The Galapagos Islands, Part 7 of the Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru Tour

I can’t remember a time when I was more excited about a non-life-changing event than I was on the morning we left for the Galapagos Islands. Births and weddings of course have long lasting implications that change entire futures, but visiting a new place? But it was not just that it was a new place. This was to be the adventure that would be unlike anything that I or anyone I knew had experienced before– something I had only dreamed of.

Our luggage was inspected thoroughly before we got onto the plane. Because the Ecuadorians are concerned that the Galapagos Islands remain a living laboratory, as untainted as possible by civilization, there is always concern that people might be bringing things that will destroy the unique ecology of each of the islands. For that reason, no plants, or seeds can enter the islands. Similarly, when we travel from the Islands to the boat, the bottoms of our shoes are washed off before we enter the boat so that we will not transport seeds from one island to another.

We flew from Quito to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and then on to the Galapagos Islands. Before we landed, the interior of the plane was sprayed.

The first thing we saw when we landed at the airport in Baltra was this tree.

Galapagos cactus

Galapagos cactus

We thought it looked unique. It seems to grow quite profusely in the Galapagos Islands.

The archipelago consists of 15 main islands, 3 smaller islands and over 100 rocks and outcroppings. Once we had claimed our luggage, we went by bus and ferry and bus to the ship’s landing in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is one of the 5 islands that are inhabited by humans.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

From there we walked along the pier. I thought that we would see our ship, a small cruise ship that takes a maximum of 100 passengers.

The pier

The pier

It was raining and happily, it was the only rain we experienced during our visit there.

What I didn’t anticipate was our mode of transportation to the cruise ship and subsequently to each island. The islands are to remain unspoiled and so large ships do not dock near them, but stay removed from them so as not to pollute or to carry anything that might upset the ecology of the islands. So it was like this that we reached our ship.

The dinghies

The dinghies

And here is a picture of the ship

The Galapagos Legend

The Galapagos Legend

Once settled in, all of us were ready for our first big adventure. Late in the afternoon, we set out on our dinghies to visit the Darwin Research Station.

Imagine our surprise when we came upon a whole welcoming committee of marine iguanas who graciously posed for pictures!

Marine iguana

Marine iguana

and friend

and friend

The Marine Iguana is the world’s only sea-going lizard and is found only on the Galapagos Islands. We found them fascinating. We almost forgot that they were not what we were there to see. The Darwin Station is most concerned with the giant tortoises. You’ll see them next time…

Comments

  1. Hello,

    Great Blog, I run asmall travel agency in Quito. Normally, we cater to backpackers but sometimes we have the odd request for more luxurious ships. From a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the legend? cheers, Paul

  2. I have been on the Legend twice in the last 6 months and will return there in another month. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, I would rate it a 10. The service is wonderful, it is clean and pretty and the staff is highly professional. Our travelers have also loved it!

  3. Spot on with this write-up.

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