While in the archipelago we were fortunate enough to stay on San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela Islands. We also set foot and snorkeled at Baltra Island, were anchored just off of Wolf as well as Darwin Islands, which are over 250 meters and 165 meters high, respectively, and are actually extinct volcanoes. I don’t think anyone could actually set foot on these islands without the help of a helicopter. We also passed by several other islands, but we had to save something for next time!
The islands are all beautiful and offer different experiences with their unique plant and animal species, and personalities.
- San Cristobal was our first taste of the islands and was a very laid back island that seemed to be ruled by sea lions – they were on boats, in the road, laying across benches, and even on the slide marked “children only”! For tourists, the island consisted of a main street with several shops and restaurants, a small marina, several trails and beaches in walking distance, and a relaxed vibe.
|View of San Cristobal from above|
|Making friends with a sea lion|
|View of some trails to hike|
|View from a trail|
|Marine Iguana hanging out|
|Only children? Good luck getting this guy to move. |
It's clear who runs this town.
- Santa Cruz was much different. Its population is larger and so is the corresponding town. It was a lot of fun with an upbeat, energetic feel. There were many people (for the Galapagos anyway), tourists and locals, many shops, restaurants, a larger marina with ferry and taxi traffic, a volleyball court, tons of tour companies, and small hotels and hostels, in addition to the many attractions including paths to beautiful beaches, and the Charles Darwin Research Station where the giant Galapagos tortoises can be seen in all life stages.
|Fish Market: Sea lion begging for table scraps|
Two tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station
|Best buds, marine iguanas|
|Cooling off at a secluded part of Tortuga Bay|
- Isabela, again, was much different. A larger island by area, but the town is small with dirt roads, a few restaurants situated around a central square, an amazing, endless beach, and access to so many other attractions such as volcanoes (five on this island), flamingos, and boat rides to the other sides of the islands where more amazing things exist, such as one of our favorite activities: snorkeling Los Tuneles.
|Flamingos on Isabela Island|
|We hiked to Sierra Negra Volcano|
|Saw tons of nesting marine iguanas at Las Tintoreras|
|Snorkeled through Los Tuneles|
|Played with our underwater camera|
|As well as the reef sharks|
|And enjoyed some beautiful sunsets on the endless beach|
It was amazing to get a glimpse of this world that Charles Darwin gained his inspiration from, but in our almost two weeks, it feels like we’ve only scratched the surface of all that there is to offer. Next time, we will dive with whale sharks and see some of the other islands. And maybe we’ll take a little more time to relax and adopt the slower, laid-back pace of the locals, both the human and tortoise variety.