When we were initially planning for our world tour, we both wanted to see the Galapagos badly, but when considering how much it costs, it was always a warm subject between us. So when my birthday came around, my knight in shining armor told me we were going to the Galapagos but I didn’t believe it until we took flight.
We heard taking a cruise was a must-do, but we also wanted to also experience Galapagos by land, so we planned for 4 days by ourselves followed by an 8 day cruise. As we flew to the Galapagos, we got an extraordinary air view of the Cotopaxi Volcano. We soon landed in Baltra in the open terminal and the weather was perfect, not too hot and not too cold. After a short ride, first by bus and then by ferry to the main island, we then shared a taxi with another couple to Puerto Ayora. A 30-minute ride later, we were all friends and stuck together for the next couple of days.
For our first meal, we decided to get off the gringo strip and followed the local traffic to Cevicheria El Pulpo. As we looked around, everyone was having soup so we opted for the same. I am not a big seafood person but this sopa marinera (mixed seafood soup) was excellent. We sat for over an hour talking to this local guy at our table and he ended up buying us beer.
For Isabela Island, we got a great deal on a package we just couldn’t refuse. To get there, we took a water taxi for 3.5 hours and it end up being one of the worst boat rides ever. The water was very choppy and our driver was completely insane, driving like he wanted to crash into each wave. There was a pregnant woman onboard and after an hour, she was hovering over the side of the boat. We were all very happy to be finally off the boat and to be on land again.
When the shuttle dropped us off at our hotel, we were extremely confused. It looked more luxurious than the pictures shown to us by the agency. The four of us just kept quiet and made our way to the welcoming snacks. Afterwards, we toured a lagoon and saw pink flamingos chomping away at the shrimp in the water.
The next morning, we got up very early for a 6-hour hike to our first volcano. The morning started off misty, which was very nice, compared to the beating sun we had for the rest of the day. Our first stop was Sierra Negra Volcano (Black Mountain) whose last eruption was back in October 22, 2005. The magma chamber is constantly filled with new magma so more eruptions are expected in the future.
After lunch, we were walking over a large lava field crunching our way for two hours. It felt as if we were walking on the moon, but with random large cactus plants in the background. It was very interesting to see the variation of colors from the new and old lava. We took a break at a scenic viewpoint where we could see the other volcanoes on Isabela Island from afar: Ecuador, Wolf, Darwin, and Alcedo. We could also make out the seahorse shape of the island.
After our wonderful hike, we took a small boat to the Islote Tintoreras (Tintorera Islands). On the lava island, there is a natural canal where the white tip reef sharks, called tintoreras, rest on the bottom of the shallow waters. While on land, any movement we made would result in hundreds of black marine iguanas scrambling around. They were well camouflaged against the black rocks that I wonder if any tourist has stepped on one by accident.
Back on the boat, we saw sea lions sunbathing, a group of Galapagos penguins hanging out on the rocks, and then our first Blue-footed Booby! We made our final stop of the day to snorkel. I was hesitant at first because it was freezing cold. I put on my wet suit and plunged into the water. Soon enough, I had one of the most amazing first experiences swimming with GIANT sea turtles. There were three around us and they were just chilling in the water and would slowly swim up for air and come back down with no care that we were nearby. Luckily I had on a life jacket because they would get very close to me and it was no joke how big they were.
Our trip on Isabela Island was truly amazing. We saw so many animals that I wasn’t sure that we needed to go on a cruise anymore.
|What We Paid:||USD eRate||0.7
|– Flight From Quito To Galapagos On Icaro Aero (Partners With LAN)||150||105|
|– Quito Airport Fee||10||7|
|– Entrance Fee To Galapagos||100||70|
|– Water Ferry From Baltra To Santa Cruz Island||0.80||0.55|
|– Taxi To Puerto Ayora||2.50||1.75|
|– Lunch (Sopa Marinera) At Puerto Ayora||4.50||3.15|
|– Tour Package For Isabela Island
Includes Water Taxi, Lodging, Meals, Daily Excursion
|– Entrance Fee To Isabela Island||5||3.50|