Headed back to Quito over the mountains it was 10 degrees and then poured rain for about 20 min. We were lucky because about an hour after we arrived it REALLY started to rain, like build an ark rain. We stored the bikes away with Diego at Mariscal Motors and packed up a few things for a trip to the Galapagos. We managed to get an unreal deal on a first class boat. The other option is to fly to San Cristobal Island and book there. The deals are even better on the island especially if you can be flexible on dates. Last minute spots are listed on www.galapagoscruiselinks.com
After a sleepless night worrying we would sleep in and miss the flight, we were a bit tired to start the day. First there is the 60 min drive to the new Quito airport to which they have yet to complete the road. Luckily there was no line at the tourist office where you must pay 10$ each for a tourist card. Then you have your luggage screened to make sure you have no fruits or plants. Last you check in for boarding. There is a short flight to Guayaquil to exchange some passengers and then a 2 ½ hour flight to San Cristobal Island. Flying in there is nothing but ocean for 1000km and then you finally spot land.
Just before landing they open all the luggage bins and spray some sort of disinfectant. It is a bit weird, but required by the park service. They did not however spray the hand luggage under the seats.
After landing you pass thru passport screening and then pay 100$ each for park entry. Nationals pay 6.50$. Our guide Walter met us at the airport.
The animals even in town at the docks are everywhere. We had a short ride to the boat, lunch and a safety briefing. We did take this seriously since our crew rescued a boatload of people 5 weeks ago when their wood boat hit a rock at 1 am and sank.
This afternoon we bussed it across the island to the Giant Turtle breeding center.
That night we had a short and calm sail to Santa Fe.
Here we walked the beach seeing sea lions, giant cactus, and land iguanas.
The first snorkel was today and swimming with the sea lions is totally amazing. It’s like being in a tropical fish bowl.
Coming back for lunch and a rest the boat has a following of frigate birds.
The afternoon dinghy ride thru the mangrove got us up close to Turtles, Pelicans, and Blue Footed Boobies.