In the afternoon of our second day in the Galapagos we planned to meet up with a couple we met in Huanchaco, Peru and head out to Los Gemelos, El Chato Reserve & the Lava Tunnels.
We had heard that for just $40 per car (only $10 a head when split between 4) we could get a taxi driver that would take us to the 3 destinations and wait whilst we explored! Excellent!
After another tasty lunch for just $4 each in Charles Binford Avenue we headed down to the main pier, met the couple and jumped in a cab.
The first stop was Los Gemelos, or in english “The Twins”. Los Gemelos are 2 huge craters formed by now extinct volcanoes. The craters are now overgrown with greenery, and it was nice to walk around the edge in the cooler "highland" region of the island. This was only a short stop to check them out. They’re huge and cool to look at however you don’t need more than 10 minutes.
From Los Gemelos we headed to El Chato Reserve, one of main areas to see the giant Galapagos tortoises on the island.
The reserve is a large area of grassland where the tortoises roam free and you can walk about and have a look at them. You are requested to not touch the tortoises (obviously) and to keep a distance of 2 metres. The tortoises are good at letting you know when you get to close by hissing.
We were lucky enough to have chosen a taxi driver who came into the reserve with us and told us information about the tortoises, including their ages (some over 80 years old!).
There are at least 14 subspecies of tortoises in the Galapagos, and they can live to be 160 years old! You really have to see these guys in real life to understand how huge they are.
Due to hunting, introduced species and habitat destruction since the islands were settled, the population of tortoises declined rapidly to a low point in the 1970's where there was thought to be only 3000 tortoises left on the islands. Today there is now closer to 19,000 due to the islands multiple conservation and repopulation efforts.
Whilst at the farm we observed a couple of tortoises making their own population conservation efforts. Bom chicka wow wow.
Next we headed onwards in the reserve to visit the lava tunnels, damp caves large enough to walk (or in some cases crawl) through, in which lava used to flow!
After this we headed back to town.
That evening we got dinner at the local fish markets. For $12 we each got a BIG, whole fish, rice, salad and some plantains. Delicious.
We still can't believe how much wildlife there is on these islands. It's incredible!
G'day I'm Bec
I'm an Aussie who loves travelling, hiking, trail running and pretty much any activity you can do outdoors.
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