Santa Cruz

January 7, 2014

My dad and I awoke early this morning for our flight to the Galapagos. Landing on Baltra, we zoomed through baggage claim (carry on only) to meet Silvia, our naturalist guide for the day.

With Silvia, we got on the bus transfer to the Santa Cruz ferry. A short ride later and we were on Santa Cruz and met our driver. The plan for the day was to take a leisurely drive across Santa Cruz with a few stops before having lunch in Puerta Ayora and catching the ferry to Isabela, where we would spend the next couple days.

Our first stop was a sinkhole, which really helped solidify the volcanic foundation of the islands. Also quite clear was the obvious difference in vegetation (much of this caused by wetter weather) as we moved into the highlands from the coast.

A bit farther along, we stopped by some farms known for the tortoises that visit. This was our first chance to see wild giant tortoises and learn that we were here during tortoise mating season. We also got to explore a nice long lava tube, more evidence of the volanic origin of the isles.

After that, we finished our drive to Puerta Ayora where we met up with Jasci and Tom (our tour group's owner and Galapagos operations manager, respectively) for a delicious lunch (fresh local tuna). We then boarded our boat for the long, uneventful ride to Isabela.

Getting off the boat we were met by Esteban, our naturalist guide for our time on Isabela. He first took us to our room with a beautiful view of the ocean at Le Casa Del Marita before going to the tortoise breeding center, where we learnt about the breeding activities on Isabela and saw a large age range of tortoises, from under a year to over a century old.

From the breeding center, we took a walk back to our hotel. We first walked through some wetlands with iguana, flamingos, and more before walking along the beach back to our room. After sunset, we had a fine dinner before heading to bed. Quite a good first impression.