Day 3 - I Like Turtles

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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Puerto Ayora
June 13th 2019
Published: June 14th 2019
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Our day started off early with lots of travel ahead of us. We were up, ready and fed by 6:50 when Ramiro picked us up and took us to the airport. Traffic was pretty brutal but we made good time. And just like in the states, by the time we got to our gate, the flight was delayed. It wasn’t as bad as when we left Houston, only an hour late.

We flew from Quito into Santa Cruz Island which is the most populated island We deplaned and made our way through their customs and had to pay $100 each to get into the Galapagos. It was fast and painless. Waiting for our luggage wasn’t as bad as it could have been either, plus we had great entertainment. Some dude had on quite the disarray of clothing, that one would think he was European, but no, we have American. The guy sported a weak-ass mullet, porn-stache, short adidas soccer shorts, sleeveless t-shirt and . . . wait for it. . . an ascot!!! We tried in vain to get pictures of this dude, but we failed miserably.

We met our guide, Jorge, who is a sweet, short man with tons of knowledge. He took us to our shuttle bus that would deliver us to the ferry to the populated part of the island. Our transportation was well-organized and efficient. Two things that we have come to appreciate in our travels. From the ferry we were on an other bus with just the 2 of us to our first stop: turtles, turtles, and more turtles, and lunch. By this point we are seeing groups of 20+ get herded around and are very appreciative we are on a private tour.

The island is 97% national park and 3% private. Ironically the turtle farm was private. We were able to walk the grounds of the turtle farm and walk past more than we thought we would encounter. They range in age from 5 years old to over 100 years old. We could come within 4-5 feet of the turtles. When you get too close, the turtles retract their heads and then start hissing. It was pretty cool watching them slowly walk the grounds and eat the vegetation. We took way too many pictures of turtles, so sorry if we share way too many photos.

Lunch was provided at the farm and it was a typical meal of Ecuador: chicken, vegetables and a backed potato. From lunch it was back in the bus to drop our stuff off at the hotel and then walk over to the Charles Darwin Research Center. Our hotel is a newer one on the island and only two years old. The Galapagos Islands limit the number of tourists who visit by limiting hotels and boats to the islands. They don’t allow for any upscale, high-rise, or 5-start chains to come in and ruin the place. Jorge said they average about 200,000 visitors/year.

We walked from our hotel to the research center and walked the grounds for about an hour. We encountered more turtles, lots of birds and even one large land iguana. Our on walk around the park, we even taught Jorge about the animal that is endemic to America: the Urban Cougar. We believe that Jorge, too, struggles to understand our humor. Jorge and the park were very informative about all things Charles Darwin and the animals to the islands. It’s hot and humid and now even though we over-packed, we might not have brought the right clothing for the islands. But we will make due with what we have.

We headed back to the hotel and Kirsten took a power nap while Chester read her book. As Many of you know when we travel we like to get pampered and we do our best to find a place for massages. The island did not disappoint. We were able to get two at a cheap place around the corner! They were good and who knows, we may even go back. Don’t judge us, we are on vacation. The town of Porto Ayora is a cute little town with lots of places to eat. We have a relaxing dinner of sword fish and a few bears and ready to call it an early night. We have another early morning tomorrow heading out on a boat.

Dinner was very good and the service was great. We chowed on garlic shrimp, swordfish and vegetables and of course did not pass up dessert. For our first day on the islands, it was good! We are excited for the rest of our adventures to unfold this week.

Additional photos below
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14th June 2019

Sounds like a great place!!
14th June 2019

unusual foods
I must try the swordfish/bear combination! As always, I am envious of your travel experiences and I'm not a person who feels much envy. :-)

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