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Friday, 31 December 2010

A Land Based Tour in the Galapagos - Page 2

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Galapagos photos

The return trip was much rougher, but the captain did a good job getting us back. After the bus ride back I went to Familiar William’s for dinner where I tried their fish with coconut sauce – it was much tastier than the one I’d had the previous night, though the surroundings and atmosphere were lacking – as they just set up the tables right in the middle of the street (which is blocked off at night), but it is cheaper, faster and better.

Galapagos photosThe next day I had a filling continental breakfast of fruit, yogurt, granola, toast and coffee at my hotel. I packed up my stuff for my afternoon ferry to San Cristobal and then headed over to Tortuga Bay for a few hours. A nice trail leads through native vegetation for about 40 minutes and then I reached the gorgeous long white sand beach with lots of marine iguanas to look at. They especially like the area near the mangroves between the first beach and a second beach which sits in a protected cove – the only advised place for swimming because the currents are so strong at the first one that it is just used by surfers. The marine iguanas look like such prehistoric creatures with their wrinkled skin and their big dinosaur-like tails. At the second beach I saw several large brown pelicans and a huge stingray.




Galapagos photos

I could have easily spent all day there, but I had to get back for my 2 p.m. boat (which didn’t end up leaving until almost 3). I was happy I didn’t have lunch because the sea was very rough and all the ferries are speedboats that hit pretty hard after each big wave, so two people got sick on out boat, and several others looked like they were going to. I took homeopathic pills to avoid seasickness which I think really helped me. Finally we arrived at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno after two long hours.

When I got there I took a taxi to my hotel, Casa Iguana Mar Y Sol, a very nice guesthouse owned by an American, Patricia and built by an Ecuadorian, Luis. They run the place together and one of them is always around to see that things Galapagos photosgo smoothly. It was artistically built with hand-carved doors and windows and handmade furniture as well. Patricia showed me to my room and told me about the area. I started by walking down the boardwalk alongside the harbor in the center of town which had a multitude of seals lounging on the beach and draped over the rocks. At night you can hear seals barking instead of dogs barking; it is quite unique!

Galapagos photosI liked the town much better than Puerto Ayora, as it is smaller, cleaner, and much closer to nature so more interesting. You can have your coffee, drinks, or meal overlooking a beach teeming with sea lions and watch their fascinating interactions.

I had dinner at La Playa on Patricia’s suggestion – it was excellent. I ordered the Galapagos prawns (which is actually lobster) in coconut sauce. The place was packed with people even on a Thursday night.

Galapagos photosThe next day I went on an excursion to Kicker Rock. The speedboat took us first to seal island where we snorkeled with seals in the clear azure water. The babies were so playful that they were jumping in the air and diving between us. We also saw lots of puffer fish and blue-footed boobies.




Galapagos photosAfter about forty-five minutes we went to Kicker Rock where the water was much darker, colder, and rougher. There is a channel to swim through between two huge monoliths where there are almost always Galapagos sharks, and just so we weren’t disappointed there were five of them together in the middle. I was a bit intimidated, especially when I looked down and there was one swimming directly underneath me. There was more snorkeling along the cliffs and people could head back to the boat whenever they wished, but no one lasted too long this time because of the cold (or maybe the sharks).

We headed to a small, uninhabited island with a sandy beach to explore and go sea kayaking. We ate boxed lunches of chicken, rice, and salad on the boat (as conservation doesn’t allow picnicking on the island itself) and took turns using the kayak around the bay and the mangroves. I saw several large sea tortoises that kept poking their heads up to breathe and tried to follow them. There were also seals and lots of interesting birds including frigates and yellow warblers. We got back to town around 3 pm and I headed back to my hotel to shower and change. Patricia offered me some tea and we talked about her experience living there and running the hotel. It feels like you’re staying in someone’s home more than a hotel, but at the same time it is the nicest (and probably friendliest) place in town.

I went to Miramar for dinner and ordered the pasta with fish and brandy cream sauce. They sent out an appetizer which was a nice surprise – seafood in pastry Galapagos photosshells, and the dessert (tiramisu) was on the house as well, but that was advertised. The food was good, but the best part was the location – it overlooks a beach filled with sea lions, so you can watch them the whole time.

(Page 2 of 6)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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