Inside Amazing Race Winners Will Jardell and James Wallington's Adventurous Honeymoon

A month after marrying in New Orleans, The Amazing Race season 32 winners Will Jardell and James Wallington planned a pit stop in the Galapagos and invited E! News along.

By Sarah Grossbart Jan 14, 2022 5:00 PMTags
Watch: "The Amazing Race" History & Behind The Scenes Moments

Having already conquered the ultimate race around the world, a more standard honeymoon would have been a massive U-turn for Amazing Race season 32 champs Will Jardell and James Wallington

So a month after their Dec. 3 New Orleans vows, the travel content creators hopped aboard the Santa Cruz II for its maiden voyage and Hurtigruten Expeditions' first-ever departure in the Galapagos.

"After our experience on The Amazing Race, this type of honeymoon feels very on brand for us!" Wallington said of the trip that took them from Ecuador's capital city of Quito to roughly 600 miles west for a week of kayaking, hiking, swimming and exploring in the same spot Charles Darwin once made his groundbreaking discoveries. "It's been incredibly active but at the same time has a healthy balance of relaxation."

Plus, for the sustainability-focused duo—who met in 2014 on the set of America's Next Top Model, where Wallington was working and Jardell was smizing his way to a second place finish—the fact that the trip was carbon-neutral was a huge draw.  

Meet the Cast of The Amazing Race Season 32

"We've always been passionate about eco-friendly and sustainable tourism," noted Wallington. "It's very important to us because we love this planet and its endless travel opportunities, so we want to make sure we do our part to protect it all while continuing to experience its natural wonders!"

Days in, the couple, who got engaged after crossing the finish line back in 2018, were already raving about spying many of the archipelago's natural wildlife. "We've been able to see sea lions everywhere we go, land and marine iguanas, red- and blue-footed boobies, and many other species," said Jardell. Long having been drawn to the spot, "It's a dream being able to experience the beauty in person," he continued. "It's hard to put into words, and no picture can do it justice." 

And yet they tried, the newlyweds sharing their favorite snaps from the nine-day trip with E! News. 

One Amazing Trip

En route to winning season 32 of The Amazing RaceWill Jardell and James Wallington sped through Colombia, Brazil, France and the Philippines. But it was Wallington's 2015 trip to Ecuador that sparked their January getaway. "I was told by many it was a missed opportunity to not have visited the Galapagos Islands," Wallington (posing here on the archipelago's South Plaza Island) told E! News. "So I've always wanted to come back, and what better way to experience it than with the love of my life by my side for our honeymoon!"

Testing Out a Theory

For Jardell, a huge perk of the trip was "Charles Darwin and the unique species that live here," he said of the biologist's numerous discoveries on the islands. So a quick detour to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island was a must.  

What. A. View.

Though Jardell told E! News "I've always been drawn to the Galapagos Islands," the vista from atop Santa Fe Island had nothing on his new husband. 

Toasting to a Bright Future

Taking pains to travel "in a sustainable way that doesn't leave a negative impact on the planet," Jardell noted, they appreciated that "all of Hurtigruten Expeditions' cruises to the Galapagos are carbon-neutral." Aboard the 90-guest MS Santa Cruz II, the couple checked into the Darwin Suite, naturally. 

Barking Up the Right Tree

Within a few days, the newlyweds had already spotted much of the wildlife on the islands' list of their "Big 15," including sea lions "everywhere we go," said Jardell. Some of the most prime viewing came on Mosquera Islet, home to one of the area's largest colonies. 

Part of the Pack

"My favorite part so far about this expedition has been walking among the wildlife; it's incredible how they never bolt away and aren't afraid," raved Jardell. Coming across a mess of marine iguanas on Española Island, they did what any self-respecting America's Next Top Model alum might and showed their best sides. 

Coming Out of Their Shells

Though the pair posed with sea lions, iguanas and these giant tortoise shells in the Santa Cruz Island Highland, Jardell's personal favorite was all of the crabs. "I'm kind of obsessed," he admitted, "they are everywhere and so colorful."

Under the Sea

Among the activities on their agenda: Hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and marveling at the views. "The biodiversity of The Galapagos is spectacular!" Wallington rhapsodized in a mid-trip email. "Every island we've visited has provided a completely new and unique experience, which (if you ask me) is what an expedition is all about!"

Tons to Discover

Aboard the ship, guests can score photography tips from the pros on how to best capture all those sea lions for the 'gram, take part in the Citizen Science Project, which lets them contribute to current scientific research projects, and make use of the microscopes and library at the Science Center. 

Sailing Into the Sunset

"We love adventure, and this experience has perfectly captured our love for travel, relaxation and seeing unique wildlife," Jardell raved of the nine-day getaway. "It has been a perfect honeymoon and the best way to begin married life together." Next up, Wallington recently told People, "We're both ready to be parents."