Chilling with tunes on the best beach in Ecuador

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Hostel San Francisco

Flag of Ecuador  , Galapagos Islands,
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I woke before the alarm went off at about 4:40 the laptop was on and Erica was awake, you're confused.. well so was I Erica was awake, when asked what she was doing she replied "the blog", it turned out the presence of mosquito’s had got her that worried she would be eaten alive that she opted for the stay awake and hide under a sheet method, (I would always go with the mosquito repellent and a fan (not to mention keeping the door shut with the light on but those arguments have already been had), but each to their own. It transpired she had managed about an hour but been bitten senseless while she was asleep. By 5:00 the light was on and we were waiting for the mighty Lauro to get up who I’m sure had promised to get us a taxi for 05:30, about 3 minutes later he walked past the window and our curtain that covered about half the window (there is a story there but I’m not going there), he gave us a “hola” and a 30 minute warning, I have no idea what time he had been out since. Fair play to Lauro not only did we seem to have his spare room he came up trumps with everything, if you go to Isabela fight through the hostel and hotel owners (all 5 of them) and look for a small rotund recluse that doesn’t approach anyone and looks like a South American Member of the Nazi Party, he’s your man, he is a nice bloke and isn’t a Nazi.

We got to the port and it was still pitch black, we went through the baggage check (don’t think we mentioned but every time you get the boat / ferry (they call it a ferry but it’s a speed boat) you have to get your bag searched to prevent spread of disease through food or introducing new species, also rather annoyingly (but I suppose fair enough) a 'leaving tax’ of $5 per head. In the pitch black we navigated our way down the jetty and found our boat and were told to stand in a line while the crew..... slept. After about 15 minutes of waiting the crew woke again thanks to an army official, we were not on the list and typical me I started to panic, no need though they looked at our receipt and just threw us on another boat with 2 English folk and 4 Japanese people. The Japanese have that Asian knack of being able to sleep anywhere and despite the high speeds and hitting waves head on with 400 HP at full whack we definitely were not for sleeping. The two hour boat journey passed quickly to be fair with a glorious sun rise and a huge school of dolphins leaping very high out of the water, another amazing Galapagos sight. The other English couple was a bloke form Leek who recognised a Northern accent and instantly wanted to chat, they had just finished an 8 day cruise on a first class premier boat, they got $2000 off but wouldn’t tell us how much it cost, I can guarantee it was out of our price range though, even with $2000 off. Having travelled extensively through Europe, Africa and Asia, and just commencing a 3 year round the world tour (with 1 year working in Australia) to top up money between South America and Asia, they rated their Galapagos Cruise as one of the top 3 things they have ever done in their lives. Wow we still fail to meet people who are disappointed with the Galapagos (or the Enchanted Isles as they used to be known). Despite our initial negativity with the town in Isabela we left and even realised we would miss the town.

We landed in Santa Cruise at 8am, quickly grabbed our luggage and ran to the travel agency to try and ensure we got a place on the San Cristobal ferry which was due to leave at 2pm, we were the only names on the list, this was definitely a “go, go, go” wasted. We headed off for a coffee (i.e. some wifi but after ordering $2 of coffee found that the Wifi for the whole island was down ... I hate that I really bloody hate that, it makes me furious. So no blog update I’m afraid Amigos.

Despite Erica’s protests I decide to go to the fish market and see what was going on, it was a great sight there was lots of tuna being skinned and filleted and the guy doing it was being attacked by Pelicans and had a seal lay on his foot all trying to grab the scraps. Very entertaining (from a tourist viewpoint but I bet it isn’t from a locals viewpoint). Again checking our stats from the latest guide book Puerto Ayora has 18,000 people which is just the kind of town you don’t expect to be in the Galapagos so there are quite a lot of people to feed and the staple food is fish.

Erica was by now tired and a bit grumpy so she was full of joy when I decided she was coming with me either on a snorkelling trip (which involved a one way water taxi and jumping over the edge while the taxi disappears, or alternatively doing the one hour walk to Tortega Bay (Turtle Beach). Despite an hour of complaints even Erica was won over by the end, Tortega Bay is on none of the cruise schedules and some argue is ‘THE’ best beach in South America, wow a big claim with Brazil and the Caribbean coast getting most of the plaudits. It is said to be the best in Equador without doubt. What we liked was the sand, the breeze, the animals and the fact the beach was practically deserted. This gave us the opportunity to do what we rarely can do and put the tunes on our little speaker and watch some animals.

Despite trying to distract Erica from the hot and breezeless walk back, it didn’t work and she wasn’t in the best of moods. By the time we got back she was overjoyed by the prospect to “wake up and see what the Rock is cooking”, i.e. the new bar in town the rock for lunch, I had the only cheap option of burger and chips while Erica had .... Ice cream with caramel and nuts, mmmm filling.  Disappointingly Wifi was still down on the island and no update on the blog. At this rate we may even have our waterproof camera pictures developed by this rate.  By the time we finished it was a quick walk to pick up the bags we left at the agency and got ready for the ferry / speedboat to San Cristobal right out in the east of the Galapagos, and the only other island on the cheap ferry routes. We got on a water taxi with some other passengers and two bikes, one of which was a little girls pink Barbie bike. Despite our initial concerns this took us to another boat which unlike all other boats had seats facing forwards and backwards inside a cabin, it was very hot and as soon as we set off very, very rough. I like to think I’m a bit of a sea dog but even I was nearly ‘vommin’ into the sick bags handed round before we started, without windows or visability of the sea it felt like we were going over at times. I nearly gave myself a black eye trying to go to sleep on my hands, not even the locals could sleep.... but one person could, lady E put her face on her life jacket and didn’t even wake as her head lifted up then pounded back down into the life jacket, boy she must have been tired.  Erica edit:  I was, I had just been the victim of a mosquito massacre and had put myself on midnight watch for the rest of the buggers coming to get me.

After two hours we arrived in San Cristobel to a pier with huge Sea lions everywhere, we were given our bags and after turning down the offer of ‘spare rooms’ at the pier we settled on the Hostal San Francisco which with sea facing rooms negotiated for $30 for both of us for two nights we were happy with. The town made the best first impression of any of the islands yet with a harbour wall walkway with sea lions all over it simply mingling and walking with the people (clearly important members of society). A few bars made it ideal for us and we soon settled on a bar which had large beers and wifi...... or so we thought, wifi was down still.... ARRRGGGGHHHH. Isn’t it funny at no other time travelling have I ever even used wifi 11 months into this trip we get frustrated when it’s down.

We did a tour of the agents to try and get a snorkelling trip to Kicker Rock tomorrow, this is the spot in the Galapagos (that we can get to anyway) for seeing Hammerhead Sharks, we still don’t know if it is on for tomorrow or not, we only have two days before we need to head back to Santa Cruz (a bit of a faux par on my behalf as you can fly out of Cristobel but it wouldn’t have been as cheap!).
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