Galaxy 11 Cruise- Day 3, Espanola

What a rough night cruising between Floreana and Espanola! We were rocking and rolling until we anchored at 1:30 am. Surprisingly, Alex and Rachel slept through it.

The day started early with a dry landing at Punta Suarez and a two hour walk over lava rocks. At the beginning, we saw some sea lions on the side of the path. As we made our way through dodging iguanas, we came to the beach which had more sea lions playing in the water. As we continued the trail would get rougher.

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Sick sea lion just off the trail – not so healthy looking
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Sea lion pup about 3 -4 months old
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Christmas Iguana found only on Espanola (nowhere else in the world)

Along the “path” we would see more and more blue footed boobies, and Nazca boobies. About halfway through the trail there were Nazca boobies and their eggs. We were lucky enough to see baby chicks too.

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Nazca booby with two eggs
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Nazca booby and chick

Another highlight were the waved albatrosses and their babies. These babies were much bigger then the Nazca and blue-footed booby babies. We kept walking along the trail and could see some frigate birds. Espanola is definitely the place to see a variety of birds.

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Albatross baby on left, mother on right

We came to a look off of some sort that we would sit at for a while to spot blowholes. It was so cool! It definitely took some patience but when the first one came more and more were right along.

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Blow hole

We returned to the boat to have an early lunch (every meal on the boat is delicious). Our afternoon stop would be Gardner Bay Beach, also on Espanola. In 2015, Gardner Bay beach was considered one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. It is no surprise! See lions were resting in the sun – some in a line, some piled on top of one another. Others were swimming. We were quite taken aback when one sea lion walked right up to us. You are not allowed to approach them (unless, of course, you are at one with the sea lions, like Alex).

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Gardner Bay

 

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Alex at one with all the sea lions

 

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As we had walked down the beach, it was time to go back. We were told there were something very cool just over a sand dune. So, we checked it out. It was a humpback whale skeleton! We wondered if it was put there for the tourists, or if it was swept up on shore except that would’ve taken a long time to rot out.

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Humpback whale skeleton, just there – WOW!

We were a little late getting back from Gardner Bay because we were having so much fun! That meant we were a little rushed to get ready for snorkelling at Osborne Rock. The water at Osborne rock was freezing! Although it wasn’t as freezing as Pinzon.

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Osborne Rock

The highlight of snorkelling here were the sea lions. Rachel saw two of them and had one brush right by her arm! Rachel, Anna, Mum, and Alex got cold so they decided to go for a kayak in the same area. In their two kayaks, they paddled over to where Dad was snorkelling and glad of it! A sea lion was playing with dad! It was so cool to see that. One of them even took the rope from the kayak and started pulling us around! Alex was no longer cold so she and dad switched places.The sea lions played with us for about 20 minutes!!!

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Sea lion pulling Rachel and Mum’s kayak rope!

 

 

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It was a game caught on the GoPro by Graham and Alex

 

 

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No fear of humans

 

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Dinner on the cruise

That evening we would motor to San Cristobal. Rachel was tired from the day so she fell asleep. After all the fresh air and excitement, no wonder! Supper was delicious and it was topped off with dessert (again).

 

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Galaxy ll Cruise- Day 2, Floreana

The day started as usual with a delicious breakfast. The kitchen staff realized how much our girls like hot chocolate and added a hot chocolate carafe on the 24 hour coffee bar!

Our first stop on Floreana was a wet landing (means your feet may get wet getting out of the dinghy). We stopped at a salt marsh to watch a few pink flamingos with their heads under water looking for food. We continued on to Cormorant Bay – a beautiful sandy beach with protected dunes where Pacific Green Turtles nest.

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Pink Flamingos in the distance

 

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Green turtle nesting grounds

 

In the first twenty feet of water, stingrays rested on the sand and drifted in and out with the waves. We stood in ankle deep water and counted 8 rays together. When you see this many stingrays in such shallow water, it is understandable why we were told to shuffle our feet in the water – better to bump into a stingray than step on one.

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Anna watching the stingrays

 

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Small stingray

 

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Cormorant Bay

It was fascinating watching the blue-footed boobies diving for fish while the colourful Sally Lightfoot crabs moved with the waves. We could have happily spent much more time here.

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Sally Lightfoot crab

After returning to the Galaxy II, we quickly gathered our snorkel gear and hopped back in the dinghies for a 5 minute ride out to The Devil’s Crown, a circular rock formation (volcanic cone) with a cut through the middle. As the current was quite strong, we started on one side and drifted along the outside wall. There were schools of large fish near the bottom (30 to 40 feet) but the current and the swell meant there was not a lot to see near the surface. As we drifted around the outside wall, Tina, Graham, and Alex swam into the cut against the current. Anna and Rachel were quite cold so signalled to the dinghy and were picked up. The depth “inside” the crown was about 20 feet and there were a few more fish; however, they were also fighting the current and were eating organic material as it zipped by. After about 10 minutes with little progress, we decided to go with the flow and got picked up by the dinghy and headed back to the Galaxy for hot showers and lunch.

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The girls about to go snorkelling at Devil’s Crown

We motored for about 20 minutes and dropped anchor in Post Office Bay. This area has been used as a communication hub for over 200 years. Pirates and other travellers would drop letters in a “post office barrel” to communicate any news to travellers arriving at a later date. The letters would remain in the barrel until the recipient would land on the island and check the barrel. Sometimes, the letters were used to provide false information. For example, a pirate may leave a letter saying, “Arr matey, we be heading to the east side of Santa Cruz, arr”, when in fact, they would be going to the west side.

Today, tourists drop post cards in the barrel (no stamps allowed), in hopes that someone following will find their card an hand deliver it to the address. So, we bought 5 post cards before we left Santa Cruz, put our names in a hat, we then addressed our cards to the name we drew – we’ll see if the cards ever get delivered.

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The Post Office Barrel at Post Office Bay

 

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Juan, our tour guide, passing out postcards that had been left in the barrel. Unfortunately, we did not find any with an address close to Wolfville, but some ship mates found cards with addresses close to their homes (Switzerland and Victoria BC). These will be hand-delivered when our ship mates return home.

We continued on to a lava tunnel that was probably about 30 feet underground and 150 feet long. Much of the walk in the tunnel was quite treacherous as the rocky floor was submerged in a foot or two of water. At the end, there was a good sized natural pool with very cool water where we all had a dip.

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Entrance to lava tunnel

 

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Alex, 3rd from left, and shipmates in the lava tunnel pool

When we returned to Post Office Bay beach, we were greeted by three Galápagos penguins swimming and fishing in the schools of sardines. We got our snorkel gear on quickly and had a blast swimming with the penguins. They showed no fear and would zip around us (apparently they can swim 60 km per hour) – they seemed as curious of us we were of them.

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Galapagos Penguin, a real thrill

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White arc identifies it as mature

 

This certainly was a surprise and a highlight as penguins don’t usually visit this beach in December.

WHAT A DAY!

Galaxy ll First Class Cruise – Day 1, Santa Cruz

Boarding Day! All five of us (especially Rachel, Anna and Alex) were jumping out of our socks, we were so excited. The day started off with an early morning ferry ride from Isabela island to Santa Cruz island, as the cruise ship left from Santa Cruz. Once we arrived we took all of our luggage to Galápagos Best Options – the tour company we booked with to get our last minute deal on a three night, four day cruise on the luxurious Galaxy II. We had been to the Galápagos Best Options tour company office so many times it was starting to feel like a new home.

Then breakfast time. We stopped at a restaurant overlooking the water to have some eggs, hash browns and bacon. Yum. We stayed here for a couple of hours trying to upload blog posts, but didn’t succeed because all Wi-Fi in the Galápagos is sooo slow. 11:00 a.m. hit faster than ever and it was time to head back to Galápagos Best Options to grab our luggage and wait for Eddie (one of the owners) to take us down to the pier along with a few other boatmates. Here we met two very special people, Mark and Martina. Mark and Martina are a young Swiss couple who we hung around with most of the time during the cruise. We would have all three meals with them everyday onboard. We already miss them. Two dinghies were waiting for us at the pier to take us out for a quick ride to our boat.

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The Galaxy II

The boat is very luxurious and we were all in awe when we arrived. We started off with a delicious lunch that consisted of soup, beef bourguignon, cooked vegetables, and salad. One thing about this boat is that the food is excellent! We had an hour or so after lunch to get settled in.

 

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Nothing but first class for us!

 

 

 

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Noses ever so slightly pointed upward

 

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Two cabins, this one for Mum and Dad, another fore the kids – Nice!

 

 

Then back to Santa Cruz for the Charles Darwin Research Station. Charles Darwin was the man who developed the theory of evolution. The purpose of the Charles Darwin Research Station is to preserve the island’s native species and to eliminate foreign species. Here we saw giant tortoises and many different types of iguanas. We didn’t get to see much of the Research Station because 70% of it was closed and under renovation.

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Galapagos (saddle) Tortoise

 

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60% of researchers are foreigners

 

 

After, we had one hour of free time in Puerto Ayora (the main town on Santa Cruz) to explore the town – not a highlight because we had already been in Santa Cruz for three days, so we used this time for blogging. Again not much luck due to internet problems.

Back to the ship for a shower and welcome drinks (don’t worry Rachel, Anna and Alex’s were non alcoholic). Then yet another delicious meal where everyone got to know each other a bit better – there was a total of 16 passengers, including us, on board. It was a relaxing night. Then off to bed. Not fun for Alex because once we started motoring; she felt seasick. She was awake until 1.00 a.m, when we stopped motoring. That wasn’t fun. Luckily she had enough energy for the next day.

 

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Crew in uniform, once

 

Los Tuneles, Isla Isabela

The number one activity from Puerto Vilamil on Isla Isabela according to Trip Advisor, is Los Tuneles. We were expecting a lot and were not disappointed. Los Tuneles is a wide expanse of semi-submerged lava tunnels with cacti 1oo’s of years old growing on top. The water is  gin-clear and is shallow with a sandy bottom. This aqua clarity contrasted with the black lava and cacti produced a striking, unearthly landscape.

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Cacti grow 1 cm per year – these are 100’s of years old

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Los Tuneles is filled with wildlife. In and around the tunnels we saw stingrays, turtles, sharks, a penguin, and seahorses. Incredible! In addition, from the boat there and back, we saw many giant manta rays showing their white underside as they flipped on the surface of the water. We had a particularly good viewing post when on the roof of the boat.

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Alex spotted this little guy while snorkelling, a Galapagos penguin!
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Eagle rays
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Green turtle
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White-tipped sharks resting
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Sharks in their cave, scary for us entering!
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Seahorse close to the mangroves
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Roof top viewing
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White underside of a huge manta ray

We, too, would rate Los Tuneles as the number 1 activity to do from Isla Isabela! What an awesome day!

 

Las Tintoreras, Isla Isabela – Dec. 7th

According to Trip Advisor, Las Tintoreras is the second best thing to do on Isla Isabela. We landed in the morning and booked this trip to start two hours later in the afternoon at $40 USD pp – cash, of course. It is a quick jaunt from the wharf. En route we saw eight or nine eagle rays and three green turtles in the first few minutes.

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Then we saw two GALAPAGOS PENGUINS! They were sitting on the rocks. We didn’t see them at first as they are only 30 cm high and blended in with the lava rock so well. We were all in such awe; my eyes welled. We excitedly watched, photographed, and recorded from our small boat for the next 10-15 minutes while the odd ray swam by. Just before we left, a third penguin darted by in the water. It was amazing. These penguins are the northern most penguin and only found in the Galapagos Islands. They are common on the western side of the island only accessible by 16 passenger cruise. It was a very special treat to see these indeed!

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Galapagos Penguins – northern most penguins, only in the Galapagos

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White marking around “cheek” identifies it as mature

 

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Las Tintoreras itself is a number of lagoons that are formed by black lava that poke out of the sea. We walked along a trail atop the lava; the jagged lava formations/ landscape spread before us seemed like another planet. Another few minutes along the trail we came to a narrow grotto where you can view Tintoreras (white-tipped sharks). Along the 75m grotto were about 25 sharks resting in the warm shallow waters below. At times, the territorial damsel fish would swim towards the sharks encouraging them to stay away.

 

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Jagged lava – looked like another planet

 

 

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Grotto is ~ 75 m in length and had ~ 25 tintoreras resting on the bottom

 

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Quatro Tintoreras ( four white-tipped reef sharks)

 

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We then walked a little further, watching not to step on two baby lava lizards, to a beautiful sandy cove surrounded by black lava. Here four adult sea lions and one pup rolled in the water and made their way from water to beach and back. Marine iguanas moved along with them; neither species seemed to pay attention to each other. Near the end of our looping trail we saw a turtle slowly cruising and surfacing in a lagoon.

 

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Four lava lizards

 

The tour ended with a 45 minute lagoon snorkel. The water was a pretty aqua blue and although it looked inviting, it was cold. The highlights of this snorkel included two very large porcupine fish, 6-8 green turtles, and two baby stingrays. The best part for all of us was a swim through a 75 m narrow lava grotto with a sandy bottom, depths of 4 to 12 feet, and lots of damselfish, parrot fish, and sergeant majors.

 

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Porcupine Fish

 

What a great tour! If this is ranked as the second best trip on Trip Advisor, I can’t wait to do the number one ranked tour, Los Tuneles.

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Isla Isabela

The Isla Isabela posts are a family effort; they are the same on all our blogs due to Wifi challenges and time constraints.

Isla Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago covering about 4,500 square kms. We took the two hour “ferry” ride from Puerto Ayora Wednesday morning (Dec.7th) and arrived at 9:00 a.m. The ferry cost $30.00 US per person and there is a $10.00 US per person entry fee to the island. Of course, no credit or debit cards – cash only.

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Isabela from the water
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Isabela pier

The only town on the island is Puerto Villamil, a sleepy, sand street town with a very laid back feeling. It sits on one end of a beautiful, long powder sand beach. With an island population of about 2,400, the town is incredibly quiet and it’s obvious everyone knows everyone. There are only small hotels and hostels in the town – no large chain hotels here (yet). Unfortunately, it appears the sand streets may not be around for much longer as new sidewalks have been built and I imagine the streets will follow. The vast majority of the island is inaccessible by land due to lava terrain.

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Two kms from our hotel, beach about three kms long

 

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Anna crossing the finish line, training for track and field

 

 

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Casa Los Delfines, top floor room

 

 

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Sand streets for now

 

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Our terrace

 

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Private terrace at Los Delfines

Isabela is the western most island in the archipelago and also the youngest with four active volcanoes. The islands are “born” from volcanoes and drift eastward at a rate of a few centimetres each year, all the while, slowly sinking.

One day, Graham, Alex, and Rachel rented bikes for a couple of hours (while Tina and Anna had ice cream and chilled on the beach). It was an eventful couple of hours as we saw pink flamingos, giant tortoises at a breeding centre, a red lagoon, and rode our bikes along the beach. We all felt we could have easily spent another week here snorkelling, exploring, and relaxing.

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Pink flamingos

 

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Tortoise breeding center, sorted by age
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Red lagoon

On Saturday morning, Dec. 10th at 5:30 a.m. we hoped in and on (the girls rode in the back) our pickup taxi to catch the 6:00 ferry back to Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. Just as we were about to leave, Graham’s keen eye spotted a Galapagos TT ( not to be confused with the booby). The TT (aka Tilley Tourist) has very distinct markings from the Tilley hat, after which it is named, to the seven pocket travel vest and nine pocket zip off travel pants (never enough room for compact field guides and field glasses). This particular one was a banded TT due to the stripe around its middle, known as a fanny pack.

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Taxi to ferry

 

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Banded TT with fanny stripe at mid section
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Ferry to Santa Cruz – early morning, busy days, sleep when you can

 

Las Grietas, Santa Cruz

This blog post contribution is mainly from Rachel and Alex.

What a pristine and dramatic spot. We left later then expected for the swimming hole as Mum slept in until 10:00 am  with a headache and then we were trying to get on a last minute cruise. Around 2:30 we were off for this amazing spot. First we had to cross the small harbour in a water taxi that took about two minutes and cost 80 cents pp. Once we landed on the other side of the harbour it was time to hit the trail. It took about twenty minutes on a rocky and sandy path to Las Grietas.

 

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Part of trail to Las Grietas lined with cacti

 

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Salt marshes on the way to Las Grietas
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View of Las Grietas

When we arrived at Las Grietas, all five of us were amazed at how pretty it was. Picture two tall cliffs and in between these cliffs a long, narrow pool with clear, deep water. It’s not a surprise both tourists and locals frequent this spot! All but Anna jumped in from the landing – it was cold! We snorkeled about 50 m to get to the first pile of rocks.

 

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Alex jumping off the wharf at Las Grietas

 

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View of Las Grietas from the water

 

Graham, Rachel, and Alex  decided to keep going because apparently there was a really pretty pool on the other side. You had to climb over really slippery rocks which was tricky. The pool was shallow and rocky. The three of them were determined to make it to the very end of the grieta (grotto). In order to do this, you had to dive down and swim through a lava tunnel about two meters long. Luckily there was a rock you could push off to make sure you get all the way through. This next pool wasn’t quite as spectacular as the others, but swimming through the lava tunnel was definitely worth it.

On the way back required swimming through the lava tunnel again, this time without a rock to push off. For Rachel and Alex it was not so smooth. Rachel was under water and started to float to the top, that meant scraping along the rocks before finally making it to the other side. Alex also surfaced and banged her head on the lava rock.  They both felt it was worth the bangs!

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Alex swimming through the lava tunnel right before banging her head

 

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Lava tunnel

 To end our Las Grietas adventure, Anna finally had the guts to jump off the wharf a few times. We were all so proud of her (and so were the other tourists and locals).

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Anna jumping
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Allemande Beach

On the way back we stopped at the Allemande Beach. Anna being the fish she is, was the first and only one to go in.

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Water taxi back to the main wharf at Santa Cruz

Pinzon & La Fe, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands – Dec. 5th

We are REALLY behind on posts due to poor wifi on the Galapagos Islands and adventurous days. So, the Galapagos posts are shared among the family. Thanks to Alex for the bulk of this one…

Our first full day in the Galápagos Islands was amazing. This was a day trip from Santa Cruz to Pinzon and La Fe.  It was filled with snorkelling as well as exploring and walking on lava that is thousands of years old. Wildlife included green turtles, sea lions and their pups, white-tipped sharks, fish, and marine iguanas.

To get to your boat, you have to take a water taxi from the pier for about 30 metres. This costs $1.00 USD each. All the water taxis are lined up and are also a vibrant yellow colour.

Our day started off with an hour and 25 minute boat ride to the small cliff, Sugarbread Rock. My family all sat on the wrong side of the boat, so we got splashed the whole way there. Luckily those nearest the stern were given rain ponchos which helped with the splashing problem. Here we saw many blue-footed boobies. The colour of their feet were amazing! The more vibrant the blue on the feet, the more attractive they are to the other boobies. Half of the world’s blue-footed boobie population is found in the Galápagos. We also saw our very first sea lions. On this giant rock we only saw about three.

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Getting splashed our whole way to and from Pinzon

 

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Leaving Sugarbread Rock where we sa

Our first stop for snorkelling was off an island called Pinzon. Pinzon is an uninhabited island of the southwest coast of Santa Cruz – the main island of all the Islands. The water was absolutely freezing! At this snorkel spot we saw tropical fishes. This included humungous parrot fish (the biggest we have seen in our lives) and lots of mature king angel. Other cool animals we saw were turtles, sharks, boobies, rays, and my favourite… sea lions. I saw about 10 pups and five adults. Our guide, Lenny, mentioned that the sea lion pups were only one – two weeks old. They are the cutest living things on the planet. There were four adult sea lions swimming in the water and one swam about five feet from us. One of the sea lions was the bull male. He was making loud, deep, barking/roaring sounds. Lenny told us not to go close to the bull because he was protecting his babies and the could get very aggresive. We saw about 10 whitetipped sharks. They were all resting on the bottom in this lagoon because there were no waves or currents.

 

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Water at Pinzon looked inviting but was freezing even with wet suits

 

Then it was time to hop out of the freezing water and have a quick snack that consisted of a pastry and a hot cup of hot chocolate. Rachel was so cold she couldn’t hold the cup! Then time for another quick snorkel to see tons of turtles. Rachel and Anna were too cold to swim so they stayed on the boat while the rest of us snorkelled. I saw about 15 sea turtles here. One of the sea turtles even touched Alex.

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One of the many spotted green sea turtles

After our fifteen minute snorkel with the turtles, it was time to jump back onto the boat and have lunch. Lunch was delicous! It was BBQ chicken and rice with mixed vegetables. Yummy, again! After we all finished and waited for Anna to finish her meal we had a 45 minute boat ride to La Fe. Siesta time! Rachel, Anna, and Alex were all out cold on the rocky boat. It’s hard to believe that all three  fell asleep on such a bumpy ride.

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Tired?

 

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Rachel out cold

 

La Fe was incredible. We explored this island for about thirty minutes. We were walking on lava that is thousands of years old. Here we saw hundreds of Marine Iguanas. They were all over the place and you had to watch you step so that you wouldn’t step on one. It was really neat watching them bathe in the sun and then jump from one of the rocks into the ocean. We also some blue footed boobies and a couple of sea lions.

 

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Tina, Rachel, and Alex with a marine iguana

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Blue footed boobies – the bluer the feet, the more attractive to mates

 

 

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Sea lion and marine iguana, sidekicks

 

It was about a 25 minute boat ride back. It was such an amazing and eventful day and we were all ready for sleep.

Quito – Galapagos 

After seven hours in the San Salvador airport (sketchy wifi) and four hours of sleep and a quick breakfast at the Quito Wyndham we headed to the airport for the Galapagos. We were all very excited to be going the Galápagos Islands!

I remember seeing a documentary of the Galapagos when I was a teenager and knew then that I wanted to visit this magical place. This would be the trip of a lifetime with a price  tag to match.

It was here that Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution and natural selection began in the 1830’s. He later refined these and sent shock waves throughout the western world when in 1858 he published  “On the Origin of Species”. More on Darwin, his work, and the  Charles Darwin Centre later.

Galapagos Money Matters:

  • You need to pay $20 US cash pp at the Quito airport as a transit tax to the Galapagos.
  • You need to pay $100 US cash per person as a Parque Nacional Galapagos entrance fee when arriving
  • Currency in Ecuador is the US dollar
  • Foreigners cannot get money out of banks, only ATMs with daily maximums
  • You pay cash for everything – hotels, restaurants, cruises, snorkel trips… the few places that except visa charge an additional 24%

We landed on the small island, Baltra, just off the coast of the most populated island, Santa Cruz. Baltra was a US military base during World War II. The only thing on the island now is the airport. A $1 pp fee for a water taxi to Santa Cruz across a small aqua channel, an hour wait, and a $2 pp bus (versus $18 taxi) and we were in Puerto Ayora. Pulling suitcases along the streets, map reading and a few locals got us to our home for three nights, Planet House. There we had a large room with one double bed and two twins put together for the three girls. We shared the family kitchen. This was very cheap, $280 US total.

 

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Giant Tortoise on road from airport to Puerto Ayora

 

Puerto Ayora is filled with small tour companies, all vying for your business. We booked a day long boat trip with snorkelling for the next day ($525 US) and started talks with two companies about last minute 16 passenger cruises to see some more remote areas.

We finished this day with supper at “Los Kioskos”. Imagine a narrow side street lined with tin-roofed restaurants on both sides. Each night they put out tables in the street and create a restaurant row of sorts. Each place is very similar and they are all trying to get you to eat at their restaurant. The big attraction is the fresh fish and lobster they have sitting out in front to show you the menu of the day. Prices range from $5-$15 per person. This is a cheaper alternative to eating at the main restaurants that are closer to the water on Abenida Charles Darwin.  A combination of grilled chicken, rice, beans, fried plantains, salad, fresh juice and beer totalled $37 USD. We ended up eating here two times. Recently heard you can BYOB to save some additional cash. We’ll try that when we go back.

 

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Los Kioskos – side street turned food court at night

 

 

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Supper on the grill; shrimp and fish on display

 

A good day – only spent $1600 US – CASH!

Belize Odds & Ends – Nov. 8th to Dec. 3rd

Here we are in the San Salvador Airport en route to Ecuador. We thought we would jot a few additional notes about Belize before we start the next chapter…

School – Most children on the Placencia Peninsula including Placencia Village and Seine Bight are not encouraged to attend school after grade 6. Due to travel time? Families need help? Presumably it is like this in the whole country as only 45% graduate from high school.

 

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School AND Hurricane Shelter

 

Bikes and golf carts – Definitely the away to get around Placencia considering parking and the slight breeze it offers.

 

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Rachel and Alex – downtown Placencia

 

Scorpion – Wear shoes indoors at night… the crunch from stepping on this in our bedroom confirms.

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Kayaking around the lagoon – Gave a totally different view on Placencia… lots of dredging, lots of property for sale

Francis, our Guide/Fisher – Spent 7 years in the Belize Ladyville Prison for murdering a 65 year old fisherman on Ambergris Caye who had a safe in his home. He was innocent and exonerated in 2009. Great fisher, beautiful poet, great sense of humour and very kind.

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Belize Central Prison, Ladyville

 

Jellyfish – Saw a few small ones, apparently they don’t sting, except for the one that stung Rachel 😦

Hummingbird Furniture – Made only in Belize and also sold abroad. Made of a resin to withstand the elements, lifetime warranty, ~ $2500 BZD ($1250 USD) for outside table and chairs.

Cacao Farms of Southern Belize – 100’s of family-run organic cacao farms in southern Belize. Most are part of a Central American growers association and many are part of the fair trade network associated with Green and Blacks Cacao of the UK.

Marie Sharpe’s Hot Sauce – A Belizean staple, more popular than ketchup to North Americans. Easy to see operation (and Marie herself) on the farm outside Dangriga.  It comes in many flavours, but a pinky dip set my lips afire!

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The Belize Zoo – Even though animals were rescued/ injured and in a very natural environment, we didn’t like seeing them contained. Some of the animals were: tapirs (national animal), crocs, jaguar, cougar, leopard, the harpy eagle (female looked like an owl), spider monkeys, frigate birds…

 

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Tapir, the national animal

 

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Island for sale, 180,000 – Only 180,000 for these two trees. Apply for a permit to dredge and build this island in the southern inner cayes.

 

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“Island” for sale, $180,000 USD – Anyone want to go splitzies and each get a tree?

 

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Another build an island project

 

Hatchet Caye and Glover’s Atoll – These should be considered for next visit. The first is close to the Silk Cayes for snorkelling/ diving, close to the barrier reef with very comfortable accommodations; the latter is pristine with great snorkelling/great diving, kayaking, close to reef and varied accommodations (3)

 

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Hatchet Caye… another visit

 

 

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THANK YOU, BELIZE!!!!