For a lot of reasons, we decided to combine a cruise of the Galapagos with a land visit. As a result, we will end up spending a week in the archipelago – three nights on the commercial hub of Santa Cruz, four nights on a 16-passenger sailing catamaran.
One of the biggest motivators to spend time on land was to see giant tortoises in the wild. We also wanted to check out the city of Puerto Ayora, which until the 1980s did not even have a paved street but now is bulging bars and restaurants, jewelry and artisan shops, and all manner of other temptations. Pto Ayora is also home to the Charles Darwin Foundation, which has been working for 60 years to preserve the environment in and around the Galapagos.
We started our one full touring day at the fish market, where a seal and pelicans begged for scraps from the fish mongers, and a bold iguana all but dove into the carcass of a shark to cadge breakfast.
After that, it was off to the Darwin Foundation, which dramatically illustrates the problem of plastics in the oceans with these visuals.
Then it was into a taxi to visit a couple of collapsed volcanoes, slog through a lava tunnel and, finally make the acquaintance of a more than a few tortoises, two of them mating. All we can say about that is that it is noisy, and tortoises are slow at everything they do!
We closed our land trip with dinner under the stars on restaurant row, a la Santa Cruz.
With our boat leaving shortly for the internet-less high seas, we have to make this one over and out. Tips from the Partout toolbox next time. Back in a few days with the aquatic part of our Galapagos adventure.
COMING SOON! Sailing in the Wake of Darwin