August 2nd, 2015 por Isabel Correia
Galapagos is the place to enjoy nature, and everything is around this. No wonder Darwin chose it to write and work on his theories. From the minute the plane lands in an almost desert island (Baltra) to any place one goes, diversity is the rule. Then, as mentioned, the airport in located in Baltra island and from there, we get on a bus (free ride, of five minutes no more) to the small canal port, where a boat takes you to the other side, the island of Santa Cruz where Puerto Ayora is located (five minutes) and, now already enjoying the beautiful green water and whatever you can see in it or the sky above. There, you can either hop on a bus, which I did not do or take a cab (most cabs are Toyota road trucks) with no meter system. The ride to Puerto Ayora costs US$18 and, it takes approximately 45 minutes (it’s a 40km ride) through different landscapes (from rather desert to highly dense vegetation) either with the sun or a light drizzle in the higher part of the island.
Santa Cruz Island – Puerto Ayora village is where most local attractions are, all at walking distance, this is to say Tortuga Bay, Darwin turtle center, Las Grietas (have to take a boat taxi, about 5 minute ride) hotels, restaurants, bars and all the tourist agencies where tour packages can be bought either day tours or longer boat cruises. There are a huge number of agencies and from what I could capture they all work the same way, which means double check everything because you might get into trouble.
I did not do any of the inland tours with the agencies since I had enjoyed my taxi driver’s behavior I decided I should hire his services to the places I had already chosen to go:
– El Chato and the Dos Gemelos – US$ 45 to take us there and wait as long as necessary while I visited the places. The first one is where one can see the huge land turtles in nature, and also it’s possible to walk under small lava tunnels. And Dos Gemelos are two twin craters covered with vegetation and a nice place to enjoy the flora diversity;
– El Garrapatero – US$ 35 to go from the above attraction to this calm beach with rocks and mangroves. Nice place to swim and see iguanas.
The two tours took the whole afternoon and can be done together if one does not want to lie in the sun in El Garrapatero.
We also visited Tortuga Bay, a beautiful beach, walking distance from downtown, using a trail through vegetation (about 3km). If you are staying in the village for a longer period, this is the beach to rest and enjoy the ocean. Iguanas can be seen there and, there is a protected area for turtle nests. Also worth a visit, is the Darwin Center for turtle protection, but nothing so important.
Most of the other tours in Puerto Ayora are part of the day tours to other islands either to snorkel or dive as well as some walking tours. We did the Pinzon day tour that took me to this island where I did snorkel, saw sea lions, sharks and lots of different fish species. On the way back we stopped for about 40 minutes in a desert beach where we could see rays and be bitten if out of the water by a small insect (not pleasant at all). The last snorkel of this tour was around Daphne menor island where again I could see lions, sharks, and different fish species. Nice tour of US$ 120.
More to come….