The Galapagos Islands are beautiful. We got to fly over many of these volcanic islands. The most fascinating thing about them is how you can tell which ones are older or younger. The older islands have bushes and trees on them — in some cases, they are sinking back under the ocean. It is isolated from almost all of the world, and about the only way to get there is by a 500+ mile flight from Ecuador. Aside from meeting the Peruvian Hearts girls in Peru, the Galapagos was my favorite part of the trip.
Since they are so far away from everything else, the flora and fauna have evolved in many different ways from the animals and plants on the mainland, making each of them a unique ecosystem. Did you know that from island to island, the animals that you would think are the sam are each a little bit different. So, the tortoises living on one island may have a higher shell, or, grow much larger than those from another island. There are some birds that have different sized beaks and colorings on each island.
Another cool animal is the iguanas. Though they are the same species, the land and marine iguanas are completely different looking.
We arrived there on one of the hottest days they have ever had. Once we got to our hotel, we all took cold showers and stood in front of the fan. Afterwards, we went out to dinner at Il Giardino. The food was excellent, and the shrimp were especially good. We didn’t know it then, but that was the best food in Ecuador.
The next morning, we got to see the giant tortoises. As we drove into the sanctuary, there was one guy desperately trying to escape. No one stopped him. Another was happily munching on a clump of grass, and I doubt that he would move for a long time. We stayed at the preserve for an hour, and in that time, we saw almost thirty tortoises. One of them was a baby, and he hissed and retreated into his shell as we approached. After a while, he cautiously stuck his head out and decided that we weren’t very threatening. We also visited the Darwin Center and saw more giant tortoises. They are my favorite animals.
The next day, we went snorkeling with turtles. The animals in the Galapagos are the least skittish I have ever seen. In the water, they will swim right next to you and not even flinch. A few were taking a nap at the bottom of the sea. The lunch on the boat was fantastic. When you are on land, the sea lions just hang out. In town, on boats, docks and park benches, you will find these cute, but, somewhat smelly critters lounging around.
We also went kayaking off of Isabela island and we got to see a rare albino penguin. He was so fast, it was hard to get a picture of him. The penguins are my mom’s favorite animals on the trip.
Overall, I really liked visiting the Galapagos and seeing all of the animals. The passion fruit batidos on Isabela island were a great treat in the hot sun. Since it was over 100 degrees on a couple of the days, visiting in cooler temperatures would have made the trip even more fantastic.