We’ve spent 10 days in the Galapagos Islands and the experience did not disappoint. I didn’t have very many expectations coming` in to this part of the trip, although Robin did remind me that coming here was something that I insisted on early in the planning. So much time and energy has gone into planning the whole trip that I had forgotten all about my enthusiasm for including the Galapagos. That’s not to say that I didn’t want to include it or that I regret making that assertion so long ago! When we would tell people about the bigger trip, almost everyone asked if we were coming to the Galapagos and it’s clear after being here for 9 days now and visiting all of the 3 major islands, that most people come here with very high expectations. Rightfully so; it’s an incredible place.
We started on San Cristobal Island for just 2 nights and stayed, for the first time on this trip, in a hostel. All 4 of us in one slightly smelly room. They were not the best accommodations but we managed for the couple of nights we were there and really, we didn’t spend much time in our room anyway with so much to see and do. On the first day we walked to the Interpretation Center at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and did some learning about the history of the Galapagos. Right near the Interpretation Center there is a small beach called Playa Punta Carola where we had our first real encounter with sea lions. They were lying all over the beach, letting tourists get quite close to take pictures and selfies with them. The sea lions swim in the water near people as well and they can be dangerous but are kind of playful too. One sea lion tried to steal Kieran’s water shoe! Kieran freaked out a little and moved to where the water was more shallow and we sent Caleb out to retrieve the shoe that had been forcefully removed from Kieran’s foot. The boys stayed quite close to the sand after that, not wanting to interact that closely with the wildlife anymore. We stayed into the evening to watch the spectacular sunset from the beach before heading back to grab some supper.
The strip along the waterfront near the pier at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is a fun little spot in the evening. The sea lions and iguanas provide abundant entertainment and it’s not nearly as expensive as one might think to sit and have a simple meal on the waterfront.
The main attraction while visiting San Cristobal is to take a tour to Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido depending on your interpretation of the shape of the formation, and we did so on a lovely sailboat. It was a nice day and we had mostly good weather, the other people on our trip were very nice and we enjoyed a relaxing day and some good conversation together. The most amazing thing about this trip was the dolphins we saw on the way to Kicker Rock. They were very close to the boat and almost wanting to play with the boat! They put quite a show on for us, jumping up out of the water and swimming right up close beside the boat. They stayed with us for quite a while and it was just incredible. Shortly after the dolphins moved on, Anne Marie (one of our fellow tour goers) and I were sitting on the bow of the boat, enjoying the sun and she noticed an eagle ray jumping out of the water. She explained that she had heard this could happen but neither of us had seen it before (and I missed it!). A few minutes later it happened again and I saw it this time. It was breathtaking!!! The eagle ray was about 2m across and just majestic! It came so far out of the water that it looked like a huge bird. Unfortunately I was not in any way prepared to capture a photo of this remarkable sight but I will not soon forget the image.
Upon arriving at Kicker Rock, we snorkeled between the 2 rock formations, which some of us enjoyed more than others, and saw some turtles and fish. The water was pretty deep so the sea life was not abundant but we did see some frigates, nazca boobies and blue footed boobies on the rock itself. We stopped at a beach for a little while but the water was pretty choppy, preventing us from actually reaching the beach, and the boys and I only got off the boat into the water long enough to cool off a little. It rained the entire way back to port so everyone was huddled either in the cabin of the boat or on the back under a less than adequate tonneau cover.
I’m glad we only opted to stay a couple days on San Cristobal; while it was a lovely little town with interesting things to see and do, it was definitely our least favourite of the 3 islands that we visited and we left feeling satisfied with our experience there.