Our journey took us back in time to the islands of Galápagos that developed cut off from human influence for thousands of years. We took a 5 day cruise to see the the maximum of the local wildlife and flora. All in all we were amazed by the diversity of nature but the place seems to get too crowded with tourists and to turn into a money making machine.
The cruise we booked featured daily excursions guided by our local guide Carlos and all meals on board.
Day 1: After boarding our beautiful and luxurious catamaran we went to visit the giant Tortoises on San Cristobal island in the local breeding center.
Day 2 Espanola
After our first night on the ship we were slowly getting used to the movements of the sea. Our first excursion took us to the island of Espanola, where we encountered sea lions, sting rays and hawks on a beautiful white sand beach. The sea lions are comfortable around humans and well protected by the national park after being hunted in masses for their fur and fat.
Afterwards we had our first snorkel – unfortunately visibility was bad and the water freezing at 17c – but we still saw some playful sea lions.
In the afternoon we explored a different part of the island and saw marine iguanas – hundreds of them – albatross babies and adults, boobies and a variety of other local species. In just 2 hours walk we found animals and plants that only exist on this island.
After breakfast we headed to the island of Floreana. Since the 19h century you can deposit letters and postcards there. Earlier it was the whalers who picked up the mail,took it back home and delivered it to the recipients. Nowadays this is the tourists job. We also have a postcard to bring back to Switzerland and to deliver at the end of our stay.
Two German families moved to the island in the 1930s – a couple from Berlin and a family with children – and tried to live in this dry place as the only people on site. Later an eccentric Austrian lady arrived with her two lovers. After a series of mysterious unsolved murders only one couple remained on the island where they set up a hotel that is nowadays run by their descendants.
We explored part of the island on foot, our guide brought us down one of the many lava tunnels formed hundreds of years ago by the nowadays extinct volcanos. After the walk we had time to snorkel from the beach and we saw some sea turtles.
Later that day, after a relaxed lunch and some more snorkelling, we enjoyed the sunset from a beautiful white sand beach, where we spotted our first shark. The boat crew prepared a yummy bbq on the upper deck for us that night.
We navigated to the island of Santa Fe during the night – a very rough ride. Early in the morning we landed to have a beach to beach walk with sea lions and birds.
Afterwards we went for a longer snorkel in the bay where we got to see white tip sharks, Galápagos Sharks, sea lions, lots of fish and even birds diving to hunt. This exciting snorkel was finished off by a giant sea turtle who was hanging out in the bay.
We spent the afternoon sailing to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island to spend our last night.
Our last day had come and after breakfast we headed to the airport. On the way though we had a final surprise when we went to see highland tortoises. Massive in size they hang out in the higher and cooler parts of the island.