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Friday, 31 December 2010

A Land Based Tour in the Galapagos - Page 5

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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I then walked back to town, had a quick lunch, and went to my hotel to shower and change before looking for a new place to stay with my new friends whom I’d met on the boat. I’d decided I wanted to spend another night on Isabela and my hotel was already completely booked, and they were in the same position. In fact, many people who come to Isabela want to extend their stay, but this is more challenging than it sounds as there are no ATM’s on the island, so you can only extend your stay by as much time as whatever cash you have will last, and since most places only take cash, credit cards won’t save you (Hotel Albermarle is one of the few places that does take credit cards, but if it's already booked you’re out of luck). So we looked at some of the cheap hotels in town that charge about $20 a night and decided on one that in retrospect I wouldn’t recommend, Hotel Volcano.

The next day three new friends and I rented bikes and rode to the tortoise sanctuary and then to the wall of tears, a large stone wall built by prisoners. It is at Galapagos photos the end of a long tourist trail perfect for mountain biking that has many viewpoints, mangrove forests and secluded beaches like Playita, where we ended up swimming. We stopped at most of these different points along the way, some teeming with marine iguanas, another where you hike up to a high point, arriving at a 360 degree panorama. There is definitely enough to do to keep you going all day, but it was very hot, so swimming in the beautiful water was the best part.

Galapagos photos

Afterwards we tried to find a place open for lunch, but were out of luck as it was 3:30 and everything was closed, so we grabbed some snacks and decided to have an early dinner which was difficult as there was a power outage and most of the restaurants didn’t open for dinner, so we went back to Lo Encanto de Pepe – the only place open and ate by candlelight.

We then went to a beach bar right across from our new hotel which was great as they had hammocks and someone playing guitar and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. The blackout didn’t matter here as candles set the perfect mood. When we went back to our hotel the power was still out and they gave me a candle to go upstairs. Unfortunately, I saw two cockroaches and that pretty much ruined my sleep for the night; when the lights came back on I left them on all night so the roaches wouldn’t come in my room. I had to leave at 5:30 am anyways for my 6 am ferry. It’s still dark at 5:30 and I can’t see why all the boats leave so early and all at the same time. Why not have a late afternoon departure as well to create some more options?

There are many other things to do on Isabela as well – diving is very popular and so is the tour of Las Tintoreras – an area of low rocks near the harbor where you can see sea lions and blue-footed boobies and go snorkeling – its 2-3 hours and costs $20. You could also spend at least one day lounging on the beautiful beaches.

I arrived in Puerto Ayora at 8:30 am and went to Casa de Lago for breakfast – a large, varied breakfast with a pancake, an omelet, fruit with yogurt and granola, coffee and fresh juice. Then I was off to find a place to stay for this last night. I looked at a couple of places and decided on one of the popular budget choices, Hotel Espana – it has very small and simple rooms, but they are clean and without any bugs which was my main criteria for this last night where I had another very early morning departure.

Galapagos photos I did some souvenir shopping and then went to Tortuga Bay for the rest of the day – it was cooler than the time I went the previous week, but I lay on the beach and relaxed and took more time looking at all the birds and lizards on the walk down. There was one mockingbird that walked, jumped, and flew right next to me for about five minutes while singing; I was amazed at how unafraid so many of the birds were. It was very cloudy and kept threatening to rain but never did until evening and then only some light sprinkling. Since it was the beginning of December, this was the very end of the dry season and the start of the rainy season, but the benefit of the wet season here is the currents bring warmer water and the parched earth is reinvented with flowers.

(Page 5 of 6)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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