As a recap, I had the amazing opportunity this summer to go to the Galapagos Islands, a dream of mine since I was six years old. This post will cover day 3 of my 10-Day journey. If you missed the first two, you can find them here!
Day 3 (San Cristobal): Today was finally the day that my biggest dream would come true! We woke up early in Quito, packed all of our things and hopped on a bus to the airport. We hopped on the plane and headed out. We had to make a stop in Guayaquil, Ecuador to pick up extra passengers before officially flying to the Galapagos.
When we landed, words could not describe the excitement that filled me. I honestly never thought that this dream would become a reality. Nothing can prepare you for the rush of emotions that hit when you officially step foot into your dream.
Customs took a little longer than expected, but it was all worth it when I received an official Galapagos Islands stamp on my passport. If you are ever traveling to the Galapagos, make sure to ASK at customs for this stamp, because there were a few of our group members that did not receive one!
After the collection of our luggage, we walked out to meet our bus driver. We left our bags with another crew member and hopped onto the bus. The bags would be taken separately and placed in our rooms on the yacht. The bus ride was quick but allowed us to see several buildings on the island. It dropped us off at the pier where we waited for dinghies to come pick us up and take us to the boat. There were a ton of Galapagos sea lions, sally lightfoot crabs, and frigatebirds all around the pier.
We stayed on the Galaven. If you ever go to the Galapagos, you would not go wrong with choosing this yacht for your stay. It was beyond incredible! The crew members were the kindest people you could ever meet. They seemed to genuinely care about all of us staying with them. They went out of their way to make us as comfortable as possible (yes, I understand that this is their job, but they went above and beyond what they were asked). Upon arrival to the boat, we were fed lunch. Our chef was incredible. Every single meal was incredible. Honestly, there isn’t one meal I would be able to complain about, and I am an extremely picky eater!
Because we didn’t get to the boat until around lunchtime, we only had one excursion this day (normally there would be up to 2 hikes and 2 snorkels in a day). This excursion was to the tortoise sanctuary. Can you believe it? My dream of seeing a Galapagos tortoise in the Galapagos was going to be achieved on the FIRST DAY! I wasn’t sure what my reaction would be when I would see them. Before even getting to the sanctuary, I was shaking with excitement/nerves and my heart was pounding.
When we got to the sanctuary, we split into two groups between our two tour guides. We walked for a while and learned about some of the many plants on the islands and saw some Galapagos mockingbirds and finches. All I could think about was tortoises.
Finally, after walking for a little while, I got my first glimpse of a Galapagos tortoise. Unfortunately, he was really far away and hard to see. I was a little bummed asking myself if that would be the only tortoise I would see while I was here.
At the half-way point along the trail, they have the center where they raise the babies and juveniles. I’m a sucker for a good Galapagos tortoise baby, so the excitement was real when we got to see all of these tiny nuggets stomping around in their enclosure.
On our way down the other half of the trail, we see something moving in the trees. It’s another adult! This time, much closer to us! As I’m trying to take pictures of him, I can feel my entire body shaking. I break down and start crying (this isn’t a surprise…I’m an emotional person who cries at most things). I feel relief as my dream feels like it has truly come true. Little did I know, I would be seeing more tortoises than I could even count in the coming days…
After finishing the trail, we packed up our things and headed back to the boat, where we were fed a wonderful dinner. We were given the option to go back to the island and do some shopping. Of course, I agreed! I went with a small group and we explored the little town. I purchased some post cards, some stickers, a map, and a really cute tank top. A few hours later, the dinghy arrived and brought us back to the boat.
I’m pretty sure I fell asleep within 2 minutes of laying down that day. They managed to pack a lot into a short amount of time!