After a very nice night in a cool hotel room, we were up by 7 for breakfast. Our transport to the airport came at 7:30. Once at the airport, we checked in and found out our flight was delayed until 10:30.
The Galapagos Islands are made up of 19 islands and 42 isles or surfacing rocks. The archipeligo stretches over 174 miles from east to west. The equator passes right through the crater of Wolf volcano in the north of Isabela Island. Even though the equator passes through the islands, the climate is considered sub-tropical because of the ocean currents surrounding the islands.
We arrived on Baltra Island after a short one hour flight. Before the flight landed, all the carry-on luggage in the overhead bin was fumigated. Once we deplaned, we were directed across a path of artificial turf soaked with some kind of insecticide and disinfectant. Our luggage was unloaded, laid out in lines and fumigated before we could pick it up. We passed through customs and immigration where we had to pay a $100 entrance fee for each of us. We were also issued an ID card with our names, passport number and dates for entry and exit.
We then took a bus to the "canal." The canal is a small channel separating Baltra from the island of Santa Cruz Island. The bus took us to the landing on the Baltra side. We then loaded onto the ferry which took us across to Santa Cruz for $.80. On the Santa Cruz side we hired a taxi for transport to Puerto Ayora a 45 minute drive. All of the taxis in Santa Cruz were Chevrolet crew cab pick-ups. Puerto Ayora is the main tourist center of the island.
This pelican was preening itself along side of the ferry.
The landscape changed dramatically during our drive. Baltra is barren, arid desert with few scrubby bushes. As we approached the center of the island the landscape became very lush and fertile. It felt like a rain forest except there were no large trees. Since the islands are all volcanic, the layer of soil on top is very shallow. We passed farms with banana, mango, papaya and other tropical fruit trees. Homesteads had cows, goats, and horses as well.
When we reached Puerto Ayora, we checked into the hotel and met George and his family
for lunch. The hotel was nice. Towels folded cleverly and two pools to refresh in. It also had an air conditioner, which was nice as the temperature was near 100 with humidity.
This tortoise shell was in the lobby of the hotel. Amazingly huge.