We enjoyed our 8 days of sailing around the Galapagos Islands so much that we decided to stick around for another week. So we cancelled our flight back to Quito and decided to explore two more islands, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.
We started our trip in Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz. This is a port town that offers a cool harbor, the Darwin Research Center, Lava Tunnels, and a pristine beach named Tortuga Bay.
We visited the Darwin Research Center, it contains lots of huge land tortoises, birds, and iguanas. I caught two huge land tortoises in a bit of a tussle, notice the stink face the one tortoise is giving the other:
After lots of urging, I convinced Lynn to go with me to the Lava Tunnels. Lava tunnels are created during volcanic lava flow — the outside of the lava cools and hardens faster than he internal flow of lava, creating a tunnel as the inside lava continues to flow out of the hardened outer core. As we entered the tunnel, Lynn was all smiles:
As we entered the tunnel, it seemed like they were really tall and we had plenty of room to walk through them.
However, after walking through it for a few minutes, we found that we had to body crawl Marine style to get under some of the points of the tunnel. To make it worse, we wore flip-flops — not the best choice for rocky areas of the tunnel. So I am still trying to live this down since I convinced Lynn to do it!
On the last day of our visit to Santa Cruz, we trekked to Tortuga Bay. It is about a 45 minute walk to a really pristine beach. The beach reminded me a lot of the beaches in Panama City Beach, but it did have sea lions — something we obviously do not have in Panama City.
1500 Chickens on a Speed Boat – Ride to San Cristobal
We wanted to spend a few days on San Cristobal island, so we purchased a ticket on a speed boat for a 2 hour ride from Santa Cruz to San Cristobal. We loaded up the boat with over a dozen passengers and started to pull off. Then to our surprise, another boat pulled up beside us and began unloading his cargo into our boat. As they started loading these crates, we started hearing incredibly loud chirping sounds. They had loaded 1,500 baby chickens into our boat and they took the 2 hour ride with us!
1,500 baby chickens made a very loud noise. click here to see the video.
San Cristobal is a sleepy port town, we took this opportunity to unwind and just enjoy a few days without tons of activities going on.
They have several beaches on San Cristobal, but they are totally overun by sea lions. You can even see them on the town benches. It is illegal to harm the sea lions, so they get their run of the town.
San Cristobal has an Interpretive Center that I think is more impressive than the Darwin Research Center. It does a really good job of explaining how the Galapagos Islands were created and what groups of people have inhabited the islands through the years. On our hike to the Interpretive Center, we stopped by a small beach. We saw this sea lion resting on a set of kiyaks, thought it was very interesting.
We really enjoyed this week in the Galapagos. We are now off to Quito where we plan to take a day trip to Otavalo, a place where indiginous people put on a weekly market to sell their wares. After that, we plan to spend some time in Banos, Ecuador. Banos is a relaxing place with beautiful waterfalls, ziplining, and incredible massage therapy houses.