Santa Cruz to San Cristobal Island


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Published: February 2nd 2013
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We awoke at daybreak again, stalked the elusive early morning cup of Nescafe, and decided to run out to Tortuga Bay again. The beach was as beautiful as ever , and we cooled off In the lagoon alongside the iguanas. Unfortunately checkout was at 11, and our ferry at 2, so we only stopped at another swimming hole, the Las Ninfas lagoon on the way back, and swam with the young local schoolchildren who were jumping in fully clothed in their uniforms.

We bid adieu to Santa Cruz Island, and boarded a small, hot and cramped boat which they call a ferry ($25). We popped some Dramamine and nibbled ginger candies in anticipation for what was warned a sure thing for seasickness. Despite the rough seas, engine fumes, and hot stuffy boat, we had a pleasant ride seeing numerous dolphins jumping completely airborne in our wake.

We arrived on San Cristobal Island at 430, and I found a hotel within my allotted 1 hour time frame imposed by Dennis, Hotel Northia ($17). Being the consummate bargain hunter, without restriction I could wander for quite some time trying to find the absolute best, and haggling for the least.

The waterfront of San Cristobal is absolutely charming, with a new boardwalk filled with hundreds of sea lions everywhere, on park benches, on a slide in the playground, on the beach, just everywhere. There are no firm restrictions on how close you can get, but to be courteous, you should give them a 6 foot berth. In some places this is impossible as they are blocking pathways just lounging on their back, bellies, and sides, just completely at ease being with the humans. In fact they almost seem to enjoy it as the entire rest of the island is uninhabited, yet they really seem to congregate in town.

The population of San Cristobal is only a few thousand, and the island surely has more of a small town feel than Santa Cruz, and attracts the surfer crowd due to some nice waves on its beaches. We quickly decided we liked this island more, even though we thoroughly enjoyed Santa Cruz. However as we settled in for the night, I realized my budget accommodation came with a large price, it was situated on the street side and we had to listen to a Spanish karaoke rendition of Gangam style on loop for over two hours blasting from speakers from the backs of pickup trucks rolling up and down the street. Come to find out it was Independence day for the Galapagos, it is election time, and there was a big soccer game airing; as Dennis said, “the perfect storm of South American b*llsh@t.”

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