04 Jun Bienvenida to Galápagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are famously known for friendly unusual wildlife and of course the GIGANTIC Tortoises. Situated off the coast of Ecuador (a few hour flight off the coast) which boasts a temperature of around 40degrees Celsius.. so sunscreen is going to be a must here. We are embarking on a 10 day multi-activity tour with GAdventures and had one of the most knowledgeable tour guides ever. A place i´ve been really wanting to visit for a long time and after watching documentaries from David Attenborough about the islands, I just couldn’t wait for this adventure to begin.
- Kicker rock snorkeling – The first day we went on a boat trip to a place called ´Kicker Rock´ around an hour away from San Cristobel in the middle of the ocean. Our local knowleagable tour guide had said we will see all these animals (now usually when you go on a day tour they say you “might see this.. or might see that” and allot of the time it´s a disappointment. BUT.. This was Galapagos!! This was the best snorkeling I have even done in my life, clear waters allowing visibility of the following; eagle rays, giant turtles and Galapagos sharks. Hats off to the tour guide for us seeing exactly what he said, in fact even more wildlife than expected.
- Playful seals and Sea lions – Snorkeling spot number two and we are faced with Seals and Sea lions laying on the beach and swimming around the sea. A few of us went swimming further and then suddenly there two seals came swimming around us following us, going back and forwards doing loops. They are very curious animals and are not afraid of human interaction. One seal came right up close to my GoPro, gave me a smile and continued on. This moment just felt incredible.
- Sleeping seals – One beach is completely full of seals that stay there and sleep all night. Making a nuisance of themselves with each other, you can just stand here for hours watching these amazing animals play around and cause havoc.
- Boobies, Iguanas and Frigate Birds – Hiking to some viewpoints and areas surrounding the beach, we find ourselves keeping our eyes peeled for camouflaged iguanas and Boobie Birds and Frigate birds flying up above us in the pure blue skies.
- Lobster dinner – A delicious option to have when you´re in Galapagos, restaurants that set up tables on the streets and BBQ seafood. Very tasty lobster at an affordable price.
- Dolphins – On one of the boat trips crossing between islands, a pool of Dolphins came swimming around the boat.
- Beach Cabanas – Staying at these lovely cabanas which are facing the sea where a beautiful sunset occurs. A nice relaxing beer after a tiring days snorkel session.
- Snorkeling with Manta rays and huge turtles – Another stop was a hike to a lovely area where there is a small secluded beach and fantastic snorkeling. On the hunt for more manta rays and other wildlife underwater.
- Galapagos tortoise breeding centre – Visiting one of the breeding centres on this island. Each islands has a different species of Galapagos tortoise and it is a must to visit each breeding centre on each islands to see the differences. They are unbelievably HUUUGE in size!
- Wild Galapagas tortoises – Our first sightings of tortoises in the wild, just casually doing their thing.
- Bike ride – A biking excursion for a few hours going from the top of a viewpoint all the way back down to the centre of town. Seeing some beautiful scenery, landscapes and beaches along the way.
- Coco Loco – a famous alcoholic drink, in which a coconut is cut open, a huge sip is taken and then the rest is filled with rum. A very strong drink but tasty. Coco Loko stands for Crazy Coconut. It makes you go crazy once you´ve had a few.. when I say a few I mean two!
5. Galapagos Penguins – A boat trip which took us to see some Penguins in the wild on a small island. We were lucky enough to see a group of penguins swimming and diving around. It´s very random that they actually exists here, they came about due to the currents from the south and the north which resulted them being swept here.
- Iguana island – A island which is full of hundreds of Igauanas. If we hadn´t seen any before this island, we were in for a mass viewing. They were everywhere, blending in with the rocks around the islands. There were soo many that you had to watch your step not to tread on one.
- Tintoreras (Shark Alley) – Another section of the island was an area which is an alley that is on the edge of the island. Water being very clear and still inside and full of White Tip Reef Sharks. Just wow! Another one of those moments when the tour guide was absolutely spot on, not just one or two sharks but around 15 to 20 of them gathered inside the alley.
- Sierra Negra Volcano – A hiking day for a few hours to get to the top of the volcano. Sierra Negra volcano is one of the most active volcanoes on the islands. It´s the second largest volcanic caldera in the world, having a rim of 6 miles long.
- Wall of Tear hike – a hike to see this area which was a place where the pirates used to keep prisoners and to have a vantage point to protect themselves on the island.
- Kayaking with Sharks – An afternoon kayaking around a wonderful location on the search for more sharks. We did spot a few sharks and turtles swimming around the place or bedded in the sand. Thankfully they don´t attack.
- Tortuga bay – An amazing stretch of soft white sand to relax on and bathe in the clear waters.
- Charles Darwin Research Centre – the most famous centre on the Galapagos islands, where there are various species of Galapagos Tortoises and Land Iguanas. This was were Lonesome George was looked after and they still have his habitat there with other tortoises inside.
- Flamingo Lagoon – A lagoon which has many flamingos.
- Seafood kiosko Platter – A street food area which offers delicious sea food at reasonable prices. We opted for a big platter to try a variety of the seafood on offer, ranging from lobster, to prawns to fish.
6. We Are Tortoises – Just to see the size of these Galapagos Tortoises, you can see that a human being can fit completely inside. Crazy!! No wonder they walk so slow, the weight of their shell is soo heavy!!
My journey to the Galapagos islands has been one of the best places I have ever been to. I cannot stress how amazing these islands are, the unusual animals and their friendliness to humans is totally amazing. Getting to learn lots about animals, how they have evolved on the islands differently just makes the islands even more special. If there´s one place in this world you must visit, without a doubt I will say Galapagos Islands! You will be missed but i´m sure one day I will return.