Discovering the Galapagos: The Landing.

By Posted in - Galapagos on May 23rd, 2013

There are approximately 750,000 seabirds in the Galapagos Islands.

My first official sighting was a brown pelican perched at the Baltra docks that stared me down like I was a 135 pound fish.

The road from Galapagos’ newest airport cuts through an arid landscape, rife with cacti, thick brush and lava rocks, ending some 15 minutes later at the ferry landing that connects Baltra to Santa Cruz via a small turquoise blue channel.

Once on land, we moved with the speed of the road again. Windows and door wide-open, the vans powder blue curtains fluttered in the wind as our group of 16 barreled across Isla Santa Cruz. I laid by head back against the vinyl seat and sunk in as the tropics smashed into my face.

Beat from the early wake up call out of Quito–5 a.m. to exact–I did my best to keep awake for the ride. In front of our shuttle van, the hot pavement spread out like a dark serpent, cutting through lush tropical brush. As my eyes finally gave way, I let my other senses take over, mainly my nose. These first smells of the Galapagos (the airport bus had its AC on) conjured up memories from childhood war games we played in the woods behind our suburban Pittsburgh homes.

Galapagos rain

And then the rain started. First, the drops dotted the windshield, but soon grew into a heavy rain that stayed with us as we boarded the dingy in Tortuga Bay and motored out to the Galapagos Odyssey, our home for the next six days during our cruise through the islands with Adventure Life. Along the way we passed exquisite sailboats, broke down vessels with heavy weight squatters that barked orders at us as we passed by, and countless other yachts that rocked in rhythm to the rolling swell.

Santa Cruz 5 sfb sm

Once we reached our yacht we didn’t stick around long. After a quick change and a brief meeting with our guide, Whitman Cox, we headed back to Santa Cruz. By the time we reached the port again, the rain had stopped and the sun began to break through the thick, charcoal clouds. For the next few hours we toured around the island visiting the Tortoise Sanctuary near the Darwin Center, where we saw Lonesome George’s all too lonesome stomping grounds.

Santa Cruz 6 sfb sm

Despite its resemblance to an aging tropics zoo, the sanctuary was a nice way to get acclimated to the Galapagos and its conservation efforts, while getting a sneak peek of these docile giants before witnessing them up-close in nature. Afterwards, we made our way back into the port passing through Galapagos’ biggest little city, before heading back to the Odyssey for dinner and some much needed rest.

That night as we laid in bed doing our best to flow with the rolling sea, we didn’t know exactly what the morning would bring except that our 7 a.m. excursion to Tintoreras couldn’t come soon enough.

This was a sneak peek into our time on Santa Cruz Island – stay tuned for a full photo essay next week about the island!

*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!

**While our travels to Ecuador were hosted by Adventure Life, our views and opinions are always our own.

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(3) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Red Hunt -

    May 23, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Nice intro to what it’s like arriving in the Galapagos…too bad about the rain, but at least it’s not a cold, icy rain! Can’t wait to see more of your photos from one of my favourite places…

  • Jacob Marlfoyle -

    June 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    I remember visiting Galapagos a few years ago. I did the island tour which was interesting and quite a lot of diverse things to see. I hope to go back some day.

  • Justin @ True Nomads -

    May 5, 2015 at 4:50 am

    I am so jealous of anyone that gets to go to Galapagos. Its very high on my bucket list. Did you get a chance to do any diving?