Date of Trip: December 2014
I loved staying in the town of Puerto Ayora and enjoyed the art galleries, shops and going out for beers and to eat. My last night I hit the “street of the restaurants” tucked away back in the town off from the main road. At 6pm the street is closed and all the restaurants pull their candle lit tables and chairs out into the street with strings of lights above them, it is such a lovely ambience. They are selling seafood from the day’s catch including those big lobsters. It all smells so good and the tables fill up quickly. I joined some people from Holland & Belgium and we had cerviche de pulpo, frites and Pilsener cervezas. It was a good meal and a good time. Angel & Luis drove me about 1 hour the next day to the ferry to take me to the island of Baltra (South Seymour) and a bus from the ferry took me to the airport.
Upon arrival in the Galapagos there is a $100 in cash National Park Fee & a $10 Transit Fee. Isabela Island Entrance Fee is $5. All of Ecuador is on US$. There are no exit fees at the airport.
Santa Cruz is the main tourist hub for the Galapagos & has the longest paved road making it easy to get to the interior highlands as well as to the airport connection. Puerto Ayora is the most populated & offers the most options for those who want to design their own Galapagos experience.
I have done enough traveling to know you can never see it all. This is especially true with the Galapagos Islands as there are so many options and there are different times of the year to see mating and nesting birds. The power boat rides between the islands are rough and bumpy but go very fast and are only a couple of hours long. I chose to come just before the high season was kicking in as I was trying to keep my costs down and there were not so many tourists there before the holidays. I feel like I took the best trip for me and did not feel like I missed out on anything.
In Puerto Ayora I was told I was one of the “good tourists” because I was staying in the towns at hotels and going to the restaurants & shops so the community benefits, therefore the locals said they prefer the “good tourists” compared to the cruisers. Many of the cruise boats are internationally owned so the money does not go to the locals. 70% of wildlife protection dollars comes from land based travel whereas only 20% comes from the cruises. Land based travel is becoming more and more popular and Galapagos by land is the new growing trend.
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