I need to start this story by saying “Amazing”, “Incredible”, “Fantastic”! All relevant words that are used by most visitors to this beautiful and wonderful place. Because there was so much to see and do, this will be the first of multiple posts to describe and share the moments we experienced with you all.
So, with that said, let’s start from the beginning….
Hilcia and I have been wanting to visit this spectacular place for some time now, so we booked our trip and opted to stay on the islands versus a stay on a boat. Our first stop was the island of Santa Cruz, which is the most populous island within the Galapagos. With 12,000 or so people living here, there is still an incredible amount of respect for the environment, and all things natural. The locals understand how truly important conservation is to this unique place, and how it impacts their home and the world.
On this, our first day, Hilcia and I walked down the steps of the plane into an incredible landscape that filled us with so much emotion we were both mostly overwhelmed. Here we were, at the center of the Origin of Species, walking through living history, getting ready to see the exact same species and vistas that Darwin saw! It was a remarkable feeling!
We quickly met our Naturalist Guide, David, and headed straight to the Highlands to visit the Giant Galápagos Tortoises. What a beautiful vista as we drove up the hill from the low lying desert straight up into the forest. Soon enough, we were greeted by our slow moving friends…
Beautiful, massive and ancient , these reptiles can weigh almost 1000 pounds and grow to be well over one hundred years old. The experience of seeing these creatures in the wild, just being themselves, was unique and a true joy.
Next, we stopped by the Lava Tunnels that run underneath this area. Hidden within the forest, down some creaky steps lies this natural wonder. It’s a little over a half mile walk under ground through the fascinating terrain, and then crawling on your belly under the lowest portion of rock. Definitely not for any claustrophobic visitor…
After the long flight and multiple treks, we decided to unwind and see a bit of the town, Puerto Ayora, which included a walk along the Main Street to see the shops and fish market before we settled in for the evening. Seafood galore awaited our healthy appetites along the Kiosko Street, as the locals call it, which included a few local Galápagos beers. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect ending for our first day on this magical island in this magical place….