travelling the seven parts of the world

Day 1: Arrival and Bartolome Island

One of the biggest mistakes about going to Galapagos Islands is the idea that you have to go to Quito. You don't. And unless you absolutely have to or want to go to Quito, you shouldn't. Most planes stop in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city, beating Quito by a million or so people. So by going to Quito, I had made the following mistake - we would have to fly from Santiago to Guayaquil to Quito and then from Quito to Guayaquil to Galapagos Islands, and then from Galapagos Islands to Guayaquil to Quito. Considering that there are planes going straight from Santiago to Guayaquil (we were on one!) and from Guayaquil to Lima (which is our next destination) and we had nothing to do in Quito anyway, we ended up flying 3 flights (albeit small 30 minute ones) extra for nothing.

We landed in Galapagos on the Baltra island, which used to be a US Air Force base in World War II, in the smallest airport we had ever been in. In fact, this airport was so small, there was no indoors in here. After paying the $100 entrance fee, we were driven by bus to the shore (where we were greeted by Sea Lions) and then on Zodiac boats to the ship.

The ship was, undoubtedly, very nice. We had 2 beds that were easily pushed together to make one very big one. We had a TV that we could request movies on (but never ended up doing so because we were either busy with activities outdoors or activities on the ship), a pretty big wardrobe, private bathroom and shower. The only inconvenience was that toilet paper does not go down the toilet, but the rooms were cleaned 3 times a day, so it never ended up being smelly.

There was lots of food on the ship - food in the morning, food in the afternoon, food in the evening. There are 2 main reasons for feeding people so thoroughly, one is that you don't get seasick as easily with a full stomach, and the second one is that there is really not that much to do on the ship, and eating is nice way of keeping everyone busy.

After lunch, we were off to Bartolome Island, which is one of the most picturesque places in Galapagos, but is not as full of life as other islands. We rented out some snorkel equipment, and started off with the beach and snorkeling. There are 2 types of landings - the wet and the dry. While the wet landing surely gets your feet wet as you need to climb out of the boat on the beach, the dry landing is more dangerous, as the boat stops at a pier and you have a greater chance of falling out, not that anyone did.

On this first day we had a wet landing on the beach and it turned out to be very wet indeed for some people, as the waves were large, and many ended up plunging into them with all of their body.

After snorkeling, we got back into the boats, dry landing near the cliffs, and went for a walk on the island.