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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Traveling to Galapagos solo. From Baltra airport to island Isabella. Ecuador. March 2018.

In order to get from Baltra airport to Puerto Ayora at island Santa Cruz, first, I took free bus from airport to the Itabaca channel, about 10 min, then ferry crossing to St Cruz island, cost $1, about 5 mins and finally, there is choice; a bus or a taxi to Puerto Ayora, which is 42 km away. 
At this point I was kind of annoyed that I had to pay for every step, so I started to ask for discounts, and to my amusement I did receive!  Taxi driver agreed to get me ride for $22 instead of $25.
When I walked to the first travel agency on my way to Puerta Ayora Interisland Boat Pier, they sold me round trip ticket for the boat (lancha) from Santa Cruz to Isabella with 10% discount. $55 round trip, lancha only, meaning you still have to pay for the fibras, little boats to get to the lancha (bigger boat)
Another thing I discovered, there are lines (organized and moving quickly), consisted from these tourists groups near buses, ferries and boats, some of the groups got their own buses and boats, but others used public transportation, so to speak. They dutifully stayed in lines waiting for orders to get moving. Well, guilty as charged, I didn't care for them or their handlers, I just walked over, where it was possible, to get in and out. I know, it was bad, but entertaining for solo me. Together with discounts it made my day!
I waited for a few hours at some cafe and it started all over again for my 2 p.m.sailing to Isabella: line to enter the pier where your luggage opened and inspected - it really helped that I use packing cubes. Line to the fibra (little boat - few minutes and 50 cents) to jump, literally, to lancha. Lancha cannot get inside of pier, I guess. 

In a two hours, upon arrival to island Isabella you have to leap from lancha to fibra again (few minutes and $1), from fibra to the pier, pay entrance to Isabella, $5 for Ecuadorians, $10 for foreigners and get a taxi (few minutes $2) to the town Puerto Villamil at Isabella island. 

I checked to my hotel room in Puerto Villamil at 5 p.m. My trip started in Quito with Uber ride to airport at 7:30 a.m. Along the way I was thinking that modern Charles Darwin, being poor as he was before going to Galapagos, before he wrote his famous book "The Origin of Species" and introduced Theory of Natural Selection., would have little chance to get in, move around and stay there as long as he needed to make his observations and discoveries. All these travel restrictions and money required for every step (or jump) there: no luck nowadays for his type.  

Tip: Buy a protective cover for your luggage. I never saw luggage being abused as much as in Galapagos! Your suitcase will be thrown from one bus to another boat and another ferry, and burred under other tourists luggage. On my way back (Baltra - Quito) Tame lost my suitcase and when they found it, two hours after arrival  - it was ruined with dark oily substance. However I decided not to make any clams because with Tame it can be damaging not only for your luggage but what is more important - your mental health might be ruined while pursuing your claim. 

Tip: Stock up on $1 coins, you will need it for hopping from ferry to fibra to lancha and back. 

Tip: stock up on snacks, from my point of view it's kind of dangerous to have lunch prior your trip to Isabella. When lancha starts moving you just hold on hard bench you are sitting and no chance to make it to the bathroom. Just physically impossible. The "road" is extremely bumpy.   
Inside of ferry, crossing Itabaca channel to St Cruz island.

Inside of lancha going to Isabella. 

Some fibra at Puero Ayora

to be continued..

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