In 2017, I took a vacation as a solo traveler to the Galapagos Islands. To be honest, this was a YOLO trip: I had the opportunity and took it.
I have always thought that is could not be fun to travel alone. Boy was I wrong.
6:30 in the morning at the Quito’s airport, going through the process for traveling to the “Enchanted Islands”, I wondered what will I do by myself aboard a 4-day cruise. This was my first SOLO travel, for fun, and not for business.
My flight from Quito to Galapagos took around 2 and a half hours, considering a 50 minutes stopover in the City of Guayaquil.
After landing in Galapagos, at the arrival terminal I was met by a boat representative, who explained to me and the rest of the group about transferring to Puerto Ayora; our cruise starting point, and the main town of the island of Santa Cruz.
At the airport, we-we took a private bus called “El lobito” (Spanish for little sea lion) to take us to the Itabaca Channel, which separates Baltra Island (where the airport is located) and Santa Cruz. Once there, a ferry would take us to the other side of the channel where you can take a bus, or a pick-up car to take you to Puerto Ayora. My cruise operator took us there on their own comfortable bus; complete with early explanations of the surroundings. The ride took about 40 minutes.
After my arrival in Puerto Ayora, and after embarking, I and my cruise mates were welcomed by the yacht crew, who were very helpful in showing us to our cabins, serving us lunch, and providing a welcome brief explaining what to expect during our visit, and the activities of the day.
In the afternoon, my Galapagos adventure started with a visit to the Fausto Llerena breeding center where giant tortoises are bred in captivity;
This is home to tortoises ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long when adults. However, what thrilled me the most was the chance to see Lonesome George, I have read so much about, seen so many pictures, and there I was, face to face with the most famous tortoise around the world, standing with all his majesty, on the most important stand of the breeding center, for everyone to see, so he will never be lonesome again.
That moment marked the beginning of a wonderful cruise around the Galapagos Islands, from that moment, everything was incredible, I had 4 days to be filled with the enchantment of the Galapagos islands, discovering a world of wildlife I could have never imagined.
Day 2 – Genovesa Island
My first awakening aboard a Galapagos cruise; quite interesting, at around 6:00 a.m. speakers announce that breakfast will be served at 7:00 a.m. and that disembarking will happen at 8:00 a.m., times may vary a little depending on the visitor point.
After getting ready I was greeted with the most delicious breakfast, that would help me keep energized during the excursions.
And so we boarded the pangas to head towards Genovesa Island, a wonderful place to watch splendid Galapagos birds, like the red-footed booby, lava owls, and the Galapagos swallows and doves. For landings like this is important to have good hiking shoes as it is on a rocky place.
When we returned to the boat all of us were received with a nice snack and incredible juices, this would happen every day, such a nice detail after an excursion.
After lunch and a well-deserved rest time, we headed to Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island, my first snorkeling excursion. I was marveled when I spotted the rays, the hammerhead sharks, and all of the colorful fishes.
Day 3 – Santiago Island
A new awakening in a different destination of the Galapagos, now the boat has anchored close to Espumilla Beach a very popular place for marine iguanas, and Sally Lightfoot crabs.
This is a place where I enjoyed snorkeling a lot, it was incredible to swim with octopi, moray eels, and sharks.
When we got back onboard, and just like the day before, a lovely snack was expecting us. Afterward, lunch, and time to get ready for the afternoon excursion.
The afternoon of this day took us to Egas Port, also known as James Bay; home to the curious Galapagos hawks, and to some really quick lava lizards. And just when I thought snorkeling couldn’t get any better, I found myself swimming with;
- Reef sharks
- Some really nice underwater formations.
Day 4 – Santa Cruz Island
This is the last day of my solo Galapagos trip, everything has been wonderful, an incredible experience. As much as I didn’t want to leave the Galapagos, I was also eager to return home and tell everybody about my trip. However, I had one more visitor site to go to. After breakfast, we headed to Bachas beach on the island of Santa Cruz.
This is a swimming beach with few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos, a floating pier, can be seen here. Concerning wildlife, this is a nice place to see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot:
- Hermit crabs
- Black-necked stilts
- Sea turtles also nest off the beach.
After a wonderful time in Galapagos, the cruise was over, It was sad to leave the islands, the Galapagos has been so incredible, there is no doubt I can say that this has been my best travel experience.
People on the islands are so friendly, so very helpful and warm.
These islands are so friendly that even animals do not hesitate to walk by you, they are completely fearless, something really incredible, an experience that will turn you into a storyteller on every family, or friend’s reunion.