Santa Cruz (Galapagos) –
We set off for Isabela. We haven’t booked a hotel yet, but when I was there for the last time 7 years ago, some hotel owners welcomed us directly at the jetty and offered us their accommodations. This time we simply do the same.
There is some confusion at the port about where and with whom to check in. There are several speedboat companies and we have to find ours first. Our speedboat is the “Gabi”. In order to make sure that all passengers make it on the right boat, all free range tourists are baptized on “Gabi” and get a name tag. So we join the other Gabis and wait for the departure.
We sit on the small speedboat quite far back and to the outside, the ride will take 2.5 hours and I want to enjoy the view…in general I thought it was a good idea…so for half an hour. After that I reached the adequate soaking level to reconsider the whole thing as a stupid idea. With each wave water is splashing into my face .
After about 1 hour the obligatory vomit bags are handed out and those who are less used to ride with boats accept the offer very gratefully.
Isabela (Galapagos) –
Arriving on Isabela I notice that I probably sat on the wrong side. The gringo on the other side is dry as a bone and in a good mood… Damn.
On the jetty of Isabela, I look for the hotel owners… Nope. Nobody wants to convince us to stay overnight in his establishment. Well, then we first get a taxi to the village and look for a WIFI spot to find a hostel. Unfortunately this is not that easy. Thus we try it the old school way and ask directly in the hostels for a room. It seems almost everything is fully booked…What happened here ?
My mood, which was already moderate anyways due to the two-hour salt water shower, gets worse. Besides, I’m tired, I’m hungry… Yeah, I’ whining now… :.(
In the end we find a restaurant with WIFI, but hardly any affordable rooms. What happened to the cute little pensions on the beach for 15 USD the night that existed here the last time??? The guesthouses are still partly available, only now it feels like they have added a 0 to the price. WTF ! We finally find a guesthouse a little bit further up the island for 45 USD the night and decide to stay here for 2 nights.
So we search for a taxi… which takes a bit longer than on the other islands, but we finally arrive at the hotel “Cielo Azul” around 12. The host also organizes a tour to Las Tintoreras for us 45 USD (The tour was available for 25 USD in the past, but whatever). We have to do something nice today, otherwise the frustration will prevail.
The trip is a combination of snorkeling and hiking over the lava/coral rocks. Accompanied by a family from Chile, two Frenchmen and an Austrian in a really bad mood, the tour takes the boat past a penguin and three boobies resting in the sun to the first point on the programme.
We wander over the volcanic rocks and the corals that have bleached out for thousands of years while the guide explains a lot about the surroundings. Las Tintoreras, as the small archipelago is called, has its name from the local white tips sharks that can be seen swimming through the narrow lava gorges from above. The peninsula is quite impressive as there is an iguana kindergarten here. Hundreds of the really small water lizards are piling on top of each other in the sun. Very cute.
At the stop we get the chance to snorkel and encounter a few turtles and the rather shy and at noon anyway half asleep name-givers of the area. Unfortunately the visibility is not sooo good, therefore the snorkeling trip is just “okayish”. The mood of the Austrian gets so bad that he breaks off the tour and takes a water taxi back.
Isabela was very disappointing for him. I can somewhat understand the feeling. A few years ago Isabela was an insider tip, a relaxed island where you could make yourself comfortable as a backpacker. Cheaper than the two main islands with an incredibly chilly flair. This has changed dramatically. During a small walk later in the evening we also notice why. Along the long stretched sandy beach, many luxury apartments and hotels were newly built.
The prices are very high now, and it is rather more expensive than on the other islands. We have dinner in a restaurant near the main square. Afterwards I take a short nap.
In the evening we set off in search of a cool beverage on the beach. I can still remember a really cozy bar called Casa Rosada. It still exists, but has now become a bit more fancy. In former times there was only one fireplace with some stools around it. Now there are hammocks and beach chairs and even a tree house you can sit in.
Even here you can enjoy the Happy Hour. But this one is a bit more expensive here than on Santa Cruz. We order two Maracuja Mojitos for 12 USD and place ourselves in two comfortable hammocks. Mario would like to make milky way pictures, but unfortunately it is quite cloudy. So the Stormtroopers have to be used as models.
Unfortunately we don’t get a taxi for the way home… So we have to walk back. It’s not really that far afterall, but the neighborhood seems a bit creepy at night. Especially the numerous barking dogs make us feel uneasy. Nevertheless we manage to get safely to our hotel.