Welp, I just finished up my 8 day boating trip around the southern islands of the Galapagos and all I can say is OMG THAT WAS AWESOME! The combination of seeing extremely rare animals, living on a boat with 15 other crazy internationals, and just being able to say that I’ve been to the islands was incredible.
I don’t even know where to start describing my experience. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I waited until I arrived in Equador to book my cruise and was able to secure a last minute spot for hundreds of dollars less. And those saving were affirmed when I discussed pricing with some of the other international passengers. Keep in mind that these cruises are uber expensive and last minute spots are not guaranteed. I ended up paying under $2k for an 8 day cruise to 6 islands and my flight over. But other passengers paid hundreds if not a thousand dollars more when booking abroad. So if you can swing it, take the extra days from work and head to Quito or Baltra/Santa Cruz with some extra time to book.
After a smooth arrival to Baltra with what seemed like every geriatric traveller in the US & UK, I met my guide Johan at the airport and took a short bus to the boat. Now, if you haven’t taken the time to even look into the pricing of Galapagos boats, let me enlighten you, $2k is like chump change there. So that amount got me a first class ticket to the oldest boat in the water. But, I will say that this class of boat brought along with it a fantastically hilarious crew and even kookier passengers. So you can guess that not long after introductions, we became the misfits of the sea that poked fun at ourselves and the geriatric luxury yachts.
Once we set sail, the crew quickly whipped us into shape with a daily schedule enforced by the clanking of a huge bell before each activity and meal. The schedule typically consisted of breakfast at 7am, dinner at 6:30pm, 2 snorkeling trips and 2 land excursions. So needless to say, we were all exhausted at the end of each day. But the exhaustion was worth it because each island was different from the next and the wildlife was out of this world. Evidently the islands to the south are the oldest because the tectonic plates are shifting everything southeast, so the wildlife we saw were some of the oldest species and different from those in the north.
When looking back on our daily activities, I would definitely say that the snorkeling and sea animals outshone those on land. I mean, getting to snorkel with a groups of penguins, sea lions and hammerhead sharks pretty much took the cake. But of course the blue footed boobies were in a class all their own. Definitely my favorite bird with it’s goofy look and fascinating mating habit.
Aside from the animals, getting to know and spend copious amounts of time with my fellow passengers was very enjoyable. I was the only American on the boat, so you can only guess how much fun the others had at quizzing me on my views of American issues. Low pay for teachers and healthcare were popular topics. But aside from the serious stuff we all had a good time poking fun at the one Brit on board that somehow managed to break or lose something everyday of the trip. Whether it be dropping her expensive camera in the water, losing her watch or just saying ridiculous things about life in the UK, she definitely kept us laughing. In total, we had 3 Germans, 1 Brit, 4 French Canadians, 2 Danish and 3 Swiss passengers. Quite an interesting bunch!
Altogether,(in case you haven’t guessed already) my detour to the Galapagos was well worth every penny. The natural beauty and youth of the islands was something very special to experience. So, go book your trip now!