Budget Tours Expert Insight Independent Safety Tips Tips n Tricks Uncategorized

Galapagos – Santa Cruz

Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz

The Galapagos Islands are probably the most famous wildlife-watching destination in the world. And no wonder – it’s almost impossible to exaggerate the sheer spectacle of the place that provided inspiration for Charles Darwin’s ground-breaking theory of natural selection.

If there is one place on earth that you should absolutely go at least one time in your life is definitely, the Galapagos Islands. It should be in your bucket list without a doubt. I remember when I was a child watching National Geographic and being astonished of that incredible beautiful Islands of Galapagos and I promised myself that one day I’ll travel there.

Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz

I heard about the Galapagos in the context of Darwin’s research and theory conducted on the different islands allowing him to compare the differences of evolution of species.

When I arrived at the airport of Baltra, there is a bus to take for around 5-10 minutes and then a boat to pass the channel between Baltra and Santa Cruz (2 minutes). The first thing that surprised me is that there is only one road linking the North part of the Island to Puerto Ayora which is the town where people live. The reason for this one road is that the rest of the entire island is a protected area where no alteration of humans can be done.

My first visit in Santa Cruz was the world’s top 10 most beautiful beaches, Tortuga Bay. In order to arrive there, you need to walk for 40 minutes in order to arrive to the actual beach. Alongside the walk, you can enjoy Santa Cruz flora with big cacti, different type of trees such as Mangroves, Palo Santo. The beach was absolutely stunning, the sand was white and the water, crystal clear. When you start walking toward the bay, you can admire Marine Iguanas taking a nap under the shadows of Mangrove trees. I enjoyed my day at the beach, swam in the sea, did some snorkeling and relaxed.

Sea turtle - Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz

In the evenings, there are always great things to do. There are many great restaurants, bars where you can have a drink. Or just walk around and shop.

The next activity I did on the island, was the Bahia Tour (or Bay tour), which takes you on a boat to discover Santa Cruz bay and the surroundings. It was me and an Ecuadorian family very excited as well for this day trip! While waiting for the boat to arrive, we all took pictures of the relaxed sea lions laying on the benches at the port. With the boat we managed to close enough to take pictures of the famous blue footed boobies! They were magnificent! We went to Las Grietas which are caves where you can enjoy a swim and the crystal clear water, to some snorkeling and refresh yourself. After that we went to do snorkeling in a place where there are an abundance of sea turtles and sea lions. The experience was incredible! Right before the sunset, we went to the “Playa de los perros”, where you can see a reef of sharks. We then enjoyed the sunset on the boat on the way back to the port.

In Santa Cruz, there also the highlands worthwhile visiting. It not only gives you an amazing view from the entire island, but as it is a little cooler and more humid: the land is home to the famous Giant Tortoises. There are ranches you can visit where you can enjoy the natural habitat of these Tortoises and a guide will tell you the story of those beautiful creatures. In the afternoon, the tour continued to the Garrapatero beach, which is a rather small white sand beach. I did kayak for more than an hour exploring the bays, where it is forbidden for humans to access by feet those places as it a protected area.

I decided to visit the largest island of the Galapagos, Isabela Island. After a 2-hour trip by boat, I had the impression to be in a postal card view. The colors of the water were unreal! Together with the group, we visited the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where they explained to use the process of breeding and their conservation and preservation efforts. We then visited a lake with Flamingos, that decided to start living there instead migrating every winter. At the end of the day we enjoyed snorkeling in a bay, it was beautiful. Next time I go back, I’ll visit the spectacular volcano and Las Grietas where is one of the best places in the Galapagos to snorkel.

Another activity that you can’t miss is the Darwin Center! Together with the guided group, we walked around and got a better insight on Darwin’s theory and what kind of species he was comparing. In the center, there are some rare species they desperately try to preserve. In the afternoon, we enjoyed snorkeling around on a beach in the actual center.

Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz

I got the chance to be part of the Pinson tour. It’s a chance because there is only one boat per day with 10 people maximum that gets the opportunity to do the tour. It means that for the entire day, you won’t see any other boat on your trajectory, and you’ll be the only ones enjoying the different islands you visit. This day, I got the chance to swim with sea lions, penguins, and turtles. It was absolutely fantastic! We did a beach landing and got free time to enjoy the beach where there were only us. We could see on the sand the pathways of the sea turtles going in the land to set up their nests.

My last experience, was scuba diving. I didn’t have my license so I did a discovery day where we had instructors showing everything you need to know and assist you constantly. The day was absolutely perfect. We went first for scuba diving in North Seymour and then scuba dived for 45 minutes. The water was crystal clear and the visibility was incredible! We swam with white-tipped sharks, beautiful fish, turtles. We saw Batoidea, commonly known as Rays. There are such beautiful creators and the expert eyes of our guides were needed in order to find them.

Galapagos, Santa Cruz - Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz

Budget Tours Expert Insight Independent Safety Tips Uncategorized

Galapagos islands

Galapagos Islands Ecuador

Me and Simon have visited one of the world’sGalapagos Islands Ecuador most amazing places, Galapagos Islands Ecuador. We flew to the airport Baltra, which is close to the island Santa Cruz where we stayed. There is a shuttle bus taking you to the port and from there it is a boat trip of 5 minutes until you reach Santa Cruz north port. We stayed in a town called Puerto Ayora located in the south of the island so we had to go through the whole island to get to Puerto Ayora. Once we reached the hotel we were going to stay at, Galapagos Dreams, we headed out to check out the town.Galapagos Ecuador - Galapagos Islands Ecuador

It took us 5 minutes to walk to the port and among the first thing we saw was sea lions lay by the fishing boats and wait for fish. Excited of course and when we turned around we spotted some iguanas and big pelicans. The happiness was total for both of us.
Later we booked a trip for the next day by our lovely host at the hotel, Jonathan. It was a trip to the island North Seymore. I am not a big fan of boats so I was a bit worried so we booked one thing at the time. The boat trip was 1 hour and then we entered the island. Our guide was really good and had a lot of knowledge about the wildlife on the island. We saw sea lions, frigates, blue footed boobies, and land iguanas. It is a dream for everyone that is interested in wildlife for sure.


Galapagos Islands Ecuador

The following day it was Christmas Eve and we wanted to have a calm day. We had a tour booked to the highlands to watch the tortoises in their natural habitat. In theGalapagos Islands Ecuador the weather is shifting. In the highlands often it’s raining and in general it is wet and just a few miles from there by the shoreline it is sunny and the sky is blue. But te great tortoises seems to like it in the slightly more humid area. The sight of the great tortoises is breathtaking. It is like watching a movie, you don’t think it is real. We spent some time there and had a lot of photos. In the afternoon we decided to take a walk to the famous Tortuga Bay where we took a swim in the turquoise water.
Day 3 of our Galapagos trip we had a snorkeling tourt to an island called Santa Fe. One hour boat trip from the port in Puerto Ayora. I haven’t snorkeled since I was a child and in the beginning it is quite hard to know how to breath but after a while it is fine. We saw a lot of colorful fishes, starfishes and sea urchins. Later we stopped at the other side of the island and on the rocks the sea lions and their cubs were sun bathing. We did a little bit of snorkeling there as well and I saw a manta ray and the sea lions came down into the water and swimmed with us. Incredible feeling! Some people in the group also saw sharks.
For our last day we wanted to go to the Bartholome Island north of Santa Cruz. It was a 2 hour boat ride and we had a guide thet told us about everything that is worth knowing about the wildlife and the nature. We also did some snorkeling by a bay and we spotted pinguins! That was the main reason why we wanted to go to this island to get to see the pinguins, the only ones that lives in the north hemisphere. Really cool!
With a littel bit of sadness we returned back to Guayaquil again. In my oppinion you can stay in Galapagos Islands Ecuador for a long time and still you haven’t seen everything. I can’t say enough how amazing this trip to Galapagos was. Go here and you will have memories for the rest of your life!

This was my last blog post and in 2 days we are going back to Sweden. Thank you for reading my posts! Adios!


By Hillevi

Budget Tours Independent Safety Tips Tips n Tricks Uncategorized

Devil nose train

By Iris Bearslag

I’m in Alausí, a village in the Andean highlands of Ecuador to experience the Train ride to Devil’s nose.
I took the bus from Riobamba to Alausí, a two hour bus drive, with fantastic views the whole way, before i knew it i was in Alausí. I looked for a hotel (which are not hard to find in Alausí, within five minutes of my arrival I found a room, also important it was affordable, 15$ for one night), walked through the village and enjoyed the great scenery Alausí has to offer. Tomorrow I will take the train ride Nariz del Diablo, also known as the devil’s nose.

I woke up early, because today at eight o’clock I will take the train ride Nariz del Diablo. I took a shower, looked for some breakfast and was ready to go.

Alausí -Sibambe- Alausí, 12km to Nariz del Diablo
The whole train ride was amazing, it was a two hours long rise and on one side of the carriage you were able to look down on the mountains and on the other side you were able to look up towards the mountains. Along the way a guide told something’s about the things you saw along the way and how the railroad was made.Nariz del Diablo - Train Ride To Devil's Nose
While we were riding towards Nariz del Diablo, we were driving past Sibambe were we could see natives do a traditional dance, as we were driving by a cowboy (native on a horse) was riding along the carriage, waving at us. We stopped in front of Nariz del Diablo, were the cowboy was greeting us and letting you in the horse (for a small payment). From here you could really see the devil’s nose.

From Nariz del Diablo we rode back to Sibambe, were we stopped for an hour and were able to enjoy; some traditional dances from the Nizag community, a great scenery, a museum about how the railroad was made and you were able to walk around for a bit I was able to do all of it, and while I was walking around I saw beautiful birds and insects including a hummingbird and a monarch butterfly. After the hour was done, we rode back to Alausí it was the same way back, but still an amazing view to see, as some Ecuadorians thought otherwise, some slept the whole way back, but as for me it was amazing.

Being back in Alausí I bought, as a real tourist, some souvenirs, which are not hard to find because almost the whole town was full of touristy things.
I went to a restaurant (the first one I’ve seen which said vegetarian food available) ate some vegetarian food, walked up to San Pedro (a huge statue of San Pedro) and enjoyed my view. After that I went back to Riobamba by bus (also very cheap about 2,5$) again a two hour bus drive with amazing scenery.

Nariz del Diablo - Train Ride To Devil's Nose