Last month, I headed south and set foot on the Galapagos archipelago, the most unique and enchanting islands known to wildlife and geology enthusiasts. On my own and with no plans except my first night in a hotel, I took each day as it came… and how rewarding it was. This is my first post of the Galapagos series. I arrived in the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island and took a morning stroll down to the port, a hub for water taxis and the boats that collect and drop off adventure- and wildlife-seeking passengers.
And just across the street from my hotel in the middle of town was this fish market that could have kept me entertained for a whole afternoon. Just as customers flock to it, so too does the local wildlife. Like canines waiting at your feet under the dinner table, sea lions beg for scraps while pelicans steal the fish right behind the backs of the men! True comic relief that only the Galapagos can deliver.
It’s a long walk from town (even longer in the unforgivable heat and humidity), but you can see why Tortuga Bay is worth it. A beach so pristine, Mexico and Cuba pale in comparison.
This is also where you can slip into the same waters as marine iguanas (more on them in an upcoming post) and baby Galapagos sharks!
A visit can’t be made to the Galapagos Islands without the privilege of meeting the intriguing reptiles that gave the islands their name. Just about a half-hour drive from Puerto Ayora is Rancho Primicias where giant tortoises roam, graze and sunbathe in the semi-wild. I fell in love. One of my regrets is not making it here sooner to meet the famous and iconic Lonesome George. His death last year hastened the sad demise of the Pinta species and reduced the number of giant tortoise species to 10. Today, they’re endangered and, thankfully, fiercely protected. Giant tortoises can be found in the wild only here and in the Seychelles, so I was overcome with deep reverence when I finally came face to face with them.
Santa Cruz Island was just the beginning. There was so much more to come on my boat cruise through the Galapagos archipelago.