Happy Birthday to me! What a great way to start year 28.
When planning this trip, I knew I wanted to stay on one of the Islands for my birthday. I did enough research to conclude that Isabela would be a perfect birthday getaway (obviously, five weeks wasn’t enough). I know, I got greedy.
We made our way to the port around 6:45 am. The ferry runs from Santa Cruz to Isabela, twice a day; 7:00 am & 2:00 pm. It is important to buy your tickets in advance, and it should cost no more than $35. For more detailed information on ferry schedule, visit this site. Also, it’s essential to carry cash as there are no ATMs on the Island and very few places accept credit cards. Before getting on the boat, I highly recommend taking Dramamine especially if you are prone to getting seasick easily and chew mint gum for the entirety of the ride. For my dear friend, coco puff, it was a rough ride. I, somehow, slept through most of it (could not even stay awake for the handsome Ecuadorian man sitting next to me). Lucky me! Ha! Two very bumpy hours later, we reached Isabela. There is a $5 foreigner fee for entering the Island. From the port, taxi is one way to reach the main square. With my birthday luck, there were no taxis around. We walked in scorching heat (okay I’m exaggerating a bit) for about 30 minutes.
ARE WE THERE YET?! The heat and my bag was killing my birthday buzz. Our hostel, Caleta Iguana, was the last house on the beach. Go figure. Then came the view of our hostel, and our jaw dropped. Heat and a sore back problem were immediately forgotten.
By late afternoon, we were all settled in. It was time to grab some food and book tours for next day. Since we were on limited time and budget, we skipped out on dive excursion (I know, I know, I KNOW – it’s the Galapagos, how couldn’t you?!). The thing is, as much as I would’ve loved to dive, my inability to swim held me back. That and, of course, a two-hour diving excursion started at $200. We were on a budget…. The girls found a full day snorkeling trip to Los Tuneles, and I chose to explore Sierra Negra for next day.
After booking our tours, we decided to rent bicycles for $3/hr. If you have the energy, you can bike up to Wall of Tears which is one of the top attractions in Isabela. However, if you are
lazy on limited time, bike to Centro de Crianza “Arnaldo Tupiza”, Tortoise sanctuary of Isabela. Thanks to this breeding center, the species are thriving.
It was such a phenomenal experience. These tortoises ranged from few years to 150 years old. A quarter mile from this center is a small Lagoon where you’ll be able to find Flamingos.
What a birthday. After an incredible day in a fantastic place, it was time to wind down and celebrate! Or so we thought… The Island’s nightlife was MIA, but my two amazing friends made it fun.
We got a little drunk, went skinny dipping IN THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, and went to bed. No big deal. We had a great time figuring out if the giant iguana on the front porch was dead or alive. It was eventful. What a birthday.
We managed to capture one decent photo from the night.