Tips & Tricks to help you plan your next adventure
Our first stop in the Galapagos Islands was Isla Santa Cruz and the town of Puerto Ayora.
Our flight went from Guayaquil to Isla Baltra. From the airport we were shuttled down to a wharf from where we hopped on a ferry for 10 minutes and crossed onto Isla Santa Cruz.
Arriving in the Galapagos was everything we’d hoped for. From the plane we could see the turquoise crystal clear waters, and once on the ferry we watched seals swimming alongside us. It was incredible. This place is EXACTLY as it appears in the documentaries.
Once on Santa Cruz you can take a public bus ($2 per person) or a Taxi ($18 for 4 people) into the main town of Puerto Ayora. We opted for the taxi with a couple of girls we met, meaning it cost only $4.50 each and we were dropped right at our hostel door!
NB: The islands taxi’s are all white pick up trucks with no signage.
We were staying at Galapagos Best Home Stay, a hostel that was recommended to us by a friend. It cost $17 a night for a dorm bed. It was quite a walk from town, roughly 15 minutes (and we’re not slow walkers). We personally wouldn’t recommend it. It was a nice hostel with all the facilities you need (air con, kitchen, towels and free drinking water), but you could definitely find something cheaper and closer to town.
After dropping our stuff at the hostel we headed out for lunch and an explore.
On the way to lunch we passed by the local fish markets, where woman were cutting up and weighing the mens catches from the morning. To our delight right beside the women were 2 incredibly friendly sea lions, 15 huge pelicans and a marine iguana, all waiting for the off cuts of the days catch.
The sea lions were so much like dogs it was hilarious. Nuzzling up to the women to try and get some food, rubbing their legs and barking at them if they were ignoring them. It was amazing!
After watching them for about 10 minutes (which the locals laughed at, this is obviously just every day life for them) we headed on in to town to find food.
We ate on Calle Charles Binford, a road known for its cheap and tasty local eateries. For only $4 each we were served a soup entrée, and a rice, salad and meat main with a fresh juice included. Awesome!
After lunch we headed out to explore the island a little. We hopped on a water taxi and for $0.60 one way we were taken across to the entrance to “Las Grietas”, one of the MANY free activities/sights the island has to offer.
Once off the water taxi we walked 700 or so metres onwards to Las Grietas. On the way we passed by one of the many beaches, Playa de Los Alemanes.
Las Grietas is a large and incredibly clear natural pool made from and surrounded by towering walls of volcanic rock. Once we arrived at the the pool we could not wait to get in. There is a small wharf jutting out over the pool with clearest and bluest water I’ve seen in a long time (photos just do not do it justice). The water was the perfect temperature, refreshing but not too cold. Magic!
After exploring around for a bit, spotting some big fish and a cheeky eel we headed back to our hostel.
We returned to the same street for dinner, spending $6 for me on chicken and $10 for Sean on a seafood bowl (they were both HUGE portions).
We went to bed exhausted and ready for the next day. Already the Galapagos was more than meeting our expectations!