Day 9 of 68 — Galapagos Day 1 — Turtles

January 18, 2018 Paul Groves

The next morning we awoke in the city of Quayaquil, Ecuador. We didn’t spend any time there as we were off to the airport for our flight to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Our flight was 1-1/2 hours and we landed at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island. Other than the airport, there’s nothing on the island. The airport was used by the U.S. military during WWII but left after the end of the war. Concrete pads, and dirt roads are pretty much all that’s left. We took a local bus from the airport to the ferry landing and crossed to Santa Cruz Island where our hotel was located.

It was a 45 minute drive from the Ferry to our hotel but we made one stop along the way to see the famous Giant Galapagos turtles! By law, the turtles are free to roam anywhere they want on the island. It was strange to see them in such a forested/green region on the island. Apparently they roam the island eating as they go and only return to the beach for mating and laying eggs. We also saw a pretty yellow warbler.

After viewing the turtles, we took a small tour thru an old lava tunnel. The Galápagos Islands were all created by volcanism. These are not the explosive types of volcanos, rather, the lava flows from these volcanoes in a more gentle fashion. These tunnels were created by the flow of lava to the surface. It’s eerie walking thru one of these lava tunnels. These days they’re also home to bats. You can definitely smell them as you walk.

We made our way on to our hotel, Red Mangrove, in the city of Puerto Ayora. This is a typical tourist type of town with alternating restaurants, bars, and hotels along the beach front.

We were greeted at the hotel with bark of a sea lion on the wharf at the back of the hotel and a dozen Iguanas sleeping on the back deck. A great but tiring day.