Tim's Galapagos Page

For two months of travel through Peru and Ecuador, I wondered if i would spend the $ and fly out 600 km. to the Galapagos islands.  I had been traveling with Yfat for several weeks, and we finally decided to jump on a plane and head out to the islands.  We decided that we would just get a room for a few days, and relax by the ocean. We wanted to take our time and carefully handpick both the boat and the boat mates that we would be living with for a week. We climbed aboard many boats, and had mucho beers and danced with many travelers before putting together both an excellent group and a great boat. 

Everything is negotiable in the tropics, so never ever book ahead. You might get lucky and end up with some awesome companions for the week, but you could be real sorry! We turned down several excellent deals on real nice luxury boats, just because we didn't want anything to do with some of the wealthy ornery bastards we met. We weren't at the Galapagoes to be pampered with fancy meals and onboard events. We wanted to have maximum time seeing the wildlife on the islands, and in snorkeling the water with fun energetic people. I met lots of folks from other boats who seemed to book blindly with an agent, ending up with a lousy group of rich arrogant lazy dinks, and telling me how much it sucked. Our small close group had three awesome weeks on the islands! And everything can be three times as expensive if you do book ahead.
No telephoto lens needed! You can photograph from two feet away in the Galapagos!

 On the beach where we saw the sea turtle hatchlings getting eaten by the Frigate birds (sad, but Darwinism at its finest!)

Yfat checking out a Blue-footed Boobie up close and personal!
 Yfat saying "hi" to a Blue-Footed Boobie.  Animals were everywhere, and totally unafraid!

Cruising between Islands, we saw this rare Whale Shark!
 Cruising between islands, the captain spotted a very rare Whale Shark lounging near the surface..  He turned the boat around, and we spent the next half hour photographing and just marveling at this huge guy! I took this shot from the top of the boat, looking down at the dingy.




On the dingy with Kathleen and Yfat, headed back to the Mother Ship.
 Yfat (from Israel) and Bridgette (Swiss schoolteacher) on the dingy,
headed back to the boat for lunch!

Climbing back in the dingy after a pre-lunch snorkle
  Exhausted, trying to climb back in the dingy, after some serious snorkeling!  Time for lunch! We snorkeled three or four times every day.  We pushed our naturalist (the guy steering, a local native) to the max!   We all wanted to go, go, go, all the time! We weren't here to relax; we had been doing that for the last three or four months, and would all kick back later in Colombia!  Our poor guide was completely exhausted at the end of every day!  (Thank God we had no yuppie-preppies or slow old fogies along to slow the pace.) We usually sat out on top of the boat every night after dinner and the naturalist talk, just singing, playing guitar, and drinking rum, but were usually asleep by ten every night.  No time for excessive partying or reading (except lots of field guides) on this trip!


Iguana from 3 feet away *

Hundreds of Iguanas everywhere. Totally unafraid of anything!



Our boat for the week

Hanging out, Waiting for Supper! (Yifat (Israel), Tim, Brigette (Switzerland), and Kathleen (California)


Meals were always good, as we had an excellent cook. However, we were always so hungry and exhausted at the end of every day that we would have probably eaten just about anything.

Typical evening sunset during dinner.
 Typical sunset every evening during dinner on the boat.  $55 bucks a day included everything (except booze, so bring rum!)





The Crew; Guide, Captain and Cook


We snorkled at least three or four different times every day, and swam every chance we could, including every time we got into or out of the dingy.

These guys would just come right up to me without fear!

After spending a week on a boat  ($55/day; everything included, but bring your own rum!) touring and visiting most of the major islands, seven of us hired a boat and went out to one of the outlying islands (Isla Isabela, see map below). There we stayed in cabins right on the ocean for about $3 a day.  We were the only "gringos" on the island, and for meals we had to stop by the outdoor cantina several hours before mealtime and let them know how many would be coming by!

We spent almost a week out hiking around the Island everyday.......


Tim (top left) with friends near summit rim of old volcano in the Galapagos

One day we decided to take the long horseback ride up to an ancient volcanic rim (see photo above; I'm top left).  We spent a few hours getting there, then several hours on foot exploring the cinder fields.  The place was like a lunar landscape. The whole day (horses, truck for the day, and guide) cost us $10US each!!!

On the way back, both Anne (bottom right in photo) and I had fast horses. After trotting several times, she took off in a gallop.  Seeing how it was my second time on a horse, I decided to race her! Yee-haw! The closer I got, the faster she went. While blasting through a small mud bog, my ass slowed down abruptly, but I kept going!  I was airborne!  Luckily I held on to the reigns, so that dude didn't get away.  If he had, he would have gone all the way down the mountain without me!  Stupid horse!

Two years earlier I had a slower horse on some backcountry roads in coastal Costa Rica.  That dude just would not go, until I got him on the beach.  There he went like heck.


On a late afternoon hike to a deserted beach, we watched this sea turtle hatchling crawl mysteriously out of its nest under the sand. As it made its way towards the safety of the sea, the waves kept pushing it back on shore. We watched the struggle for about 10 minutes, untill eventually the little guy made it past the breakers. Our guide explained how this fella only had about a two percent chance of ever reaching adulthood, but we were so psyched to see him swimming away to join his siblings. As we were walking away, we looked back one last time and saw a frigate bird circling above where the turtle had been. Sure enough the frigate swooped down and scooped up the tasty morsel!

Afterwards, Yfat and I headed north to Columbia!

Click Here to visit my COLOMBIA page!

Next stop for me and Yifat; Colombia!




Terraquest Virtual Galapagos

Charles Darwin Research Station

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Click here to visit Lonely Planet's GALAPAGOS page

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Note; sorry about the poor photo quality.  These images are all from 4x6 photographs I took, then scanned in on my $99 scanner, then compressed as small as possible to upload to my ISP's server. The original images are much nicer.

Page created and updated by tim d -- August 1999 (updated April 10, 2009