Montanita is a small costal town in the south of Ecuador and was our first stop after crossing the border from Peru. In the 60’s it was a hippie town and over the decades it became a popular destination for surfers from around the world. Its also called ‘Little Amsterdam’ for for its tolerance of marijuana which you can smell everywhere in the town. There are a lot of expats from Argentina, American, Australia, Canadian and Germany who fell in love with the beautiful beaches and the rustic houses. We only stayed here for a few nights to enjoy the multicultural atmosphere and the party live before we moved on to Quito to catch our flight to the Galapagos Islands.
Unfortunately due to a bad stomach issue Sybille only saw our bathroom in Quito and I decided to keep her company while I ate crisp and burgers (I am very supportive) therefore there are no pics from Quito however we have a few more visits planned so I am sure we will add some later
A 3 hour flight brought us to the Galapagos which are 13 volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean on the height of the equator. The islands are famous for their endemic species and were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle who’s journey we crossed on our Antarctic trip. The Galapagos islands are another place we only knew from National Geographic on TV and a trip to this remote islands was one one of the big highlights on our journey. They are located in both, the northern and southern hemispheres and were first formed here at least 8 million and possibly up to 90 million years ago,.
We arrived on Baltra Island and spent 2 nights in Santa Cruz, the capital if the island. Right from the minute we landed we felt like in a different world. You find creatures that call this island home, many of them are found now where else in the world. I was amazed by the Marine Iguanas which act as though humans do not exist and would just be a bunch of annoying papparazi. These animals can stay under water up to 10 minutes and when they come up they spit out the salt through their nose and lay on each other to warm up. We met sea lions everywhere in town and they are not shy either. They seemed like they could not care less that we were stalking them.
The local fish market was one of my favourite places, where sea lions and some pelicans were begging for food and just next to it you got served fresh lobster and fish.
But this adventure comes at a high price and the Galapagos probably beats every other place we have visited so far. Just to give you an idea of the expenses here, a margarita pizza costs 32 USD, a bottle of water is 3 USD and on top you pay 12% tax.
Our diving trip starts from the island San Cristobal so this morning we crossed with a ferry (little bit shocked at the prices and, 30 USD per person 1 way) and headed over to this smaller island. It is a quieter place that Santa Cruz however it is so impressive that you have the sea lions laying around the town.
Regardless of the price the Galapagos is a truly fantastic experience and we are looking forward to the start of our week long diving trip tomorrow where we head to the northern islands of Darwin and Wolf.