Puerto Ayora / Isla Santa Cruz

After we settled in in our accomodation and after a “virtual tour” through town by the owner of this place (a guy from Seattle) we had a walk to see what’s going on in this village. The road along the coast was very nice and there were a lot of nice restaurants and shops. The farther you walked away from the coast the shabbier the buildings got. Nevertheless, our host ensured us that we are absolutely safe here on Galapagos – the people here figured out that it is bad for business if there is crime. And there are enough legal ways to get to the money of the tourists…
After our excursion though Puerto Ayora and enjoying dinner we took a taxi home. No matter what our host said, we were not keen to walk the 15 min at night to one of the roads farther away from the coast where our Hostal was located. And since the taxi rides in town always only cost one Dollar, it isn’t worth thinking long if you should save the money or not.

First thing to see next day was the Charles Darwin Research Station. If you go there in the morning the chances are higher to see a lot of the huge tortoises because they are fed. It is really amazing how big they are and how they move their bodies over the bumpy and rough surface. Especially when you take into account that all the rocks are from volcanic origin and so the edges are quite sharp. Also some land iguanas can be seen at the research station. They are rarer and larger than the water iguanas.
After this pleasant start into the day we passed the so called fisherman’s harbour. Was quite interesting to see how they prepare the fresh fish and how eager the Pelicans and Sea Lions were to get a piece. After I saw this I decided that I’ll skip eating fish for a while – just as a precaution…
Next thing on our bucket list was a short hike to a gorge. The place there is one of the rare spots that you can explore on your own without a long taxi ride or a booked trip. I did a short snorkelling session there, but after we arrived it got crowded there pretty fast. The gorge reminded me a bit of the gorges in the Karijini National Park in Western Australia – but only a bit. Karijini was much more spectacular and nicer.

One way to get to the tourist’s money is to offer tours. Often it is hard to say upfront if the tour is worth the money. Like the half day trip that we booked for the following day with snorkeling next to an island for 30 US$. The price would have been ok, if we had been able to do some snorkeling – but the waves were very high and the currents strong. Nevertheless the tour was held for the full price even when it was clear to the locals that there will be no snorkeling where it was supposed to be. At least we could see some blue footed boobies (yeah, that’s their name) and some sea-iguanas. The black iguanas have algae and sea grass as a food source, so they are swimming and diving. The rest of the time they are lying around on the rocky beach and heat their bodies up again. And they are not scared of the tourists at all, actually they’re pretty stoic…

Before we took the “ferry” to the island San Cristobal we made a hike to the Tortoise Bay. Instead of Tortoises we saw some iguanas again lying on a nice beach with very fine sand. That’s at least something. We weren’t looking forward to our boat ride since the weather wasn’t very pleasing. It is possible to visit three islands with public transportation. The hub for that is Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz. The other two islands are San Cristobal and Isabella. To both islands it is an approx. 3h ride with a speed-boat that I wouldn’t call a “ferry”. Funny thing is that there usually are 2 or 3 ships operating at the same time to the same island. So I really wonder why they use these nutshells for 26 peoples or less, instead of having one proper ferry with less environmental impact and a higher level of safety. After the ride to San Cristobal we were absolutely sure that we are not going to visit Isabella on a day trip – 5 to 6 hours on a boat on one day, especially on such a small one and in rough conditions are simply too much.

3 thoughts on “Puerto Ayora / Isla Santa Cruz

    1. Hi!
      Neither me nor Eva got seasick. Eva gets easily seasick so she made precautions – she found some good medicine that helps.
      BR

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *