The Land of Darwin

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.

The welcoming committee.

The fishermen in Porto Ayora have extra hazards to work around while cleaning their fish.

Frigate birds were everywhere. This male is advertising for a mate.

A land iguana leading the charge.

Giant tortoises at the breeding center.

Sally Lightfoot crab.

Clearly a professional model.

Nazca booby.

Time to relax.

High drama! The frigate bird (in the air) is stealing a fish out of the mouth (literally) of a juvenile blue footed booby while the parent booby helplessly watches its hard work fishing disappear down the gullet of the the thief.

The group taking in the view. In a month, all those "dead" trees will be green.

Our boat off the coast of South Plaza island.

Lots of sea turtles in the mangroves.

Land iguana

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3 Responses to The Land of Darwin

  1. Jane says:

    Great memories…I went in 90 with my folks on a small boat….marine iguanas penguins
    Hiking a
    Volcano in the middle
    Of the night , meeting the woman on Floreana who moved there forever ago swimming with sea lions what a magical place!!!

  2. Love the post. We would really appreciate to have the name of the hotel you used and the tour company that took you to the islands? We are headed that way in the next year on bikes ourselves.


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