Galapagos Recap

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Visiting the Galapagos Islands is a once in a lifetime, life changing, other worldly experience!! We were so lucky to be able to travel to the Galapagos for one week during the summer, but we wished we could have stayed at least two more weeks. Here's a recap of what we did, wish we had done, and what we would skip next time: 

Stay- we stayed at Hotel Santa Fe , would DEFINITELY stay there again. They have a delicious breakfast every morning, and our room was very clean and comfortable. I wanted to bring the shower head home in my suitcase... the water pressure was insane, I was so excited to shower every day when we got home!  This hotel is one of the nicer ones on the main island (Fernandina) and is easy walking distance to all the restaurants and  the pier. I suggest not spending all your money on your hotel in the Galapagos, because it truly is only a place to sleep (and take amazing water pressured showers) as you will spend your whole day exploring! That being said... all the locals told us about the Royal Palm Hotel, where Leo DiCaprio, Princess Diana, and Harrison Ford all stayed--tempting...

Do- We spent one day doing a full day excursion to Bartolom√© Island. During this excursion, you travel to the island on a yacht, where you are served breakfast and lunch (fresh caught tuna). We did a hike to the top of the island to see the amazing blue water view you see below. Then about an hour of snorkeling, lunch, and return to the main island. During this snorkeling trip, we saw lots of beautiful fish, sea turtles, and sea horses. I also had a marine iguana (see pic below) dive right in front of my face which was terrifying- this is one of the many species that only lives in the Galapagos! 

These guys are EVERYWHERE, including swimming in the water! Eek! 

We also spent a day having a taxi drive us to parts of the island that we couldn't see walking, such as these caves that are formed by lava.


And these craters that are also formed by lava bubbles popping. According to our guide, top researchers in these fields of science travel to the Galapagos to try to measure the depth and no one has ever been able to measure all the way to the bottom.... crazy!!! The crater in the picture above  is not as deep (although the greenery you see on the bottom is actually super tall trees, so it's deeper than it looks), but there were craters that looked endless. We also visited this beautiful beach that has flamingo lagoons. Unfortunately, the flamingos were not there because there was an earthquake in Ecuador that week. 

Last stop, we went to a ranch to see the giant tortoises living in the wild (another species only native to Galapagos)! Fun horseback ride seeing these 700 pound giants everywhere. The horses just walk around them, as they are accustomed to seeing them, it was WILD! 

On our last day, we went on another tour (half-day this time) in a smaller, utility type boat. The whole time we were in Ecuador I was dying to swim with the sea lions, and we had signed up with this tour because that was supposed to be part of it. We finished the snorkeling part of the tour, no sea lions :( I told the tour guide how much I wanted to swim with the lobos marinas, and the he told me to stay on the boat at the next stop of the tour. So, he takes us to a ship wreck and told me we were going to swim with the sea lions (yay!) - as we are getting ready to jump off the boat, he mentioned we were going to see sharks first....... and basically pushed me off into the water! We immediately saw a huge group of sharks at the bottom of the ship wreck. Looking back, it was SO awesome but in the moment I literally could not move, my body felt frozen!! The tour guide was awesome and pushed me through the water the whole time. After that, he did take me to swim with the sea lions and my trip felt complete!! Here's my besties:

Eat- Please, please, whatever you do, go eat at La Garapata, order a coconut juice for me, and ask Diego (the waiter) to tell you about how he got attacked by a shark. Also, the main street of the island shuts down every night and they put out tables in the street. The restaurants all line this street so you just walk around and pick where you want to eat and sit out in the middle of the street.  It's a really fun experience with amazinggg food. Note: You cannot drink ANYTHING in the Galapagos that is not from a bottle, except maybe in a really nice restaurant (at your own risk). We risked it several times for La Garapata's coco juices, but other than that we didn't even use the tap water to brush our teeth. 

There is soo much more I want to write about the Galapagos, I may have to do another post!

Love, Bailey

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