Arguably Ecuador’s number one touristic attraction, I visited the Galapagos Islands in late December of 2015. The islands are known for its vast diversity of marine species as well as Charles Darwin’s observations that contributed to his theory of evolution. I took an early morning plane from Quito to Baltra (2-hour flight) and the fee entry to the National Park varies depending on your nationality (most foreign tourists pay 100 USD to get in).
After my arrival to Baltra, I took a boat to Santa Cruz Island (one of Galapagos biggest islands) where my hotel “Lobo de Mar” was located. Around the hotel there are many good places to eat with a mixture of Ecuadorean and international cuisine such as La Garrapata (main dishes 15-20 USD ). As a 3 star hotel “Lobo de Mar”can be pricier than other options like Darwin Hostel, which has double rooms that can cost around 30 USD per night. The afternoon consisted mainly in visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station where you will certainly stumble upon the mighty Iguanas!
In the afternoon, I ate some snacks at the Red Mangrove located on the bay and with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. I was lucky enough to find some Galapagos Sea Lions resting on the hotel benches.
The next morning, I visited “El Chato Tortoise Reserve” (admission 4 USD) where you can see and walk around the giant tortoises. What’s most fascinating about this part of the trip, is that you get to experience the natural habitat of these glorious animals. Be ready to walk around a muddy trail!
Next Stop in the afternoon; Las Grietas. There is a 15 – 20-minute walk through a rocky trail to get to this place so is a good idea to wear comfortable shoes. Las Grietas is a nice place to do some snorkeling between two huge cliffs. With some luck, you’ll find plenty of fish down there!
It’s now January 1st of 2016 and the year starts with Tortuga Bay. Perhaps one of the greatest spots to visit in the Galapagos Islands. The 45-minute walk to this place is definitely worth it. You’ll walk through a beach where Iguanas are swimming and walking throughout the beach.
My last day consisted in visiting Santa Fe Island, about eight miles south of Santa Cruz. Snorkeling here is a must, as you can swim next to sea lions, various fish, small sharks (don’t worry they are not aggressive towards humans) and the beautiful Galapagos Sea Turtles!
That’s the end of my first story folks, I hope you enjoyed it! The Galapagos Islands are definitely a place to visit in a lifetime!
Next Stop: Bogota.