Giant sea turtles
Stunning lava land
Blue footed boobies
Swimming in a cave
Met cool people
The Galapagos islands were fantastic! It is as if we have lived in a fairy tale for one whole week. Everywhere we looked were animals: sea lions, pelicans, iguanas, baby sharks, different sorts of rays and even animals whose existence we did not know of like the Blue Footed Boobies. In total we’ve spent 4 nights on Isla Santa Cruz and 4 nights on Isla Isabella.
Isla Santa Cruz
We soon forgot about the money we had spent to get to the Galapagos Islands. On the way by bus from the airport to the port we had to stop because there was an iguana on the road, on the way to the ATM from the hotel I passed a pelican which was sitting on the street next to an iguana and across the road I saw a sea lion resting on the quay. And those were only the first two hours on the Galapagos Islands!
After I had translated all the Spanish tips we’ve received in the hotel, we decided to go to Tortuga bay on our first full day. Excited, we started our walk that was going to take 45 minutes according to the map (in South America this means it’s going to take at least 1,5 hour). Somehow we managed to start our walk precisely during midday without any shade, so that fresh sea water came as a warm welcome after our long journey! A small disappointment it was though, when we had not seen any animals after arrival; I thought this bay took its name from the presence of turtles. But luckily it turned out that we just didn’t look in the right place! After some time, a sea turtle came swimming next to us and later on we snorkelled with beautiful fish, iguanas and even a baby shark! Also the pelicans and al sorts of crabs were part of our day.
Darwin research center & Las Grietas
At Tortuga bay we got to know a Spanish / Portuguese and a Japanese couple that we had dinner with that evening. For the next day they gave us the tip to go to the Darwin research center in the morning and to the Las Grietas caves in the afternoon. So thats what we did the next day! The Darwin research center was full of turtles that are threatened with extinction. They are born there and after a few years deported to the island. It was a nice place to walk around for a bit.
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The spectacle of the day were the caves Las Grietas. The start of this trip couldn’t be better, because in the harbour where we had to take the water taxi, a bunch of sea lions were just relaxing on the benches. After taking the water taxi we started the next walk – again in the full sun around noon … – to the caves. With the snorkels that we had rented in the center, we floated around in the icy water and even saw some fish. On the way back we went to the beach and rested in de shades that we finally found. A super successful day!
Costs to get to the Galapagos Islands
Before you go to the Galapagos Islands it is good to know what you have to pay for. In total, the visit to this fairytale cost us 597 US $ per person without the costs of accommodation, tours and food/drinks. So only transport and access to the islands.
- Flight ticket (return required) 370 US $ per person
- Then the journey starts with 20 US $ for the visa at the airport of Quito
- 100 US $ per person for access to the Galapagos National Park
- Bus from the airport to the water taxi on Isla Baltra 5 US $ per person
- Water taxi from Isla Baltra to Isla Santa Cruz 1 US $ per person
- Taxi from water taxi to Isla Santa Cruz center US $ 25 per taxi (we have found a couple to share the taxi with)
- Ferry from Isla Santa Cruz to Isla Isabella 60 US $ return
- Fee to get onto Isla Isabella 10 US $ per person (we may have been scammed here)
After Isla Santa Cruz we chose to stay on Isla Isabella for the remaining four nights. Okay, actually we wanted to stay three nights and then two on Santa Cruz again, but we could only book the tour that we wanted to do for the Thursday on which we were leaving, so we stayed on Isla Isabella longer. Also on this island you literally stumble over the animals. The sea lions are sleeping on the beach and on the jetties in the harbor during the day and the iguanas do not seem to notice when you walk over them when they are in the middle of the path.
The Wall of Tears
At the guesthouse where we stayed – with super friendly and helpful staff – we rented bikes the first day and we set off for the Wall of Tears. It was said beforehand that we could come across turtles on the road. Of course I didn’t believe this and of course Job shouted after an hour of cycling: “Stop, stop, stop!”. Time for a photo stop and some water to freshen up a bit. The tour continued along some beaches, viewpoints and finally the Wall of Tears. This wall was built between 1945 – 1959 when imprisoned when this island served as a prison. Luckily there are no prisoners anymore nowadays, but it was pretty impressive to come across this bit of history on the Galapagos Islands!
Concha de Perla
We have been to Concha de Perla a few times to snorkel with many fish, sea turtles, iguanas and to my greatest joy: sea lions! A lot of animals can be found in this bay all day long, but we were told that with a bit of luck, you can swim with sea lions in the morning. So we we went snorkelling in the morning on our last day. When I wanted to give up after an hour – and my GoPro had suddenly also given up – a sea lion passed me! The GoPro was apparently fixed on filming so with a bit of luck I was able to capture a shot of this little friend.
We had heard from everyone we spoke to that this was THE tour to see animals. And we do agree! We have really seen everything: beautiful fish, sharks, blue footed boobies, penguins, giant sea turtles and even a super rare sea horse. Before we left for the Galapagos Islands, I was hoping that we would see animals, but after this tour I could hardly believe it was all real anymore. We have seen so many animals every day and this special experience was the perfect closure of our trip. When we were back on the mainland we needed a few days to recover from this whole week!
Return to the Netherlands
In contradiction to our previous blog – in which we indicated to stay 210 days – we unfortunately have to announce that we will return to the Netherlands soon. In Cuenca (Ecuador) Job has discovered a hernia of the heaviest category. For his recovery, it is important that he take a rest and travel through South America – or travel at all – is not an option. We are happy that we can return to the Netherlands, the body is simply the most important thing. Here too there are great challenges for us and South America is not going anywhere! There will certainly be a blog about Ecuador and our return trip, so you can continue to follow us!
Paying a lot of (tourism) fees