If you ever get the chance to travel to Ecuador you should definitely not miss out on the Galapagos Islands – The place where the evolution theory was born. We decided to follow this advice and not miss the chance to swim with sea lions or to get spat on by an iguana.
Getting there was quite expensive (flight, entrance fee, bus to the ferry, ferry, taxi to the hostel) and also took us quite some time…. But by the time we arrived – it sure was worth it. We stayed at a sweet little hostel – „Galapagos Dreams“ – located right in the middle of the small town (Puerto Ayora) on the first island we visited – Santa Cruz. The first evening we, while exploring the town, also spotted a lot of animals at the harbour and the only restaurant with proper vegan food – Shawarma – it haunted us (we literally ate there every day).
The Darwin research center for turtles takes care of the baby turtles until they are 5 years old and therefore big enough to not have to worry about predators anymore.
Actually because of not having natural enemies the turtles, like many other species there, have never evolved a defense mechanism so they just ignore people near them or even try to play.
Snorkeling being one of the reasons people visit the Galapagos Islands. We definitely had to do it as well (not only once we did it quite a lot times actually). So our first snorkeling trip was great but we „only“ saw medium sized turtles, a lot of fish and an eel. However the trip included a hike through the scenic landscape a lot animals to watch and finally snorkeling in a canyon (with unfornutaley even less fish) with the greatest view.
We kind of were in a rush so Lutz forgot to bring his swimming shoes and got a really bloody injury on his foot (he hit a rock while snorkeling).
Visit the Tortuga bay beach, it is not far – “You just have to walk a bit to get there” – they said… We walked for 2h (minimum) in the midday sun with one bottle of water… But it sure was worth it. the Bay was beautiful, the swimming water warm + the sea lions and Iguanas swimming with us.
Eventhough we would recommend to take the watertaxi – we did not – we walked the same long 2h back to the town, stopping at the first restaurant we saw and drinking 2l of Coca Cola in 5min.
As I mentioned: Santa Cruz was the first Island we visited. But there are a lot more islands – we decided on visiting one more – Isla Isabella. We booked the ferry (2h ride) and packed everything only to wake up to Bella having a bad fever… So we had to change plans (Ferdi, Lotti, Lutz still went to Isla Isabella without Susi and Bella). The trip to Isla Isabella was horrible tho – 2h with big bumpy waves most of the time (nothing you’d want to do while being sick – so it sure was a good idea to leave Bella and Susi in Puerto Ayora).
But like the 2h walk to the Tortuga Bay this 2h boat ride still was worth it. The first day we rented bikes to kind of explore the Island by ourselves which was quite nice actually. We saw flamingos and gigantic tortoises. We also found a bay hidden in a mangrove forest where we went swimming (with a turtle joining us).
The second day we decided to go snorkeling in a place called „Los Tuneles“. We saw lots of giant turtles, a sea lion, sharks, even a penguin and a 5m (in width) manta. The tour too included a small hike, where we saw lots of blue footed boobeys mating – quite interesting actually.
Unfortunately Ferdi injured his foot while hiking on the volcanic rocks (luckily after snorkeling with the sharks)
There are also nice sunsets at Galapagos
The last day we decided (after two Americans recommended it to us) to go snorkeling on our own at the „La Perla beach“ right next to the small village we stayed at (Puerto Villamil). So we did that. And surprisingly in addition to the many colorful fish we saw some Iguanas and sea lions decided to join – pretty cool.
When we got back to Santa Cruz Bella finally felt a little bit better (thankfully) and we enjoyed the last day…
We decided to not fly back to Quito but to Guayaquil (and stay there for another three days) – wasn’t the best idea… We saw everything there is to see on the first day and honestly one day would’ve been enough (we didn’t like it at all). Ferdi, Lutz and Lotti still wanted to do something other than sitting in the hostel and doing homeschooling – so we went out to try the cable car. On our way Ferdi stepped on a rusty nail (he had shoes on but the nail went right through the shoe into his foot) so we had to go back to the hostel with the third bloody foot – we saw it as a sign and just did homeschooling the rest of the day…