginning, I was unsure of how the island would cope with restrictions.

"There were some repatriation flights going back to the UK but it was an easy decision to take to stay - I'm already on an isolated island.

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"There's still restrictions and stuff but it's nice to go outside on the beach, see the outdoors and the wildlife."

When Ian first arrived on Isla Isabella, he stayed with a local family for six weeks.