Today was day 2 of our trip to the Galapagos. Since we don’t like to book our hotels in advance, we had to spend part of the day looking for a hotel to stay in starting tomorrow, Easter Sunday.
I have to admit, I was almost starting to regret our strategy, because so much of the town was closed yesterday that I was worried we wouldn’t be able to find a nice place with a room available, but I’m happy to say that we’ve now found several nice places with rooms for around $20 per person.
We haven’t decided where we’ll end up yet, but I’ll be sure and post that as part of tomorrow’s writeup.
So we both spent the morning working, and an hour or so of the afternoon scouting hotels. Afterwards, we walked north (right if you’re facing the water from town) to a nice little beach across from the university (an affiliate of UNC Chapel Hill) and hung out there, alternating between snorkeling and just enjoying the view. We’ve noticed that a lot of tourists here are really sunburnt, so we hung out under the shade of a tree near the back.
It was a hot day, and the cold water was a nice relief. I had to admit, when I first waded in, I almost chickened out and didn’t go under, but I ended up swimming for at least an hour, getting in and out multiple times.
We had fortunately brought a snorkel with us that we stumbled across at a sporting goods store in Quito – $11 for mask and snorkel. I already had a pair of goggles, and we used my gopro hero 2 to shoot some photos and video.
Underwater visibility was not great, I’m guessing because the waves were stirring up the sand. Still, this was a great beach, and we had a very good time for zero dollars.
Plus, we found out that the vendors on the beach sell chicken empanadas for a dollar. Considering that most of the restaurants we found yesterday wanted at least $14 for a meal that would normally cost about $6, this was a nice find, and will be helpful for our quest to see the Galapagos for somewhere under ten million dollars. The empanadas were delicious, by the way – I ended up having two.
After several snorkeling sessions on the first beach, we packed up and walked further north, following a sign that said “Cabo del Horno”, which is apparently “Cape Horn” in english. I thought it meant “Cape Oven”, but that shows the quality of my spanish. At one point, the path just plain ended, and we had to look for a few seconds before we saw a pedestrian-only trail off to the right.
This trail was marked by little white as a nesting ground for aquatic iguanas, and we either saw a great many of these along the way, or just some other lizard.
This path was a nice little walk of probably about 8 minutes.
Cape Horn beach was pristine, and even nicer than the first beach, though it had no shade. We put our stuff down and hopped in the water, and as soon as I looked below the surface, I saw that I was in the middle of a school of fish. Then about 10 seconds later, I saw that I was right next to a sea turtle. And then about 10 seconds after that, we found yet another sea turtle. We followed this second one around for quite some time, watching him eat things and generally be amazing.
Now we’re back at the hotel, in the air-conditioning, getting ready for dinner and to meet up with a friend from Canoa for drinks. Given our turtle adventure today, I already consider this Galapagos trip worthwhile, and I’m excited for what we’ll see when we actually engage in some kind of organized activity, rather than stumbling onto wonders by pure chance.
Photo is of Cape Horn beach from the water.