Christina, our Latin America expert, has travelled extensively in the Latin American countries. Fortunately, she can still be surprised. Read about her visit to the Galapagos Islands in May 2019 below.
I’m lying with my hands cradling my neck, looking up into the deep blue sky. A flock of 5 or 6 frigate birds are hovering above my head. They’re using the boat’s slipstream to cadge a free lift over the sea. The sound of the waves and the humming of the engine has a nice, relaxing effect on me. This is Galapagos!
Where to start? Coming to Galapagos has always been a big dream of mine. To experience such unique wildlife must be out of this world. But as I land at the airport on the island of Baltra and see the desolate volcanic landscape, I think, oh no, I hope I won’t be disappointed.
But such thoughts quickly dissipate. Our first excursion was to Hacienda Primicias, where giant Galapagos tortoises live in the wild. The tortoises can live to the age of 150 and weigh more than 200 kg. They spend most of the day eating as it takes 20–25 kg of food to fill such a giant tortoise.
We sail overnight from the main island of Santa Cruz to Isabela Island, the largest island in the Galapagos Archipelago. At sunrise, we sail in small, motorised rubber dinghies to the small Tintoras islands, stopping on the way to look at pelicans, penguins and the lovely blue-footed boobies. As we are going ashore, we are met by a barking sea lion. We walk along a small path of volcanic rock to the small channel, where more than 20 white-tipped reef sharks lie sleeping. We also enjoy our first encounter with the dragon-like sea iguanas, which are lying in a big pile, sunbathing on the rocks. The sea iguanas became my favourite animal (if you absolutely have to choose one 😉).
After the visit to Tintoreras, we put on our snorkelling gear and jump into the warm sea water. Life beneath the waves is every bit as exciting as above. I swam with a flock of penguins, curious sea lions and a huge sea turtle. Wow! What an experience!
Back on the boat, the bell rings to signal that it’s time for breakfast. I already feel as if I’ve seen more wildlife than I could ever have dreamed of before I left, and it’s only 8.30 am on my second day on Galapagos. I can’t wait to see what the next few days will bring.