I spent an eye-opening 5 days in what felt like a National Geographics Magazine, or rather The Galapagos Islands. The fact that Charles Darwin was blessed enough to stay there for 5 MONTHS makes me jealous, to say the least.
My arrival to The Galapagos wasn’t as jaw-dropping as I thought it would be. When I stepped off of the plane, I was surrounded by cacti. To be honest, I felt like my flight went to the wrong destination; I felt like I was back home in good ol’ sunny, arid, cactus ridden Arizona! Talk about being homesick! This sensation of nostalgia and longing to be back home was quickly eradicated by my friends screaming “WE’RE ON THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS.” Then I quickly realized, “I’m on The Galapagos Islands… much cooler than Arizona!”
To sum up the entirety of the trip in two paragraphs or so would be nearly impossible… so I’m just going to break down the trip, day by day.
DAY1, ready for fun.
After 5 hours of flying and lugging around backpacks and luggage, most people would want to spend their first day just relaxing in their hotel– that’s not how we do it in The Galapagos! We went straight from the airport to a utopia of turtles… did I mention that these turtles were practically the size of little Smart Cars? GARGANTUAN, they were. I also got so see remains of turtles (their shells) and got to take a few pictures in their spacious shells! Then we saw some volcanic cave formations, which were home to some radical geological structures. After all of this physically exhausting awesomeness, we decided to head back to the pier to enjoy the sea lions, pelicans, crabs, and freshly caught fish… all existing harmonically on the pier in this natural paradise. Day 1: success!
DAY2, so beautifoo.
Lagoons and creeks and craters, oh my. We trekked on to the other side of the island, and further explored the wondrous beauty of this island of paradise. We went to a discreet location offshore, and snorkeled… and I got to take a picture with one of those massive sea turtles while I was snorkeling! So awesome!! After about 20 minutes of snorkeling in the presence of countless species of fish, with plants that ranged from every color of the rainbow, and with TURTLES, we got back on the boat and headed to the hotel– not to rest, oh no no. We headed back to the hotel to change into some fresh clothes; we were about to head to one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world (this was ranked by VH1, by the way, not me) and of course, if we were going to one of the top beaches in the world, we’d have to dress like it too because we would have opportunities for breathtaking images (which we most definitely captured!)
DAY3, more beach for me.
A day of adventure and fun– but with fun in The Galapagos comes physical exhaustion! We embarked on a two hour water-journey to another island: Floreano. This little island, populated by a mere 140 Ecuadorians, is home to even more turtles, sea lions, crabs, SHARKS (ahhh), and an unreal scenery to accompany all of this wonderful wildlife. We hiked up a mountain through various turtle habitats (these things seriously just live EVERYWHERE in these islands.) And once at the summit, we had a breathtaking view of the entire island and the beautifully sculpted mountains. After taking some magazine-worthy pictures, we headed back to the coast of the island, and snorkeled. Where we snorkeled was probably my favorite place during the entire trip; I gazed at the horizon, where the tip of the green island delicately lay adjacent to a smaller sand island inhabited by clusters of sea lions… all of this scenery lay under the warmth and beauty of the sun. I couldn’t believe I was staring at such a scene! It was surreal… up until this point in time, I didn’t know such places really existed other than in photoshopped magazine covers.
DAY4, more shore.
I got to see 2 more beautiful shores on this great day. First, we traversed over to the Charles Darwin Station, and got to see some exhibits of what Charles Darwin himself studied in the dawning of his scientific discoveries! What an interesting place to visit… it was like studying out of a textbook in front of my eyes. Then later we went to our second destination… a second beach! This beach, for whatever reason, really brought the child out of all of us. We threw sand balls at each other, buried each other in holes, and made mermaids (or a merman, in my case) out of each other in the sand. Unfortunately, we only spent about two hours here because the weather took a turn for the worst… :( But overall, another successful day!
DAY5, aye aye aye!
My last day in the Galapagos, and let me tell you, I was EXHAUSTED from everything we had done! We decided to have a more relaxed day. We spent the first half of the day riding around the city on bikes. While meandering around, I stumbled upon a delicious coconut vendor, and bought my first ever fresh coconut for only a buck! The coconut milk was refreshing… it tasted Galapagoean. Then we headed back to one of the top beaches of the world (again, this was nominated by VH1, not me!) Since we were a smaller group that day, I got to wander to parts of the beach I didn’t get to see the first time… I stumbled upon what seemed to be at least 50 lizards (what!) and cactus (again, what!) all on the BEACH. Where I come from, beaches host sand, palm trees, maybe some cool piers… but these Galapagos beaches are so different! Cactus… lizards… sea lions… it was so different to see all of these things coexist on a BEACH!
Just writing about The Galapagos Islands makes me want to go back there again! 5 days and countless memories later, I am back on the mainland of Ecuador getting ready for school to start again soon (nooo). I’ll post some pictures soon of the highlights of each day I had there… that way, everyone can experience a taste of this slice of heaven on Earth.