Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heading to the G's.. Galapagos Islands that is

I chose B!

On Sunday, I packed all of my things (which was SAD, because I fell in love with the EcoResort at Kamala.. my students.. my trainers.. my tranquil yet fiesta-fide life there) and headed to Guayaquil at 11AM. It started out a bit rocky, as I got to the bus terminal and ALL of the Guayaquil bus tickets had been booked for the entire day as of 10AM.. but lucked out and got a van ride for $10.. it was shorter, safer (I’ve been hearing many bad stories from other travelers about the buses getting hijacked recently), and it dropped me off directly at the airport!

When I got to the airport in Guayaquil (the one everyone has to go through to get to the Galapagos), I went to the main airline ‘AeroGal’. They gave me horrible news, and said the tickets were booked solid until Thursday (OH FAAABULOUS, so I have to stay in Guayaquil until Thursday?! You’re kidding me?).. so they pointed me in the direction of ‘TAME’ airline.. which I didn’t have much hope for when walking in.

SUCCESS! I got a ticket for the next morning, Monday at 10AM, and a return flight to Quito on June 13th for $355. Sound expensive? I know, it hurt a little! But that is the normal rate for LOW season, high season which starts on the 15th is about $50 more.

I arrived in the Galapagos, took the bus-ferry-bus combo to get to Puerto Ayora (the main port for finding a cruise tour) and found a $10 a night hotel. Not too shabby, loud (because of everyone slamming their doors.. and waking my sick butt up in the middle of the night), no toilet paper (weird! I know), and WIFI : ). I was sick as a dog when I arrived.. and have been gradually been getting worse and worse (I haven’t even been here 48 hours!!! Ugh).

I immediately dropped my things off, and began roaming the streets to look for tour agencies.. there were MANY! A guy rolled up on his bike and started speaking to me in Spanish, I asked him where to find the boats so I can talk to them and arrange a tour. He told me that he has a friend at a tour agency and took me there. Well, this friend sucked.. I would have to say that he gave me the worst prices for cruises of everyone I ended up talking to. The guy on the bike introduced himself (Hernan) and told me he owned a cafĂ©/restaurant down the street called .. Hernan’s, and told me to drop by sometime.

After not having much success with the 8 tour agencies I walked into.. I was a bit bummed and pondering what to do now. I talked to 2 guys who had recently booked a pretty sweet deal through a guy in Quito, and they gave me his business card and I was honestly about to give up and go e-mail him!!! On my way back to the hotel, I am about to cross the street, look up, and see Hernan talking to a friend and waving me over. WOW, his restaurant is super nice.. not what I expected! Hernan only speaks Spanish, lucky me.. I stayed and chatted with them for at least 2 hours over coffee, and unfortunately didn’t discover Byron’s English fluency until hour 2.. they made me suffer speaking Spanish for an hour!!! But I did it, I suppose I’m getting better.. they didn’t take off running or anything : ).

Coffee AND talking was a horrible idea, toward the end of hour 2, I was miserable.. wanted to take a nap (coulnd’t.. A.) because I’ve had insomnia for the past 2 days B.) stupid caffeine), needed to find food, needed to talk to the owner of a boat they directed me to, SO MANY NEEDS.. needed an ATM.. the list goes on and on, and miserable hardly describes what I was feeling!

First order of business, food. CHECK, found a street with the cheapest food around.

Second order, CRUISE! The best way to see all of the islands and get the most out of the Galapagos is through a boat tour where you sleep on the boat while it takes you island to island. I dropped in Eden Yacht’s office, and asked for prices. I decided I was only going to do the 4 day cruise, because I’ve never ever been on a boat for that long.. I bought motion sickness pills.. but I’m a bit nervous about how it would be especially since I already feel like crap!! So we decided on the price of $600 for 4-days on a FIRST CLASS boat.. walking in there, I had no idea it was a first class boat!! My friends Joss & Ness whom I had met in Colombia, booked a tour with a boat a class size down for 4 days, and I think they paid about $750 for it.. so I was very much pleased and happy that my plan was working out!!

Third order, ATM. Pay for that baby!

Lastly, the failed siesta.

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