Read part one here.
We set out on the first expedition for the day, a hike to the summit of Bartolome Island. This is one of the newer volcanic formed islands in the Galapagos that has almost no life. Walking uphill on a good wooden walkway was like entering on another planet. The landscape could have easily been backdrop for a Star Trek episode because of the formations of lava and cinder cones. The weather was scorching hot but well worth the hike since the view from the top overlooking the Sullivan Bay was simply breathtaking. This Island is one of the most visited and photographed in the Galapagos because of Pinnacle Rock, a huge black eroded lava formation from a volcanic eruption.
Later that morning we all headed out for our last snorkeling session near Bartolome Island. The beach is packed with Sally Lightfoots, a crab with a colorful red shell that was sitting everywhere. After getting into the water, it didn’t take me a minute to be encircled by a big schools of fish. It was so unreal, as if you were at a giant aquarium observing an orchestrated show. This was by far my favorite snorkel session because it was the first time I really got to swim with penguins. Surprisingly, they were fast and extremely playful creatures. (Sorry, I don’t have an underwater camera) I will remember this experience as the most amazing thing I did on this entire trip.
On our last day, the wildlife madness continued. It took us about 2 hours to get from Santa Cruz to San Cristobal. The ride was pretty long and scary, but exciting since we spotted some dolphins along the way. San Cristobal is literally teaming with sea lions. They are just everywhere! The entire harbor is dominated by sea lions roaming wherever they want—on the road, benches, under trees and even on fishing boats. Seeing them up close made me fall in love with them. Because of that, you will notice that I am posting a lot of sea lion photos. They are just too cute but they sure do stink!
We stopped by the Interpretation Center and far exceeds the more popular Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz. Just a 15-minute walk from the main town, the displays focus on conservation, climate and geology as well as some history of the Galápagos. It’s just weird that no staff were present during our visit.
All in all the Galapagos has been one of the most interesting places I have ever visited. Not just the scenery that is stunning but the ridiculous amount of wildlife in the island is incredible as well. A trip to the Galapagos is a journey of a lifetime for many people, and it’s one of those few places you need to put first on your travel list.