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bye bye mainland … islands here I come!


View Ecuador & Galapagos ... me gusta mucho! - 2015 on Ils1976's travel map.

Sleeping in can really be a joy, but although we still had enough of time before our flight towards the Galapagos Islands and to be more specific San Cristobal, we still didn’t want to sleep the entire morning away, so after having a delicious breakfast, the both of us just crossed the street, to have one more look at the iguanas.

Early in the morning, even the iguanas are still fast asleep, so the only thing I could conclude without any doubt is that they indeed aren’t morning animals. 

Together with a few others from our group it became a real challenge in spotting some iguanas and even after a few minutes of searching, we did actually find a few, but since they aren’t so active in the morning, we just left them be and had a quick peek at the cathedral which was jam-packed on this early Sunday morning. People here in the country are still very much religious unlike our own home country and even unlike our own tiny village where the church is mostly empty, here families were singing, having a conversation with their neighbors or even were full of admiration because of the words of the priest … I guess if we at home just had a little bit of the atmosphere that was hanging around this cathedral, I guess our churches wouldn’t be so empty, but that is just my opinion of course!

With the sun on our heads, Seminario Park was just the ultimate place to spend a morning. While music was coming out of the cathedral, we had one last look at the sleeping iguanas before we headed back towards the hotel where we met with the rest of our group at 11 AM. Sadly enough the time to say goodbye to this country was more than real and as soon as we arrived at the airport of Guayaquil, we as well had to say goodbye to our trusty driver Manuel and our "weird but trying to do his best” tour leader Freddy!

Although most of the time, checking in goes really smoothly, this time however, we experienced something completely different. To enter the islands, one needs to go through a whole checklist of things and they even ask to preregister. Normally we had to do this ourselves, but the travel agency where we booked our expensive day trip told us they would do it for us, so while we all were thinking, this was going to be an easy trip, it turned out completely different coz as soon as Freddy wanted to check us in, he discovered that nothing was done at all … should I say something like “TYPICAL” ???

I could see Freddy turn almost green with anger and although during the last few weeks, we weren’t always agreeing with him, for once we all felt a little bit sorry coz after all, this wasn’t really his fault. Luckily he managed to set things right and after waiting at the check-in area for a little more than an hour, we were all cleared to go and could enjoy the remainder of the time watching our plane arrive and even after heaving a little bit more patient, board it as well.

The flight from Guayaquil to San Cristobal wasn’t all that long but after spending two hours on the plane watching some kind of funny show while eating a few snacks, I was more than glad to arrive at the airport where luckily enough, things for once did go smoothly unlike what they warned us for!

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Upon our arrival, the sun was shining and for the very first time, even the heat came to greet us, something which was quite a bit overwhelming, but on the other hand … something to look forward to as well. San Cristobal airport isn’t that far away from the centre of town as well. I guess we must have been driving for about 15 minutes, coming from the airport, having a quick tour around town and getting back to our hotel … although I must admit that I was surprised to see the island much more inhabited than first expected, the laid-back lifestyle on the islands can’t be missed and in the end this is the perfect way to end your holiday!

It seemed quite an organization getting our rooms, but once we've all got settled, we could enjoy the remainder of the day and go out and explore the harbour of Baquerizo Moreno, which is also considered to be the capital of the Galapagos province. 

Since it was already past 3 PM in the afternoon, the both of us first went on the lookout for a bit of food before we said hello to the more than dozen sea lions we encountered on our way. Maybe the people on the island are used to it, but for us tourists it is more than funny to see those animals just lying in the middle of the streets or next to a shop or tree or whatever … for some reason I really could get used to this laid-back way of living!

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While the rest of our group went out for a few hours of snorkeling, me and Tania weren’t so much in the mood for going into the cold water and instead we decided to walk up all the way to "La Loberia". According to Tania’s travel guide, this was such a beautiful long white beach very much known for its sea lions and marine iguanas as well as turtles … so what was not to like.

Full of enthusiasm, the both of us left the centre of town and walked in the direction of the airport, which to our surprise could easily be reached on foot within half an hour walking … this sounds all so unreal, but finding the right way towards the beach was something unreal as well. We didn’t really had a good map and every time we asked people for directions they tried to help us, but the language seemed to be the biggest problem coz on the islands they speak more dialect than an the mainland, but with a lot of pointing and sign language, in the end we did managed to get into the right direction.

I must admit from time to time I had my doubts, but thanks to the perseverance of my buddy and after walking a little bit over an hour, we did manage to reach the beach of La Loberia!

Along the way we stumbled upon Bert, another member of our group and with the three of us, we first had a nice walk along the shore when all of a sudden Tania spotted our first marine iguana and to be honest, I was just over the moon since this was the animal I wanted to see the most. They are just so interesting and although there weren’t too many lying on the rocks, even the few ones we saw, were so amazing that it completely made my day!

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Seeing marine iguanas was the highlight of the day, but as we walked further along the shore ending up at the beach itself, didn’t prepare me for the second highlight as we saw an entire colony of sea lions basking in the evening sun, “running” after one another and playing in the water as well as little pups crying out for their moms. This last one was a bit heartbreaking to be honest and till this day I can honestly say this one made such an impact on me that it brings tears into my eyes every time I think about it. 

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Due to the "El Nino" phenomenon, almost half of the pups loose their lives because the mom don't return from to sea and since a pup can’t be raised by another sea lion it eventually dies … I know nature is beautiful but cruel at the same time and sadly enough walking along the beach of La Loberia, this proof was seen from time to time when you walked closer to the rocks and found a little one death between them. Joy and sorrow seemed to be two things which are really related to each other when you come to think about it!

As the sun was setting, the three of us walked back towards the harbor, still very much impressed with all the things we saw. By the time it was almost dark, we arrived at the local dive shop and got our flippers for our trip tomorrow morning and unintentionally left the place feeling quite happy as we also booked an afternoon trip towards the highlands.

Since it was already way past 7 PM, we went in search for some comfort food, which we were in need for after all the experiences of this day and found this at the local pizzeria which served amazing yummy pizzas. In a way this turned out a perfect ending to a rather amazing day and after our little walk to the harbor and one last look at the sea lions, we walked back to our hotel. Although it was only 10 PM, I was completely knackered and by the time we got showered and won the fight against “el Jefe”, our room cockroach, we just went to bed … hoping “el Jefe” wasn’t in the mood for a room party!

Posted by Ils1976 00:00 Archived in Ecuador

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I am really excited to see the marine iguanas. So sad about the seal pups

by greatgrandmaR

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