I’m back from the Galapagos a bit earlier than expected. I flew there last Sunday, getting just 2 hours of sleep the night before. Once I arrived in Baltra, I took a 5 minute ferry ride to Santa Cruz. My first look at the Galapagos was very surprising. I expected to land on a tropical Island, and it looked like a desert instead. It was a 40 minute taxi ride to Puerta Ayora, where all of the hotels and travel agencies are located.
As I mentioned earlier, the island looked like a desert at first. However, it turned into the tropical looking paradise that I had expected as we continued driving to Puerta Ayora.
It took me about an hour while carrying all of my stuff to find a cheapish hotel for $8 a night. After putting my stuff in my room, I hurried out into town to look for a tour to get on for that day. I found a bay tour for $20. It was me and a family from Mexico in small boat that took us snorkeling and to a part of Santa Cruz. Needless to say, I got pretty seasick, and combined with a lack of sleep, it made for a pretty miserable four hours. I did see a few sea lions, a bunch of iguanas, birds, etc.
The next day I woke up early to check out the Charles Darwin center. I have never seen such big turtles. It was pretty neat being close enough to touch them. I also saw some iguanas too. I took a ferry to Isabela Island for $30 at 2 pm. A few people vomited on the boat, but I felt pretty good compared to the day before. It was incredibly easy planning everything. Once I got off of the ferry, a woman asked me if I needed a hotel. For $5 a night, I stayed in a tent. I also toured with a 22 year old from France and two Israeli girls for the next few days. That same day, we checked out the the tortoise center a few minutes away from my hostel. I also saw some pink flamingos. I got to bed at about 8 as I was pretty tired still.
We left at 8 the next day to go horseback riding up a volcano. We rode through some incredible scenery, as you can see in my pictures. After an hour of riding, we reached the second largest crater in the world, after the Ngoro Ngoro (spelling?) crater in Tanzania that I have also been too. We reached the volcanic scenery a little while later, and had to hike the rest of it without our horses. I had never seen anything like what I saw there. It was a desert like scenery with many cacti, jagged rocks, lava tunnels, etc.
After we got back later that day, we took a boat around the islands. I got to swim with the sea lions which was a highlight of my trip. When I say swim with the sea lions, I mean that I was close enough to touch them.
The next day, we took a boat out again. I swam with the sea lions, turtles, iguanas, etc. We also saw a bunch of white tipped sharks up close while they were swimming in the bay. Later on, we drove got to the lava tunnels, which are a bunch of big rocks in the water with tunnels underneath them from collapsed lava. Again, the scenery was spectacular and we so many sea turtles. It was probably one of my favorite days there. We went with a family from Florida who run a foundation that gives backpacks to kids in poor areas all over the world, and another kid my age who runs his own NGO in the jungle. After the tour, we all had lunch together, and then dinner much later. Again, I got to bed pretty early as I had to catch a ferry ride back to Santa Cruz at 6 the next morning.
The ferry ride was much better this time, as nobody vomited. We also saw a bunch of wild dolphins jumping out of the water. I was exhausted when I got back, so I bought some candy to eat and slept until 5. I did not want to waste the entire day, so I woke up to take a 30 minute walk to Tortuga bay, a very nice white sand beach. For dinner, I found a small place where I got a huge plate of fish, rice, and salad for $5. I continued to eat there for lunch and dinner, the next few days where I ate fish every meal.
I got up at 7 the next morning to get on a last minute to Floreana Island for $65. This turned out to be well worth it. We went snorkeling with the sea lions again (wetsuits included!) which was a lot of fun. They took us to another spot afterward where we went snorkeling with a ton of sea turtles, a few Manta rays, and sharks apparently, and lots of fish. They also took us to the port on Floreana Island, where I rested on the beach for a good hour with some of the sea lions.
The following day, Saturday I think, I decided to change my ticket to return to Quito early as I felt like I had seen enough of the Galapagos Islands. It was pretty easy changing my ticket, and I did not even have to pay a fee to change it. I booked it for Sunday morning. I went back to Tortuga Bay for 3-5 hours and just rested on the beach for a while, getting burnt pretty badly. I ate a lot too, and not much else.
My flight back to Quito yesterday was pretty uneventful. Once back in Quito, I spent a lot of time on the internet to take care of business related stuff. I also watched tv until 2 with a bunch of people in my hostel.
I woke up today and headed straight to the travel agency where I had booked my ticket to Colombia to attempt to change it to an earlier date. After about an hour and $15 later, I was able to change my ticket so I arrive in Bogota tomorrow afternoon.
I am spending the day now here at the clubhouse, uploading pictures, writing, business related things, ect.
I’ll be going out with my co-workers tonight for dinner and then one of the nightclubs, most likely. It works out well because my flight to Bogota is not until 3:30 tomorrow, so I can stay out as late as I would like.