Galapagos Islands; Part I-The Arrival

I have wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands about as long as I can remember.  Studying them in geography class they always held a certain almost mystical allure for me.  Later, when I read Origin of the Species and studied Biology, my interest increased, although relegated to life’s back burner.

When I first decided to visit Ecuador, I knew beyond certainty that I would visit these islands located 600 miles off the Ecuadorian coast.  While staying in Quito, I researched boat tours, land tours and last minute deals.  Visiting the Galapagos is not inexpensive and many travelers skip them.  This was not an option for me!  I finally booked an eight day boat tour on the Floreana, a 47 foot motor yacht that carries 14 passengers and a crew of five plus a Class 2 bilingual naturalist named Victor.  I further decided to stay an extra six days on Santa Cruz Island and arrange day trips from there to some of the other islands I would miss on the boat tour.

My flight landed at Basra, a small flat island where the US Army set up a base and airstrip during WWII to protect the Panama Canal from a Japanese attack that never came.  After the war, it reverted to Ecuador.  After arriving, I took the free bus to the channel, then a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island, and finally a shared a cab for the 45 minute ride to Hotel Santa Cruz where I check in for the night.

An afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin Research Center gave me a chance to see giant tortoises along with land iguanas being bred for release back into the wild.

Checking out a young adult female Giant Tortoise

Galapagos Land Iguana

At this point, I am still having a hard time believing that I am actually here.  Even in the Charles Darwin Research Center, it is such an alien world.  I walk 20 minutes back to town and grab some dinner.  I retire early, tomorrow is going to be a busy day!

Author’s note:  I am currently staying on a farm near Cotopaxi in the Ecuadorian Andes. There is no Internet at all.  I took a 45 minute bus trip into the nearest town to write this post.  Until I get to Peru, my subsequent posts will be sporadic.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

8 Responses to Galapagos Islands; Part I-The Arrival

  1. Alisha May 21, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    I am still on the fence in regards to the Galapagos. Not because I don’t want to, but because of the cost, but your post definitely is inspiring me to go!!!! I’m thinking it should be a YES!
    Alisha recently posted..Hiking Laguna Quilatoa

    • Dave May 21, 2011 at 7:38 am #

      Better to regret the things we did… I hope to get to the Galapagos in late August.
      Dave recently posted..Across Argentina- 35 Days in 1-000 Photos

      • Philip May 24, 2011 at 6:56 am #

        I love that quote of Mark Twain’s. Defiitely go!!

    • Philip May 24, 2011 at 6:53 am #

      Yes, Alisha, go!!! I have about six more Galapagos stories to post (at least) once I get some bandwidth.

  2. The Travel Chica May 21, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    I didn’t make the trip when I was in Ecuador, but now I wish I had.
    The Travel Chica recently posted..5 Signs It Is Time to Check Out of Your Hostel

    • Philip May 24, 2011 at 6:54 am #

      Yes, I had to go. Now, if can only get enough WiFi to write about the rest of the trip!

  3. Jasmine May 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Going to the Galapagos is a lifelong dream of mine. I was in Ecuador for three months last year, but I didn’t have the money to head out there. Have fun 🙂
    Jasmine recently posted..13 Paraguay Facts You Should Know Before Backpacking South America

    • Philip May 24, 2011 at 6:55 am #

      Thanks Jasmine. Mine too and I wasn’t disappointed.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge