The Galápagos Islands is unique destination which should be on every travelers’ list. It comes with a price, however, as everything on the island is quite expensive: it starts by paying 120$ in National Park fees before you even set foot on solid ground. On top of that, lodging and groceries are overpriced, and tours around the Galápagos start at 150$.
Once you are out exploring, however, you see why the islands are so popular among tourists: dozen of exotic birds, turtles, iguanas and so on are all around you. Because wildlife on the island is so protected, the animals are not bothered by humans so you can get really close. During our six day stay we explored the main town of Puerto Ayora on the Santa Cruz island, and went on a tour to North Seymour.
Puerto Ayora is the biggest town on the Galápagos, located on the central island of Santa Cruz. It is from this town that most cruises depart, as well as day tours to any of the other ten or so smaller islands. But, wildlife is ample in Puerto Ayora itself too. In the harbor, we found pelicans, sea lions, and exotic birds feeding on leftover fish. The town is also home to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where one can see giant (and not so giant) turtles and iguanas.
Two popular places where locals spent their free time are Tortuga Bay and Las Grietas. Both sights can easily be visited in a few hours, as they are within walking distance of Puerto Ayora. Tortuga Bay is a white sand beach perfect for surfing due to the strong current, but unfortunately less suitable for swimming. For swimming, locals prefer Las Grietas, which is a crevasse filled with a mixture of rain- and seawater.
On our last day on the Galápagos we decided to visit North Seymour, a small island north of Santa Cruz home to a variety of exotic birds. During a one-hour walking tour of the island, we spotted blue-footed boobies (recognizable by their blue feet), frigate birds, gulls, but also a lot of land and marine iguanas. Some of them were within a meter from where we were standing, but they were not threatened at all by our presence.
After visiting North Seymour, we snorkeled in the waters around the island. From the boat, we did see some huge Galápagos sharks, luckily they did not reach the shallow waters where we’d snorkel. After, we were brought to the beach of Las Bachas, where we could sunbathe a little before returning to Puerto Ayora. The tour was a great way to end our six day stay, in which we saw a great variety of exotic animals only to be seen on the Galápagos.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.