Galapagos tortoises can live to be more than 100 years old! (Lisa Jagielski)
Our van arrived to take us to the airport and I met my fellow travelers. As it turned out I was the only single traveller. In addition to the Sage family, there were 2 other families, making the total on our tour 11. We arrived at the Quito airport where we met our guide, Fabricio. At first I was a little surprised at how young he looked. He turned out to be an awesome guide, incredibly knowledgable and very enthusiastic. He helped us get our bags checked in then as we waited for our flight he told us about himself and had us all telling each other about ourselves. Unfortunately our flight was delayed by several hours. We finally left Quito, stopped at Guyaquil and continued onward to Baltra. The Baltra airport was another culture shock. Our luggage was layed out under a pavillion and once they opened the gate it was a free for all to find your luggage. From there it's a 10 minute bus ride to a 5 minute ferry ride to another 45 minute bus ride to the town of Puerto Ayora. Our group was split, staying in 2 different hotels. I stayed at the Hotel Red Booby. We'd had a trip to the Darwin Center planned but due to our late arrival that was out for today. It seems a requirement for Galapagos travel is the ability to be patient and flexible. We took the water taxi to Finch Bay Ecotel for lunch (at 4 PM). At the docks we got our first real views of the sea lions sprawled out all over all of the anchored boats. On the short walk to the hotel we got our first look at Marine Iguanas. There were hundreds of young males sunning themselves on a stone wall. Fabricio enthusiatically pointed out all the plant life surrounding us. (I'm not sure I remember the difference between a white, black and button mangrove though.) We ate a several course meal, all of the food was delicious, on the patio, with herons and finches landing all around us. Fabricio was able to coax a finch to land on his hand! After lunch (dinner?) Fabricio took us on a tour of the town, showing us the best places to eat or shop or party. After that I did some shopping and some people watching at the park near the dock. There was a volley ball game and what seemed like a big party going on. Then went to the supermarket for some snacks, then to bed, the next day was to be very busy.
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