After a fun-filled few days in Guayaquil, we flew to the Galapagos Islands. The flight wasn’t bad, but the overall process of getting from Guayaquil to Isabella Island, the largest island in the archipelago, was surprisingly long and exhausting. It took just under two hours before our flight landed on Isla Baltra, which boasts the world’s first (maybe?) “green” airport, which is really just a nice way of saying they didn’t want to pay for windows or provide AC. Just kidding! Apparently the airport runs predominantly on wind and solar energy. Very cool. From the airport we caught a shuttle to the Baltra Ferry Terminal, which is really more of a pavilion and a small parking lot right by the water. There we caught a boat to Santa Cruz, which you can see is not very far.
I’m sure this has been noted ad infinitum but one thing that was particularly striking upon arrival in Galapagos was the amount of cacti. It feels like you’re driving through a desert and then bam! Beautimous blue water straight off of a postcard.
The boat ride from Santa Cruz to Isabella was likely the worst boat ride I’ve ever been on, possibly partially due to something I ate shortly before the trip. I sat towards the front of the boat, inside, which seemed to make things significantly worse. On the return trip, I sat in the back of the boat and it seemed like the motions of the boat on even the biggest waves were significantly more bearable. Being in the breeze also seemed to make a big difference. One point I’d like to note before moving on, lest some reader think I’m a high maintenance traveler – I have taken five bus rides across Mongolia, the longest of which took 61 hours. I have somewhat of a threshold for uncomfortable travel. This boat ride was terrible. Here’s a handy reference if you ever find yourself taking a boat from Santa Cruz to Isabella:
On Isla Isabela, we stayed at a small, fairly simple hotel called Cormorant Beach House, about a 15 minute walk from the port. Our room had sliding glass doors that opened right onto the beach. I was going to upload a video to share the wonderful view but wordpress says I need to upgrade my account for video upload capability. Here’s a few pics from the beach, close to where we stayed:
On our first full day on Isla Isabella, we caught a boat (only 45 minutes thankfully) to an area where the sea turtles hang out. Halfway to the sea turtle club, we saw this beautiful tiny rock island thing, which is apparently the spot to be if you’re a seagull.
I may need to put some video footage on youtube or something because the area where we explored before going snorkeling was really something. There was a shit ton more cacti, which still doesn’t compute in my brain. After the captain carefully guided us through some pretty massive waves and a maze of (volcanic?) black rock formations in surprisingly shallow water, we parked the boat and wandered among the cacti in search of blue footed boobies.
Maybe I’ve become too cynical but when someone tells me something like “hey, sea turtles hang out in this area”, when I go that area, I expect to see a minimal amount of seat turtles. This is likely due to seeing ONE alligator the last time I went to the Everglades and ZERO dolphins on the Okracoke ferry (you lied, Nikki!). I think we were in the shallows for maybe 3 minutes before everyone was screaming TUUURTLES (or tortuuugas, since we shared a boat with some Chileans. Stand by for more on the Chileans). Look at this turtle!
I didn’t have underwater camera capabilities during this trip but one of the friends we traveled with had a GoPro and got some cool underwater shots.
Check out the blue footed boobies!
Ok so I’m now realizing that I have a lot more pics than I originally thought so I’ll have to do a part 2 for Galapagos. Stand by!