Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Las Islas Galapagos

I am sorry that I haven’t posted in a while! School has been a little crazy lately as we are trying to wrap up the term.

I went to the Galapagos over our week long fall break, Monday, October 27th- Sunday, November 2nd. I was an amazing trip.
Day 1
First Sunset in Galapagos
Lava Tunnels
We left early Monday morning for the Quito airport and hopped on a plane that went through Guayaquil and then on to Baltra Island in the Galapagos! We got there are 11 a.m. and headed straight for the hotel on Santa Cruz to drop of our bags and head to lunch. In the afternoon, we headed for the “highlands” of the island. There we got to see two craters called “Los Gemelos” or the Twins that were formed by volcanic tunnels that collapse and sunk the ground above them. After we went to a giant tortoise sanctuary. They weren’t allowed to keep the tortoises locked in, but there were so many! I saw at least 100 with my own eyes and there was at least 100 that I didn’t see! Just in one plot of land where the tortoises could come and go from freely. We headed back to town and we went to the beach for our first sunset in the Galapagos!

Bartolome Island and the Amazing View
On the Yacht
Day 2
Famous Galapagos postcard picture
For our first full day we woke up super early and headed to the dock that we came into on the opposite side of the island. We were loaded onto a small water taxi that brought us up to a Yacht and little did we know this would be by far the nicest boat we rode the entire week! It was a about a 2 hour boat ride to Bartolome. When we first got there the guide had to shoo a huge sea lion off the steps so we could get onto the island. No one is allowed to stay overnight on Bartolome, day trips only. Also, this trip is what we paid extra for and it was definitely worth every penny! We started out by hiking to the top of Bartolome and we got to see the million dollar view: the view on the front of practically anything Galapagos. It was really beautiful and the water was so blue. We hiked back down and got ready to go snorkeling right of Santiago Island. While in the water, we saw so many types of fish, a sea turtle, a penguin and basically played with a little sea lion! We got back on to the boat and ate lunch. That evening we returned to Santa Cruz and had dinner at the fishing dock. I got to eat a huge, tasty lobster. It was perfect after a long day of hiking, snorkeling, and being in the sun in general! We were in bed around 9:30 p.m.
Mmmmmm. Lobster

Day 3
Tortuga B
Bay Tour Snorkeling
We left the hotel right after breakfast and started walking towards Tortuga bay. The trailhead was about 30 minutes from the hotel and the beach was about an hour and a half from the trailhead.  It was worth the trek. I have never seen sand so white and soft and water so blue. Tortuga Bay is name for the fact that every few years the sea turtles go there to lay their eggs. We walked along the beach for about 30 minutes until we came to a small path through some trees where were found a rock ledge over a small bay. There sitting a few feet from us were two blue-footed boobies. It was as if they were models because they just sat there through all of our pictures. Next, we walked over to the beach on the small bay and spent the rest of the morning. While we were there we found an area that was filled with white-tip sharks. They were definitely more afraid of us than we were of them, which is saying a lot because we were pretty scared. We headed to lunch after spending time in the bay. The same place that we had already had to meals previously, El Chocolate. I think that tours got a deal for eating there, because it seemed like every tour ate there every day! After lunch, we went on a bay tour around the main bay and did a little snorkeling as well as some walking around. We came back for dinner at El Chocolate. Another 9 pm night! We were exhausted
Boobies and Penguins

Day 4
We woke up to catch the boat again. This time, we were headed to Isabela for 2 days and 1 night! The boat ride was long and choppy. I tried to sleep the whole way, but it was so hard! I tour guide just left us at the dock in Santa Cruz without instructions, so when we got to Isabela we were unsure of what to do and our guide took a while to show up! When they finally showed up, we headed inland a little bit for some hiking around, saw some incredible views, found a wall that I believe was built for one of the World Wars and went to a giant tortoise breeding center. We headed back into town for lunch, it was nice to change it up a bit. We then got to go snorkeling in the bay. I saw about 10 sea turtles, some rays and a million fish. It was a pretty awesome day of snorkeling, definitely one of our best of the entire trip. After our snorkeling trip, we headed to our hotel, or what we thought was a hotel. It turned out to be an Eco lodge where we slept in tents. None of us were prepared, but luckily the weather is pretty much always warm!

Day 5
Cerra Azul Crater
Happy Halloween! The next morning we packed up our stuff, got our boxed lunch, and headed out to the volcanos on the island. We spent the day hiking up the volcano Cerro Azul and around some of the smaller volcanos that were connected to it. We were all surprised by the size of the Cerro Azul crater and the fact that it had no water in it, but we were told that it has never erupt forcefully enough to create a lake. The Cerro Azul volcano just recently had an eruption creating a lot of new volcanic rocks and clearing a lot of vegetation on the North side. The day started out kind of over cast and rainy, but ended up extremely warm. After our hike, we headed back to the dock and back to Santa Cruz on another bumpy, queasy boat ride. All of the children in Santa Cruz were dressed up and trick-o-treating for Halloween. The town had magically decorated with Halloween decorations as well.

Day 6
Hanging on the Beach! I promise I used
sunscreen dad, but I still got sunburned.
Their water source. I can't help that
I am nerd, it was really cool!
That morning, we met up with the other group of USFQ students who were in the Galapagos. They started a day after us and did their activities in a different order, but basically the same things, except Bartolome. As a group of over 20 people, we headed to Floreana Island. We hiked around for a while learning some of the island history. It is thought to have been a hide out for many pirates and their treasures, was inhabited by 3 main German families before the settlers came, but now only a couple hundred people live there. They produce all of their own water from a spring, however, this also limits the number of people that can live there as well. While on the island we also got to go to another rescue for giant tortoises which were kept as pets before it was illegal. After, we went snorkeling for the last time! We saw another sea turtle, fish, and made beach master seal lion kind of angry. We ate lunch, spent some of the afternoon on the black sand beach, and headed back to Santa Cruz. We spent our last sunset at the same beach as our first and it was just as beautiful. We had our last dinner at El Chocolate and went around and bought all the souvenirs we had been eyeing during the week.

snorkeling with my spirit animal!

Last Sunset in the Galapagos

Day 7

We woke up and packed our bags to leave, but before heading to the airport, we headed to the Charles Darwin station and check out more giant tortoises, because we hadn’t seen enough already, and land iguanas. We headed back to the hotel, picked up our bags, headed back to the airport, and were off to Quito after an amazing week of break and the memories of many new experiences. 

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