After cruising around the Galápagos Islands for 8 days with our best friends on the Archipel I, Dan and I accumulated some really great pictures from each day, island and activity that we did (minus the underwater stuff). Here is a brief outline of what each day’s and island’s activities consisted of and my favorite corresponding photos.
Day 1: San Cristobal – One of many, many tortoise breeding centers. The tortoises are kept here until they are about 8 years old and are released into the wild.
That’s our catamaran Archipel I waiting for us to the right.
Day 2: South Plazas & Santa Fe – South Plazas was an awesome start to our cruise. The landscape on the island was like nothing we’d seen before and was inhabited by tons of iguanas (see over my left shoulder on the cactus). The iguanas wait underneath the cactuses for food particles to fall off. This particular iguana proceeded to fall off of this cactus which surprised us all (mainly Bex).
The bay near Santa Fe was absolutely breathtaking. We took kayaks out for a spin, seeking out sealions, and then had an amazing time snorkeling seeing more sealions, turtles, and golden rays. On the island, we did a short hike seeing more iguanas and sealions.
We saw more manta rays and sea turtles on our panga ride back to the boat!
Day 3: Floreana – Near Floreana there is a smaller island called Champion Island, which is where we began the day in a panga, cruising around seeing our first blue footed boobies and more sea lions. We entered this awesome cove filled with sea lions that we were able to snorkel in later. This snorkeling experience was one of my favorites as we were able to swim with all of these sea lions. One even bit my flipper!
Later as we were cruising to the island of Floreana, these dolphins joined us right underneath the front netting of the catamaran.
The hike on Floreana had amazing views (and a weird back story told by our guide) and afterwards we were able to swim in a black, volcanic sand beach.
Day 4: Santa Cruz – Yep you guessed it, ANOTHER tortoise breeding center! (Actually we visited two this day).
Introduced Meg and Bex to these delicious popsicles called Coqueiros while we subsequently lost our group and had to get directions from some random lady.
We thankfully caught up with our group and hitched a ride (for about 2 minutes) to the starting point of Tortuga Bay aka the most beautiful white sand beach in the world.
The only good picture I snapped from the second tortoise breeding center.
Day 5: Isabela – Isabela is a huge, diverse island and therefore we spent the next three days exploring different parts of it. The first stop was on Tintorera Island (which means white tipped reef shark). On the way we saw pelicans and our first glimpse of Galapagos penguins!
After Tintorera, we came to Puerto Villamil to do some snorkeling. This part of the island was incredible as you can see below.
The snorkeling wasn’t great as the water was misleadingly murky. Here we are waiting way too long for our guide, Angel, to show back up.
Here is the place we were originally supposed to snorkel in. It was really cool as we were able to swim alongside marine iguanas and a bunch of cool fish.
Later on that day, we were promised flamingoes.. here they are.. on the way to our final tortoise breeding center.
We were able to enjoy a long walk on this beach at the end of the day and ended it with jumping off the top deck of our boat.
Day 6: Isabela – Our first stop was Punta Moreno. Punta Moreno made us all feel like we weren’t even on planet Earth any longer. The island is made completely out of black lava so there weren’t many animals (except for a few iguanas) but the landscape was again, out of this world.
This is the first time that we actually needed wetsuits for our snorkel excursion! This snorkel we saw tons of turtles, seals, fish, and our first flightless cormorants.
Our afternoon excursion was a panga ride through Elizabeth Bay. The water was so beautiful as we cruised through the mangroves. We saw some penguins and more pelicans diving for fish. We were also able to cruise out to this magical rock where we found blue footed boobies, cormorants, penguins, and iguanas all hanging out together. It’s so amazing how all of the animals just live together in harmony.
Day 7: Isabela & Fernandina – Our final excursion on Isabela ended in Targus Cove. We had a dry landing on shore and hiked up to a view point where we could see Darwin Lake (the green volcanic lake behind us).
Our whole group!
We hiked on further and came to this lookout.
The snorkeling in Targus cove was incredible! We were able to see penguins, more turtles, cormorants, and probably the coolest fish of the entire trip. We also saw a hammerhead shark (from the top deck of the boat thankfully).
On Fernandina, we only had one excursion. The island has beautiful clear blue water and thousands of black marine iguanas. It also holds the Iguana-tropolis. Sadly however, we saw an abundance of dead iguanas because of El Niño.
We ended the best trip ever and one of my favorite days of the trip with the spotting of two blue whales. The final animal we hadn’t seen yet.
Day 8: Baltra – I don’t have any pictures from this day because we basically disembarked from the boat to go to the airport and I think I was too depressed to try to take any more pictures.
This post barely scratches the surface of the experience we had in the Galapagos. How we felt, what we saw, how we saw it, etc. each day and on each island are almost too difficult to describe. However, I do want to try and share something that encapsulates what this experience meant to me and my friends. Stay tuned!