Off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean lies a unique place in the world. The Galapagos Islands! Here you find a series of 18 volcanic islands renowned for the endemic species that call it home.
As you probably know, this is where Charles Darwin visited to form the basis of his Natural Selection theories. Right or wrong, these pristine islands are a treat for nature and animal lovers.
To see this for ourselves we embarked on an 8 day southern island live-aboard cruise, which is the best way to see the diversity the islands have to offer. On our cruise we would take in Baltra, Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Bartholomew, Santiago, South Plaza, Santa Fe, San Cristobal, Española, Floreana and North Seymour Islands. From the reviews, this was a very good selection of islands.
The Galapagos has a population of about 25,000 people spread over 5 populated islands, 2 with airports. They are actually one of only a handful of places in the world without an indigenous population. However the population has been steadily growing after 1500 people called it home in the mid 1950s.
Now before I get to the islands I wanted give a little background on the planning and experience as a whole because throughout our 8 days the days happily melded into a routine.
Everything in the Galapagos National Park is controlled. All of the many boats are all on a pre-determined schedule. What islands they visit, exact time schedules, landing sites, snorkeling slots, ect. Plus all of the boats must have a certified guide who leads all of the tours and activities making sure the visitors follow the rules while on land. Our guide was named Efrain. He was born on Santa Cruz and was our source of information throughout the trip.
Each morning we were up for sunrise just before 6:00am fully rested and ready for what the day had in store. A morning coffee welcomed in the day before the first mate on the boat rang the bell signaling the 6:30am breakfast in preparations for our 7am departure for a shore landing. After breakfast there were usually a excitement filled frantic few minutes as douse yourself in sunscreen, decide on your footwear (wet or dry landing), gather your things, hat and camera, then head to the back of the boat to hop in a dingy for the ride to the drop off point.
A couple hours later were were back on the boat for lunch and siesta in one of the shaded spots on the boat. The afternoon wasn't always the same. Some days you'd have time to do some swimming or snorkeling off the back of the boat. Around 3 or 4 the bell would ring again and it was time for another shore landing. As sunset approached, it was time to head back to shower up and enjoy the splendid views as the sun dropped below the horizon.
The final bell of the day signaled the evening briefing. We'd start by recapping the days amazing sights and sounds before Efrain would tell us the plan for the next day that stoke our adventure fire.
Finally, dinner was served before we all retired to bed. If we made it to 9:30pm it was a surprise. However there here was no need to fret though, all the days were rewarding and hitting the sack that early was a luxury. So, let's begin with the wonders of the Galapagos...
Day 1: Baltra And Santa Cruzs Bachas Beach.html
Day 2: Genovesa Island - El Barranco, Climbing Prince Phillip's Steps for Bird Watching AND
Genovesa Island, Darwin Bay - Say Hello to Sea Lions
Day 3: Bartolome & Santiago - Monster Views, Snorkeling and Lava
Day 4: Land Iguanas and Bachelor Sea Lions of South Plaza Island AND
Carpets of Sting Rays and Following Turtles on Santa Fe Island
Day 5: Morning Stop at San Cristobal, Kicker Rock - Snorkeling Surprise and An Afternoon at Lobos Island to Meet Blue-footed Boobies
Day 6: Beautiful and Colorful Española Island
Day 7: Floreana Island Flamingos and A visit to the Charles Darwin Station
Day 8: North Seymour Island