A trip to the Galapagos Islands was on our wish list for our South America adventure, but we weren’t quite sure how it was going to work out. Turns out, it was easy. We had a recommendation for a hotel in Guayaquil (chief amenity — good motorcycle parking), and when we arrived, we found that they are also a travel agency booking last minute Galapagos trips. After an overview of our options, we picked a trip leaving in a few days. We flew out a day early, but that still gave us a few days in Guayaquil. We left our motorcycles and most of our gear at the hotel there, and we flew west.
Our trip was an 8 day, live-aboard boat trip. The boat could have 16 clients, but we had only 12 for about half the time and were full the rest. We did lots of walks on shore and about five snorkeling sessions. The water was cold but the sea life was so amazing that the water temperature could mostly be ignored.
The islands we visited were North Seymour, Santa Cruz, Floreana, Espanola, San Cristobal, Santa Fe, and South Plazas.
Here is a partial list of the animals we saw: giant tortoise, sea turtle, land iguana, marine iguana, sea lion, white tip shark, black tip shark, great blue heron, Galapagos hawk, blue-footed booby, Nazca booby, wave albatross, frigate birds, pelicans, penguin, oyster catchers, mocking birds, variety of finches, redbilled tropic birds, Galapagos shearwaters, sting rays, lava lizards, Sally Lightfoot crabs, Galapagos doves, yellow warblers. And lots and lots of fish in lots and lots of shapes and sizes.
The rule is that you are supposed to stay two meters away from any animals. That’s tricky sometimes when they are blocking the path. The animals seemed unconcerned about our human presence, and we really did have to pay attention to avoid stepping on one while trying to avoid another.