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Friday, 31 December 2010

A Land Based Tour in the Galapagos - Page 3

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Galapagos photosAfter Luis’ homemade pancakes and coffee I joined a tour to the highlands that a couple at my hotel was going on. We went to the tortoise breeding center where there were lots of giant tortoises to look at and their babies as well and our guide explained their behavior and how their sex is determined by the temperature the egg is incubated at, so they are keeping many more at a higher temperature to have more females so the species reproduces faster.


Next we headed down to a beautiful beach for a swim. There were seals, pelicans, and on a rocky outcrop nearby, blue-footed boobies that let me get very close – they are so cute with their electric-blue feet.

Galapagos photos

Afterwards we went to a ranch for a huge lunch of fruit, chicken, rice and vegetables. Then we hiked up to the lagoon in the crater of an old volcano where the frigates come to wash the salt water off their feathers. Finally, we went to a viewpoint over the town and small islands and got on mountain bikes and coasted back to our hotel, as the trip was mostly downhill. It was 5 p.m. when we got in Galapagos photosand I quickly made my way up to the San Cristobal interpretation center that closes at 6 p.m. It has a beautiful pathway through the native fauna of the area and goes to lookouts over two beaches. I went down to one, which like most beaches here was covered with sea lions. The walkways are all new and it is very nicely done; I wish I’d had more time to explore it.

Getting back at dusk I had a glass of wine kindly offered by Patricia and some interesting conversation with her and the other guests. I went to the Miconia Hotel’s restaurant for dinner which was very good. They have a salad bar with lots of choices that they offer before their meals and my fish was very tasty, but be sure to bring cash as they charge 22% extra for credit cards.

If I’d stayed another day on San Cristobal I probably would have gone to Punta Pitt, a place all the way at the far end of the island where you can see the red footed booby which is very rare and most people who come to the Galapagos never see it. It is a very long boat trip though and a guide told me that it’s only worth it if you can get out and do a hike around the area as opposed to just seeing them from the boat. San Cristobal is also famous for surfing and I met a couple of surfers who’d been there a month.

Galapagos photosI had an early start because the ferry to Santa Cruz leaves at 7 am. It was much less rough on the way back, probably because of the currents. So if you can arrange to fly into one island and out of the other I’d start on San Cristobal and fly out of Santa Cruz/Baltra (unless you’re flying Lan, like I was, where they only fly in and out of Baltra). I spent the whole rest of the morning in Hotel Sol y Mar’s bar seats – this is one of Puerto Aroya’s few restaurants with seats directly on the water, as almost all just look over the main street. It was the perfect place to spend several hours with my bag in tow and I saw a blue heron, pelicans, and many iguanas while I waited.



Galapagos photosI caught the 2 p.m. ferry to Puerto Villamil on Isabela, a gorgeous island without any paved roads and beautiful beaches. I checked in at Hotel Albemarle which has the best location in town on a perfect crescent beach full of palm trees. My room had a balcony with a perfect view over the turquoise water and the pure white sand. It was nicely decorated and had a huge bathroom with double sinks and a rain shower. There is also a small pool, a restaurant, hammocks, wireless and a computer for guests’ use.




Galapagos photos
















The walk around town didn’t take long, but the beach goes on for miles, and there is almost no one on it! I thought this must be paradise!

Galapagos photos

I arranged a volcano tour for the next morning and then walked around the beaches until sunset. For dinner I tried Lo Encanto de Pepe where I had a fairly good grilled fish meal. I slept soundly with the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

(Page 3 of 6)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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