Half my life I thought that Yosemite National Park was the single most beautiful place in the world. In November I changed my mind — not because I was disappointed by Yosemite but because the Galapagos were even more impressive with their breath-taking nature and most of all their fascinating animals.
I flew in to the island Santa Cruz in the very center of the archipelago, where I almost stumbled over a sea iguana during my first stroll through the village Puerto Ayora. On the evening of the first day I visited the Darwin Center and the next morning I saw iguana without number at Tortuga Bay. In the afternoon I went on a guided tour the a tortoise farm, lava tunnels and big craters in the island center.
The day after that, in the very early morning, I went by speed boat to Isabela, the largest of the islands. There I hiked to the volcano were I could see lava in various bright colors. The third day on Isabela was easily the best day of my entire trip to Ecuador: I went snorkeling in the south of the island and saw sea turtles (so close that I could have touched them), white-tipped sharks (about 1,5m in length), a sea horse, a moray, and incredibly many colorful fish. From there, the speed boat took us to (and through) the so called “Tuneles”, an absolutely wonderful area, where we watched a ballet of sea turtles and a large crowd of blue footed boobies.
Finally, I flew to the island San Cristobal in the very east. Even the flight was a very unique experience. I had a hand-written plane ticket, that I had paid for in cash. At the airport of Puerto Villami on Isabela the pilot parked his motor bike in the waiting hall. The security control was conducted at a small wooden counter and consisted of me being asked whether I had any dangerous/forbidden goods in my luggage. The flight took about 45 minutes and the plane had eight seats (including pilot and copilot).
The village Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal seems to be populated by sea lions. They are everywhere — not only at the beach but also on the streets, sleeping on park benches, … And they were just having offspring. They say you should not touch the animals at Galapagos and always stay a few feet away — but baby sea lions are very curious. In fact, they came to me and nudged me with their noses. So cute!