Galapagos Islands Travelogue
Western Galapagos Island Cruise Part I
The Galapagos Islands represent a unique and diverse flora and fauna. Located approximately 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador, the harmony of nature and wildlife offers a breathtaking scenery. With the Catamaran Archipelago I we travelled the western Galapagos Islands and experienced the uniqueness of the archipelago with all our senses.
How do I get to the Galapagos Islands? Which of the 13 islands did we visit? Which extraordinary animals did we see? And what is particularly worth seeing?
How to get to the Galapagos Islands
At 6 in the morning we went to the airport to fly to the Galapagos Islands. The children were very happy and could not await it. Our last visit was six years ago and our youngest daughter only remembered the photos of her as a baby.
Although these are national flights, we were already at the airport two hours before departure. And the early arrival was worth it: In only 20 minutes we had registered at the INGALA counter and checked in.
The flight to Guayaquil takes about 30 minutes. At the stopover there passengers get off and board and after about 45 minutes we continue to the Galapagos island Baltra. From Guayaquil the flight takes another 1.5 hours. During this time you get a drink and a snack. But you can even take your own water with you on national flights.
We arrived to Baltra at about 11:20 am local time. The time difference amounts here to -1 hour in comparison with the Ecuadorian mainland.
Hotels on the island of Santa Cruz
Our German speaking guide picked us up at the airport and took the Lobito airport shuttle to the Itabaca Canal. From there we took the ferry and drove by car to the highlands. Here lies the boutique-hotel Semilla Verde, which we wanted to have a look at. On the property of the hotel it was possible to observe numerous giant turtles.
Everything was explained to us and we were served delicious coffee directly from there. Afterwards we drove for twenty minutes to Puerto Ayora. There we visited the hotels Fiesta, Deja Vu, Ikala and Galapagos Dreams.
The Yacht Archipel I
At 5 pm we were picked up from the harbour and boarded the catamaran Archipel I. We would spend the next five days on board. The catamaran archipelago I offers a lot of space and comfort, so that we felt comfortable on board from the beginning. And last but not least the spacious sun deck, the friendly crew and our great guide make the Catamaran Archipel I a fantastic option for Galapagos cruises!
Excursion to Tintoreras
The five-day cruise is a good alternative and offers many highlights! The first night we drove from 11 pm to about 5 am from Puerto Ayora to Puerto Villamil on the island of Isabela. The cruise ship takes much longer for the trip, as it sails with only 8 knots and is of course heavier.
At 6:30 in the morning our first excursion to the small island Tintoreras took place. It is located in front of the island Isabela and directly in front of the village Puerto Villamil. Right at the beginning some sea lizards and sea lions welcomed us and the first penguin swam in the water. In addition there were countless lava lizards and red lava crabs.
And we have even seen at least ten whitetip reef sharks. The approximately 1.50 m large sharks give the archipelago its name, because in Spanish they are called Tintoreras!
In the water between the islands we also discovered sea turtles. And on the way back to the catamaran by panga (rubber dinghy) three tiger rays about two meters tall accompanied us!
Snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands
At 8 am we came back to the ship and had a delicious breakfast. At 9 am the guests should try the wetsuits and the snorkeling equipment. We were lucky and there were also two suitable wetsuits for our two children including glasses, snorkel and fins. At 10 am we should go to Puerto Villamil and test the snorkeling equipment in the shallow water of the bay. Unfortunately there was hardly anything to see under water. After some time we were told that we were not allowed to stay in the bay because of the low tide. Alternatively we could go to the Concha de Perla, which was not normally planned for us.
The underwater world here was fantastic and apart from colourful fish, sea urchins and starfishes we swam with sea lions, sea turtles, sea iguanas and rays. It was unbelievable! For farewell a penguin presented herself on a lava rock and was not impressed even by two rubber dinghies. The animals all show the greatest possible relaxation in contact with their human observers, which is absolutely fascinating. The animals do not seem to feel disturbed because they have no natural enemies. Humans are a relatively new phenomenon in the evolution of the islands.
Are you thinking of visiting the Galapagos Islands yourself? But you don´t know yet how, what options there are and what else is important to know? Check out our page Galapagos Travel Tips!
We also give you further information on the islands in the second part of our Galapagos Cruise!