Galapagos Islands: Day 1

Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal
The snow covered volcano is sunlit behind the clouds.
Neigboring mountains to Cotapaxi, the famous volcano.

Welcome to our journey to the Galapagos Islands!

Wait, wait, wait… Back up a second… We aren’t in the Galapagos Islands quite yet!

First, A Note on Quito 

Although we’re on our way to San Cristobal, we begin our travel tale in Quito, Ecuador. Why? Because, on our first date in 2003, my husband Tim & I learned that we shared an interesting experience. We were each in Quito during the riotous coup of January 21, 2000. We just didn’t know each other yet.

Tim was returning from ice-axing through the snow-covered mountains while I was an international flight attendant on a heated 24-hour layover. Neither of us thought we’d be able to leave.

Fast Forward 17 years…

To now see Cotapaxi, the sunlit, snow-covered volcano, during peaceful times is a special sight. We had planned to visit Ecuador together for our honeymoon, but it wasn’t until our 10 year anniversary that we made it happen. And what a journey it has been!

So, we’ve flown from New York to Florida to Guayaquil, a city that felt like a gateway of contrasts. The flat Amazon River met a hilly shoreline lined with tiny residential buildings as compared with the iconic Point Tower. This is Ecuador’s tallest building, dwarfing the Santa Ana lighthouse atop of the mount next to it. In the distance, wilderness dominates.

That wilderness is what we came to see. It would take one more flight, though. We’ve left New York 14 hours prior to this moment, and we have 45 more minutes to go. 

a view of Guayaquil from our landing plane.

Hello, San Cristobal!

We touched down at Aeropuerto San Cristobal where the runway starts and stops precariously at the water’s edge. There I stood with all my gear around me, camera around my neck, eager to start taking pictures. 

Unfortunately, painted on every terminal wall is a warning: Commercial photography is strictly forbidden without a prior approved permit. The permit costs roughly 2 thousand dollars and must be secured before landing. You can’t get it after the fact. Photographers, take note. Don’t be caught off guard like I was!

Ecoventura, our amazing touring company, bussed us to Puerto Baquerizo Morena, Capital of the Galapagos Province. We were first met with a shy and sleepy sea lion on on the marina rocks. There, 20 of us boarded 2 pangas that motored to the Letty, our home for the next 7 days. 

Followed by a flock of Frigate birds, we ran through an evacuation drill, had a bite to eat, and were introduced to (and made frenemies with) our wetsuits for the week. 

Tim searches the shoreline through binoculars.

Snorkel Anyone?

Ehausted by wrestling neoprene after nearly 15 hours of travel, I almost passed up our first opportunity to snorkel. We had 8 more chances to come, right?

Wrong answer. We’re in Paradise, the place where the world began. You don’t say no to the privelege of that experience. Ever. So, we repeated an oft spoken mantra… 

“We’ll sleep when we’re 50”
(In Tim’s case it’s now been edited to 60.)

Jumping into the frigid water was downright exhilerating. But nothing gets the blood flowing like being aproached by a giant sea turtle, a spotfin burfish, a sea lion, and schools of seargent majors. The minute we came up for air, Tim and I swore we’d never bow out of a single excursion ever again.

We took our GoPro to capture the experience and now you can join us, too. Just look at how massive and graceful that turtle is! It’s like mediation in motion.

Kim and Tim go deep.

And now we sleep like rocks.

Sharing a lovely meal with our crew, guides and 18 fellow passengers, we received a sea lion send-off from the back of our boat as we sailed into a gorgeous sunset.

It was time to tuck ourselves in under the soft light of the full moon and rock gently to sleep on oceanic swells. The hum of the Letty’s engine was the lullaby that took us to our next dream island visit.

Come with us!

Join the email list to keep tabs on our travels as we shift from arrival to adventure. Our next account tells tales of Blue-footed boobies, Nazca Boobies, penguins and a Hammerhead shark at the caldera of Genovesa (a.k.a. Tower Island)!

A sea lion jumped onto the back of our boat to say hello.

Touring Info:

Touring Company: Ecoventura
Boat: The Letty
Our Fabulous Guides: Billy and Ceci
Itinerary: Western Northern Route

Trip Details:

Time of Travel: June 19-26
Duration: 7 Nights
Islands Visited: San Cristobal, Genovesa, Santa Cruz, Fernandina, Isabela & Santiago

Image Info:

My Galapagos images featured on this blog, unfortunately, aren't for sale. This is due to restrictions by the governemnt of Ecuador. 

Be aware. If you travel to the Galapagos Islands and would like to make images to be sold, you must apply and pay for a permit before you arrive in the county.

Don't miss a minute of our Galapagos Islands adventure! 

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