Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
64Trip End Apr 01, 2013
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Having secured a room at the Lirio del Mar, I had the rest of the day to explore the remaining places I wanted to see on Santa Cruz. I say remaining because I had had a few hours the day I had travelled from San Cristobal - Isabela. No direct boat connection had meant a 5 hour wait in Puerto Ayora until the 2pm boat left for Isabela. During this, I had visited the El Chato Tortoise Reserve and the lava tunnels up in the highlands
So having done these, there were only 2 things which I wanted to see on my final day. Firstly, Las Grietas which is a water taxi and short walk away from Puerto Ayora. It's a lovely gorge with very tranquil, clear water which you can swim or snorkel in. Although pretty, I didn't spend too much time there as wanted to allow more time for what I hoped would be the more interesting of the 2 - Tortuga Bay.
Tortuga Bay is also walkable from Puerto Ayora, taking about 45mins along a purpose-built path. The beach is beautiful. White sand which is so fine it literally runs through you fingers, whilst also sticking to and getting into everything!! As I walked along it, the sun decided to make an appearance and it really was stunning
If I'm honest, I'm glad I only spent 1 night on Santa Cruz. Puerto Ayora is a much larger town than either Puerto Bacuerizo Moreno or Puerto Vilamil. The only advantage to staying longer would have been the opportunity to do further day trips to islands such as Bartoleme, Santa Fe or Floreana, none of which are offered from the other islands.
And now, just a few things about visiting the Galápagos and doing an independent land based tour as opposed to a cruise or an organised land based tour. Most of the guide books make it sound like it is impossible to see anything if you aren't on either of the latter. It is; it just takes more planning. The land trips I looked at varied from $650 -850 (exc. flights/entrance) and although advertised as 5 days would have been in reality only 3 full days with a 1/2 day either side because these are the days you arrive or depart. Likewise, the cheapest 'last minute' cruises were apx $750 (exc. flights/entrance) for 4 days, again including your departure and arrival days, so really only 2 full days.
As this was very much an extra to my original itinerary, I had to do it on a pretty strict budget
If you are in any way thinking of visiting the Galápagos, go...it is absolutely worth it and I'm so pleased I haven't missed out on these amazing islands :-)