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Galápagos Islands

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Isabela Island: The Sea Lions Paradise

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Isabela Island is the sea lions paradise and also the largest of all the islands in the Galapagos. I spent one day there but I wish I had more time there because the encounters with the animals were just too good!

Let nature take its course

To visit certain parts of the island we needed an official guide from the Galapagos, something that is one of the rules from the Galapagos National Park. Another rule is the fact that you need to keep a distance from the animals, even when they want to touch you or they have a problem. An example of how hard this can be was when we arrive to the island and we saw a sea lion suffering and bleeding from a shark bite (something that is common) and we could not do anything.

In Isabela became one with nature

In this island there are not a lot of tourists and it’s nice to just ‘be one of the locals’. The fauna is beyond compare. We started our tour visiting the Tortoise Center and learned about the conservation challenges through the years and the importance of helping the turtles to grow strong so they can be release into the  wild later on their lives, something that also happens on Santa Cruz Island.

Then quick stop to see the Flamingos. ⤵️ They looked so relaxed! We headed for lunch and had a tasty seafood parrilla.

After that a wander around the beach and a small break for snorkeling. The sea lions are just everywhere, we cannot escape from them!


A diva Sea Lion ????

They play with you but are very territorial – you can only sit in their bench if they allow you to! ????
Sea lions own the island ❤️

We had a swim in here! The ocean temperature was very warm ????
The Galapagos Sea Lion have a population of about 50,000 within the islands

We were also crazy about the giant iguanas, just look at them!

Land iguanas can live for more than 50 years ‼️

 

Hope you liked my adventures in the Galapagos Islands as much as I did!

Isabela Island, Galapagos

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7 great things to do in Santa Cruz Island

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Santa Cruz Island, located at the center of the Galapagos archipelago, is the most popular among tourists because of its proximity to the airport on Baltra.

I stayed there for my time in the Galapagos and did day tours to the others islands. It was the best option as I had only 5 days there but if you are thinking of spending more time I’d definitely recommend staying on the other islands as well, all of them have something special to offer.

7 Great Things to do in Santa Cruz, Galapagos

We decided to book Hotel Ninfa to have a bit of rest as this was our final stop after 5 weeks travelling through South America. The hotel was great and in walking distance of all restaurants, shops and activities in Puerto Ayora.

Hotel Ninfa

There a lot of things to do in Santa Cruz, but I put together 7 things to do that I loved!

1⃣ Explore Puerto Ayora

Puerto Ayora is the port town to Santa Cruz and much like the rest of the Galapagos has animals everywhere. Sea lions, sea birds, iguanas, all just around you! It’s so cool! You can just walk around, enjoy the crowds and eat delicious seafood.

Eating delicious seafood ????

2⃣ Visit the Fish Market

This is something that it’s fantastic to do, not because of the fish but because of the animals around the fish!

3⃣ Spend some time in Charles Darwin Research Station

In a walking distance of about 15 minutes from Puerto Ayora we found the Charles Darwin Research Station that provides insight into the evolution of flora and fauna. They also explain some of the  conservation programs and education within the Galapagos.

4⃣ Visit the Tortoise Breeding Center

In here the tortoises are raised in safety until they are big enough to be released into the wild.

5⃣ Spend an afternoon in El Chato reserve

Giant tortoises walk free in here and it’s amazing to see them right up close to you.

 6⃣ Lava Tunnels

These tunnels were formed when surface lava cooled and solidified, while the underground hot lava continued to flow resulting in the end in a cave.

Entrance to the caves
Some very low parts!!

7⃣ Tortuga Bay

The trail to Tortuga Bay was not easy! 2.5 Km to go, 2.5 Km to come back and on the way there 1 hour walking under high temperature, made me very grumpy ????!! But once there I had no words, the beach it’s so beautiful and there was no one else there which made it very special ????!

Have you visited the Galapagos? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

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Discover Kicker Rock: Snorkelling in San Cristóbal

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Snorkelling in San Cristóbal

San Cristóbal is the fifth largest island of the Galapagos and the second most populated after Santa Cruz. I had great curiosity about this island because of the large number of sea lions.

Snorkeling in San Cristobal_Galapagos

After all, I went to visit the Galapagos to see the animals.

We departure from Santa Cruz early morning by boat and spent a full day in San Cristobal. The 2 hours boat ride was awful, I felt so sick… the ocean was really rough, still today just the idea gives me nightmares! All worth it in the end but I think if I ever go back I would definitely look in to going by a small plane between the main islands which is possible.

The trip cost us each 100$ and that included the boat trip, the snorkelling with all equipment and lunch. Again, like in all the other islands they are very worried about the introduction of foreign species to the ecosystem of the island so all bags are searched as you arrive to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

As soon as I arrived I was already seeing the sea lions. They just rest on the rocks along the coast and is lovely to see the sea lions families all together.

Discover Kicker Rock

Kicker Rock or León Dormido is a vertical tuff cone almost 148 meters out of the ocean. This was the result of an explosion from the boiling lava with cold ocean water. With time and erosion the rock divided in two parts with a very narrow channel in between (where we got to snorkel) and people say that the rock looks like a sleeping lion.

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Before we even got to dive in the cold waters (yes, very cold even with the swimsuit) I’d been able to see some gorgeous Blue-footed boobies birds sat on the cliff face of Kicker Rock.

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It felt so unreal after I put my snorkel mask and went under the water as there was so much variety of sea life down there. There were all different colours of fish and even some friendly sea lions that came to swim with us – which was so awesome! They kept swimming around us getting quite close sometimes and there was even a baby one which was super cute.

I also got to see manta rays, loads of sea turtles swimming happily and one little shark.

After snorkelling, we got lunch in the boat (best tuna steak of my life!) and went to Playa Lobos beach where normally there a lot of sea lions resting but because it was a bit cold that day they were not there. We got to enjoy two hours of sunbathing.

More to follow from the Galapagos Islands!

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Only in Galápagos – The amazing giant Tortoises

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Only in Galápagos!

The amazing giant Tortoises

The Galápagos Islands owe their name to these beautiful rare creatures because when explorers first arrive in the islands they were calling them galapago a Spanish word for saddle that resembles the form of their shells.

The Galápagos Giant Tortoises live only on these islands and are the largest tortoises in the world.

These precious animals almost got extinct in 2012 due to the increasing introduction of non-native animals into the islands like rats, goats, pigs eating their eggs and humans using them for food and oil. But thankfully the efforts done by the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation brought some hope and currently they are very well preserved and people are more educated about their importance with 14 species living in the islands.

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Reserva El Chato

Very impressive facts

  • They can survive without food or water up to 1 year
  • The oldest recorded tortoise had 152 years
  • They can reach up to 250 kg and grow to 1.5 meters tall
  • These tortoises are herbivorous and like to eat grass, cactus and fruits
  • 16 hours of their day is nap time
  • Their walking speed is 0.3 km/h

Visit to Reserva El Chato – Santa Cruz island

When I was younger I learned about this fantastic giant tortoise The Lonesome George, the islands most famous tortoise that lived for almost 100 years. So, as soon as I arrive in Santa Cruz island all I had in my mind was these giants’ tortoises as I was so curious to see them in real life!

We went up the island to Reserva El Chato which is a ranch with a very large area and the tortoises are free to walk in their natural environment but still protected from harm. As we were driving there we could already see some tortoises cuddling up with some cows – I was impressed already!

 

The admission fee to the ranch is 3$ and then you can just stay as much as you want. You can walk around the animals but always keep a distance of about 2 meters…remember you are in a protected area. I loved just sitting there and look at them…live goes slowly, appreciate the simple thing!

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A selfie with Carlos, my favourite!

 

 I loved this and the Galápagos Islands, more stories to come!

The tortoises in Galapagos

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