We have a housesit in France for August and it is time to move on…. unfortunately life throws a bump and we end up doing some last minute exploring to the Galapagos.
The planning for this trip was relatively last minute. Initially we were just going to arrive with an airbnb place booked. Due to the uncertainty with my fathers health I kept holding off.
The timing was such that my father passed away but we were not able to go back because I had friends bringing my new bank card, phone and a pair of special travel shoes that ended up being stolen before I even saw them. I was a mixed bag of emotions. I felt guilty for not being with my father – though we did speak a week before his death and there was nothing I could do for him – but I also felt excited in seeing a buddy and his family I had not seen for 19 years.
Needless to say I did not feel like winging it and had someone else make the arrangements.
I went with Galapagos Alternative and we were very pleased. I told them how long, what we wanted to do, our food allergies and my budget. This was a land based excursion not a cruise.
The only somewhat hiccup was getting the money wired to them from Canada in time for our arrival. As I said it was last minute, but it was a bucket list item for Magpie.
We chose to fly from Cusco to Lima in the early light of the morning. The day before we said our good byes to our friends and it seemed like we were heading off for the first time.
From Lima we took the bus to Guayaquil, Ecuador – 28 hours. It was an interesting ride, meeting new people who were also going to the Galapagos. The change in temperature was fun once again – from cool to stuffy humid.
The bus station in Guayaquil is basically a mall. Quite surprising from Peru. Grabbing a taxi to our hostel – Dreamkapture – was a breeze. The first surprise was getting a 1.00 US coin in my change. Ecuador went to the US currency many years ago. My taxi drive saw my surprise an assured me it was valid tender not realizing that my surprise was how rare it is to get these coins in the states. I think they were all sent to Ecuador.
Dreamkapture is a very nice hostel even though we only spent the night.
The process to fly to the Galapagos is similar to Easter Island. The bags are checked for fruit and vegetables as the islands are very protective of not allowing non- indigenous species in. You must also pay for your immigration card – $10.00 US.
The flight itself is only 1.5 hours and the time zone is 1 hour behind mainland Ecuador.
Arrival in Galapagos – Baltra Island – is an outdoor airport with a line up to go through customs and pay your park fee in cash – $100.00 US adult, $50.00 child.
Since I had booked through Galapagos alternative there was someone to meet us at the airport.
The only thing on Baltra is the airport. It is the remnants of a former US military base from 1941 – 1945. It was set up to protect the Panama canal during WWII.
Everyone has to catch a bus to the ferries which is a short hop across to Santa Cruz Island, unless they chose to fly in a smaller plane to the other islands.
Once on Santa Cruz we get into our taxi – a truck – and head to the only town which is on the other side of island – literally. It is approximately a 45 min drive. From the ferry the topography changes from flat dry conditions to highlands with lush green conditions as you get to the town of Puerto Ayora.
to be continued………