26 December 2014

The Journey to Galapagos

                Getting to Galapagos is not easy. There are very few direct flights there, and most either have connections or stopovers in Guayaquil. A lot of the flights are booked up early by travel agencies for trips (A lot of times, when you buy tickets to a boat trip from the U.S., it will include a flight from Quito.), but when they don’t sell the seats, there will be last-minute cheap tickets. This is something to look out for, especially if you have time and are not traveling during high season.
                We left our hotel at 5a.m. in a cab to the Quito airport, which is almost an hour from Quito itself. Then we waited in a long line to pay a $10 fee to go to the Galapagos. Then they scan your suitcases and give you something to sign saying that you are not bringing any seeds or food into the islands. (This meant Wayne and I ate a container of Christmas cookies V had baked for us, and almost an entire big bag of cinnamon sugar sunflower seeds. Maybe a bad idea, hahahah.) Then your bag is marked, and then you wait to check into the plane. After, you do the usual waiting around the gate, etc., but the whole process took us way longer than I expected.
                We flew to Guyaquil, and were no allowed to leave the plane. Wayne and I ate cookies instead. Then just before we got to Isla Baltra (the island we were flying to in Galapagos), they sprayed the entire plane, including lifting all of the overhead bins to individually spray each bag, with insecticide.
                When we arrived in the Galapagos, we were immediately struck by the humidity. Then we had to wait for every single bag to be unloaded. Then a cop did this whole routine with having his dog sniff and run over each and every bag. Once the dog didn’t find anything (and Wayne thinks it was a farce, as the dog was not one normally trained for sniffing), we collected our bags. Then we paid a fee of $100 per person to enter the park, and handed in another form. Then they scanned out bags again and we handed in another form.
                Then we hopped on the bus that everyone takes to the ferry. Isla Baltra has pretty much nothing other than the airport. So everyone goes on this bus. Then we got on the ferry (only 5 minutes, $1), and then you can either get a cab to the town ($18) but we thought we’d save money and take the bus ($2 a person). You have to wait for the bus to fill up, which means we had a bit of a wait. Then after the bus, we hopped into a cab for $1 (totally walkable, but we had our bags and weren’t exactly sure where it was) and finally got to our destination.

                Long and a total PIA, but totally worth it!

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