We recently reached the Norwegian Arctic in the Svalbard and we navigate its "desert" fjords. I suffered the Drake step to reach the Sixth Continent, the Antarctica, the greatest dream of many, and a natural spectacle without limits ... but there was a third dream on the top of the pyramid.
Trip to Galapagos Islands from Quito
There are those who consider a trip exclusively to the Galapagos Islands as they pass through Ecuador. As we get up today my first reflection is ... they don't know what they are missing !! The Quito city It is a perfect "starter" beyond being a travel stopover, to get to know two differentiated areas of Ecuador, a "wonder" city and its volcano spots, including the Otavalo market seen yesterday
It was around 7:15 when we had breakfast and with the check-out, we took the taxi (30 USD) and we have planted ourselves at the Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito (eye, 1 hour from the city center). Pre-registration, entry card (USD 10), strict baggage check-in, check-in and hand luggage control. They recommend being 3 hours in advance although we have gone fast (You have the information of all the procedures in the exclusive article)
Our LAN flight (the best option to reach the islands, with whom we already made the flight LAN Madrid Quito) leaves at 10'35 and does so on time. A 35 min journey leaves us a small technical stop in Guayaquil (without leaving the plane) and continues another 1 hour and 20 minutes to San Cristobal Island, through which we will enter (to leave in 8 days by Santa Cruz, thus completing a perfect route through the three great islands)
As we fly, images of documentaries about trips to the Galapagos Islands, where dozens (or hundreds) of strange species of this world, some unique only on this island, share space without fear of the human being. Iguanas, sea lions, all kinds of birds, giant turtles, goldfish, rays, pelicans ... a natural coexistence without limits!
It's 14'00 ... I lie !! 13'00 (there is one hour less in Galapagos) when the commander warns us that we are starting the descent. In the distance the impressive archipelago looks more beautiful than ever, all considered Protected Natural Park, and whose visits are limited (must be pre-written before coming as we explain in the exclusive article)
Accessing the Galapagos Islands is as exclusive as your 100 USD permit per person we have to pay (valid for 3 months -if you are able to survive their prices-) after crossing the track and reaching a terminal under repair.
San Cristobal Island, entrance of our trip to Galapagos Islands
I don't know that strange spell invades me every time I travel with Sele. I recognize that that absolute level of improvisation in everything, I like, to the point of appearing on an island like this without knowing how to get from the Airport to the nearest city or hotel, without lodging and without knowing how to move between the islands and the schedules (information on the internet is scarce and inaccurate).
There are no taxis at San Cristóbal Airport or anything like it, but it has a reason to be ... Puerto Baquerizo is just 10 minutes walk. In the first crossing going to the left is the area of the port and the heart of the main population, and between house and house, we are asking for an affordable place to stay. 120 USD, 80 USD, 50 USD ... !! 20USD per person !! (Pension Laura, a few meters from the Port). More than enough
Hasn't it happened to you that feeling of anxiety to get somewhere? I have not remembered it for a long time but the need we had at that time to reach the port will always be remembered. And then he satiated.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is an old fishing village that has not evolved too much. Its streets, now with a recent walk, still do not have too many infrastructures and fewer hotel and restaurant businesses.
And there they are, the true owners of everything and to which no human being has managed to cast in this underworld. Sea lions roam freely on the beach, banks and wherever they want, living without fear with people.
Some more brazen, others more comfortable ... here the respect towards animals is absolute, and it is the first lesson that any traveler or tourist who enters this Nature Reserve of the planet must learn.
We are in a place that has evolved for centuries isolated from the rest of the planet and everything that may seem inconsistent here occurs.
Puerto Baquerizo, deciding our route through Galapagos Islands
In the town everything revolves around tourism, and local after local, to which more archaic, they offer the same tours and excursions that in the end are operated by two or three unique barges. What if Darwin Bay, Kick Rock, Manglesito ...
Galapagos faces a great decision, motivated by the almost absolute absence of roads. We are in an archipelago of 13 large islands, 5 medium and 215 islets, a natural paradise of unique fauna, flora and biodiversity, which suggests that to enjoy its great wealth requires access by sea to its most privileged corners ... and there arise Exclusive and expensive cruises, the only way to reach islands of the archipelago such as Fernandina, Genova and Española, but whose prices are around 2,000 to 5,000 USD per person per week.
So what we do? !Yes! Can also be raised For free and for this we are going these days to use the 3 fundamental bases, Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristóbal, and from them do daily tours that vary between USD 70-100 USD the least exclusive up to USD 150 USD which take you to the most remote places of uninhabited islands. What can we do in San Cristobal?
- The Lobería: A beach full of sea lions (and their newborn pups) and other animals within 30 minutes walking or taking a taxi
- Las Tijeretas (Frigata Hill): By taxi or walking 1 km from Puerto Baquerizo, it also has a beautiful viewpoint.
- Interpretation Center: Of giant tortoises or Galapagos, there are in all the islands
- Chinese Port: It can be done for free by taxi for around $ 40 USD
- Lobos Island: 1 hour by speedboat, place to swim with sea lions for between 60-80 $ USD
- Sleeping lion and Manglesito Beach: !! The best in San Cristóbal !! An extraordinary geological formation that houses the highest concentration of marine life in the area. Between 60-80 $ USD
- Private Boat: Access places like Punta Pitt or more inaccessible beaches (always authorized by the park)
After deliberate enough, we have decided to try to approach the Lobería today and tomorrow do one of the best excursions that Galapagos Islands provides, that of Sleeping Lion or also called Kicker Rock, and try to return to catch the speedboat to Santa Cruz at 3 pm. They have assured us that we can "fit it" and it would be to optimize the time very well so we will try it and so tomorrow we would sleep in Santa Cruz, base for several days of even more exclusive tour.
We finished the ride through Puerto Baquerizo and valued the options, and we ended up taking the excursion for USD 70 and for the USD 30 for the speedboat (In the exclusive article you have all the information on how to move around the islands and schedules). It is time to return to our pension and prepare to get to La Lobería but everything surprises us! A lava lizard and a small finch fiddle by our side in the house that serves as reception. They do not flinch, they ignore us. Here no fauna fears man. They are beautiful
Reach the Lobería is not at all complicated. While you can walk 30 minutes (we will play around, because they do not expect you there) we have taken a taxi for 2 USD both, which has also taught us all the repertoire of tours offered by the island. Everything seems to be very simple these days, much more than they try to prejudge us.
The road, which passes next to the airport, ends in an area where the sea seems rough at this time. Walking on a dirt path about 5 minutes appears before our eyes
La Lobería, our first encounter with wildlife
Dozens of sea lions (here called wolves) rest in a cove sharing space with people. Even if our intention was to place a towel for sunbathing we would have complicated the task
The startle is inevitable. Our first encounter with the wildlife of the Galapagos makes the trigger of our camera sound more than ever even though we are almost completely ignored by males, females and little ones here.
Finches of strange colors, prehistoric-looking frigates and other birds They also share an ecosystem in this small beach in San Cristóbal, where it is not difficult to find out the meaning of their name
After the initial craving, it is nice to sit and observe everything around us. At that time we are not aware of all that remains to come, but feeling mere spectator of this scenario is something I did not experience since the Antarctica
But the picture doesn't end there. We are in full time to give birth and the sand is full of young which, according to the guardian (who monitors the absolute respect for animals) have only 2 and 3 days.
They cannot be touched because they are at risk of being repudiated by their mothers, but with that cute little face, who wouldn't take one home? Paula sure yes
These little animals are the only ones that do not sleep under the sun at this time, and crawl from side to side riding fuss and approaching as if wanting to ask us pampering (when they approach, despite the photos, we are moving backwards so as not to touch them)
They play, they look at you, they approach you ... or they climb over their mother who remain calm from the distance without just flinching beyond a control with their eyes
While we take some more photos (and some selfie so fashionable) we fall into a detail that we had not noticed.
In the water there are A sea lion that has not stopped moving from side to side since we arrived. Is the alpha male, the "boss" of the beach and the one who controls that the entire colony is under his supervision. It is a good time to get into the water to know your behavior better. What do you say Sele?
The alpha male watches us from afar. As long as we don't bother the females, he won't mess with us. He is respectful and seeks the same, of course, we will do so
Almost without realizing it, we have spent 2 hours and it is getting dark, so we put route to Puerto Baquerizo, leaving aside our first Marine iguana From the trip. !! An iguana that has learned to swim !! and which we will talk about later, but whose black and reddish tones help her to go unnoticed in the environment we find
The return becomes very bearable, still excited. We also take the opportunity to eat a kind of pie in an improvised street kiosk that tastes like glory (1 USD) but not enough, so we just having dinner, in one such house Rosita, in town, some pasta for 12 USD.
And tomorrow is a day of many emotions, as in dreams of children who still do not believe that we are fulfilling, the trip to the Galapagos Islands and of which we surely have much to tell.
Isaac (and Sele), from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno - Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: USD 253.50 (approx. 202.80 EUR excluding accommodation that goes in the separate budget)