Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Leaving Ecuador, Galapagos Day 6: Santa Cruz Island, Darwin Research Center

On our last day in the Galapagos we took our last panga ride to a port town on Santa Cruz island. We were going to spend the morning at the Charles Darwin Research Center to see the giant tortoises.
A bus picked us up at the port...
then dropped us off to hike for about 15 minutes up to the research center.
This was a cemetery- I thought the white geometric walls with the flowers were interesting.
Bobby, mimicking a statue.
Once we got inside, we spent some time with the tortoises. It was so hard not to touch them, seriously, I'm 4 years old.
Awww, who's pretty??
I admit that I feel a bit cheated that they get about 200 years of life.
We saw the famous Lonesome George, who is apparently not as old (or as lonesome, wink!) as everyone thinks.
Then we checked out all the different corrals of baby tortoises. They were so tiny it was hard to imagine that they would grow into something so huge.
After the research center we hiked  back to our bus and then drove across the island to catch our flight back to mainland Ecuador.
We left from the same open air airport in Baltra. With a two hour wait, we had more time to hang out this time.
This was the view of the runway from the little cafe. People would watch the planes land and when they saw their land they'd gather their things and start to leave.
The cafe had free, and very slow, internet so we tried to upload some mid-trip pics while we waited. The flight back to Guayaquil was uneventful, although I was (not surprisingly) a bit anxious.
We were served meals on every.single.flight. of this trip- even on flights that were only an hour long- but unfortunately AeroGal gave us meaty-meat for lunch.When we landed in Guayaquil we had about an hour before our flight to Lima, so Bobby and I shared a pile of veggie fried rice. Please note that the soy sauce is labeled "Salsa China".
The flight from Guayaquil to Lima is only and hour and a half, but I wanted to cry the last half because I was totally planed out and the turbulence sucked. I took this picture during the first half of the flight, when it was smooth sailing and I was able to appreciate something like a great sunset. After that things went downhill, and I was so ready to be on solid ground.
Our hotel was right across the street from the airport, and we arrived hungry and tired. I tried to get a shot of the Incan decor, but it basically looks like sticks with random cloth in this picture, so maybe just ignore it. We ate and then fell into bed because we had an early morning flight to catch the next morning that would take us to Cusco to start the second part of our trip- Peru, specifically Machu Picchu.


  1. Amazing isn't it? I actually like Ecuador better than Peru, the Galapagos is definately amazing. I also think the service is great, people often complain about 3rd world countries but I'm always amazed at hotels, airports etc. Of course the poverty can be hard for some... my wife was shocked.

    Quick question about this trip, I know a trip like this one is probably close to $9,000 per person? how did you pay for it? just curious cuz I'm ready to go back LOL but I can't spend that much :(


  2. I was totally impressed with the service and the airports as well- coming back to America on a dingy American Airlines plane that was literally falling apart, then landing in Miami airport and being yelled at by rude TSA workers and being begrudgingly waited on at the airport food court was a slap in the face, haha. I was thinking "why can't we stay where the nice people live?" lol.

    As to the trip, it really depends on how you do it- I saw some cruises on vacationstogo.com that were like $3K for a week, but you had to buy your own airfare as well. We had a package deal and Bobby's parents generously took us and Bobby's sister and her husband along for family vacation, but it looks like it was a bit less than that per person for the Galapagos portion. I think the travel company was extra accommodating though, because of our other trip getting canceled.

    When Bobby and I travel out of the country again sometime later this year, we'll use savings that have been set aside for that purpose- neither of us use credit cards. We're not sure where we're going yet, but we have airline credits that have to be used by the end of 2011. We're looking into several different tour type trips, as well as solo piecemeal travel. I've never been on a trip like this one before, and I really enjoyed the new experience. You were right when you said that the Galapagos was amazing- it was unlike anywhere else I've ever been!