Trip Start Aug 31, 2012
17Trip End Apr 30, 2013
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Where I stayed
Hotel San Vicente Galapagos Puerto Villamil
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Hate to make you jealous but here is what we got up to this week past, visiting the famous Galapagos Islands, Darwin's playground:
We snorkeled in clear blue waters, following giant turtles around a lagoon, and avoiding one massive sleeping stingray.
We hiked up to the crater of Sierra Negra volcano, the second widest active volcanic crater in the world (again, I don’t know the first, Google is your friend); at between ten and eleven kilometers in diameter, it was quite breathtaking to behold. It last spewed its juices a mere seven years ago, and our guide took great delight in telling us that nobody then knew it was coming. On the way we encountered mud, cloud, burning sun, 'aggressive’ guava trees (not as exciting as you’d think - they were brought by the first colonists and have now almost wiped out the indigenous plant life in their quest for supremacy – much like many aspects of the now greatly endangered local wildlife), a great number of Darwin’s famous finches and one beautiful and greatly curious hawk
We lazed on an idyllic beach, surrounded by more brave and nosey birds, and loads of beautiful marine iguanas. These iguanas were one of our favourite animals on the island, as they were all over the place, and were quite content just flopped on the sand, soaking up the sun, no matter how close we got, or how much we posed for photos with them. They were truly Jurassic, and we never got bored of encountering them in our paths.
We sunned, we swam, we ate good food. But the best thing about the Galapagos is the animals. We spent a small fortune visiting this place, and still were doing much of it on the cheap (eating instant pasta when meals weren’t provided; turning up without hotel bookings to get better prices; getting last minute tour deals and bartering the hell out of the locals), but it really was worth every penny.
My personal highlights were the sea lions. Seeing beautiful wild animals like this laying around in what are essentially public places, oblivious to the people stepping over and around them was really special. I even got to stroke one of them which made me feel like a kid (their fur is so soft and warm and velvety, I just couldn’t help myself)
The giant tortoises were also incredibly beautiful (In a really ugly and alien sort of way). The only shame about seeing these great lazy dinosaurs being that there are none in the wild anymore. They all have to be bred in captivity (though they don’t seem to be having problems there – their lethargic motion does not seem to go hand in hand with chastity – there was no shortage of babies at the sanctuaries we visited) since the introduction (by people) of such animals as dogs, cats, rats – and even ants – that destroy these ancient animals before they can even reach a year old (they apparently taste delicious and, at that age, have only very soft shells).
We saw many beautiful birds that we tried to remember (or at least make up) the names of; including pelicans, the famous blue-footed boobies, the aforementioned hawk, flamingos, penguins and many more that you can see here.
There’s not much else to say about this five-day excursion. We’ll let the photo’s do the rest of the talking. Until next time...
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