Galapagos (17/08/16 - 09/09/16)
Priscilla was stored at a hostel near Quito, Naomi flew to New Zealand for a family event, time for Martin to look up one of his bucket list destinations.
In two and a half hours the Airbus A319 brought me from Quito to Baltra island where the main Airport of Galapagos is located. After paying the US $100 entrance fee to the National Park Office I was allowed to leave the Airport. The rustic shuttle bus carried me and many other visitors to the Itabaca channel which divides Baltra from Santa Cruz Island. After a two minute boat ride I landed on Santa Cruz Island and boarded another shuttle bus which took me to Ayora the main town in the Archipelago. Ayora is the central hub for boat cruises, hostel/hotel accommodation, all sorts of tourist amenities and also the Charles Darwin Research station.
My main interest on Galapagos was wildlife photography and constrained by non existing personal transport and limited camera equipment it was a challenging undertaking. I also opted not to book a boat cruise which is the convenient way to see different islands in comfort, instead visiting San Christobal and Isabel individually, staying a week on each island and setting my own pace for what to see and when to see it.
All places and wildlife shown in these pictures are accessible without guide or organized tour, it might require a bit more walking and organizing but it is possible.
In conclusion, Galapagos these days attracts a whole variety of visitors, it seems to be the current trend to tick boxes and increasing visitor numbers tell a story, just be prepared that not every visitor values the beauty of the Archipelago and its wildlife as they should.
Galapagos is still a unique place, there are not many places on earth where wildlife can be seen from a really close proximity without any fear of humans, for wildlife enthusiasts it's still a top destination under and above the water.