Galápagos Islands: Welcome to San Cristôbal!

After our successful and enjoyable flight from Isla Baltra to Isla San Cristobâl, it was just a 5-minute taxi ride to our home for the next four nights, the Dolphin House. Once again, it helped to be able to speak some Spanish, as the young lady who checked us in did not have much English. She did show us on a map where we were in relation to the popular sites, and pointed out other areas of interest.

Also once again, no elevator on the property, so we had to lug our bags up a few flights of fairly steep and extremely narrow outdoor stairs, which for some perverse reason also took a 90-degree turn at one point. The room was not as nice as the one we had on Isla Santa Cruz; the room was a little smaller, breakfast was not included (but we could use the kitchen and fridge if we wanted), and it had the dreaded “gringo killer” electric shower in the bath.

Dolphin House
A clean room, with enough space for two and our luggage.

These shower heads are very popular in Ecuador, as it saves you from having to plumb a hot water line or to install a hot water heater. The water is heated by electric coils in the shower head as needed. Having an electric appliance in the shower can be a bit tense, especially if the lights dim every time you use it. You can almost hear the calls of “Dead man rinsing!”

The WidowMaker brand Electric Shower Head.

Still, it did have WiFi and four nights for two for $216 (taxes included) in a clean hotel central to everything is still a great bargain.

We quickly did some unpacking, and we were ready to go out and get our first look at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the only city of any consequence on the island.

A beautiful natural cove for the harbor.

It didn’t take us long to see that once again, finding wildlife was not going to be a problem. In fact, the rocks were full of iguanas, crabs and birds of different types, and the beaches and surf were full with seals.

Crabs and lizards on the rocks
Seals along the beach in the center of town
Rita asking a local about bus schedules

Puerto Moreno is definitely smaller than Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz, and with fewer options for bars and restaurants – although still plenty to choose from, and we never had a bad meal. They do have a very nice maleçon, with a wooden walkway for better viewing of marine life, some colorful displays, and a collection of national flags.

Wooden beach walkway
Flags on display. Note from the rocks, evidence of a large bird po(o)pulation.
Seals on the rocks, seen from the boardwalk.

Since we arrived in late afternoon, we decided to once again to take it easy and stroll about town a bit, picking a nice spot on the water to have a late lunch/early dinner and a few drinks while we watched the sun go down.

Saying hello to Darwin
Rita went with a shrimp and fries dish, I opted for the seafood medley with extra tentacles.

The restaurant where we had our relaxed and prolonged dinner was called “Nativo”, and we were able to enjoy our food and drinks at an outdoor table under a thatch umbrella, watching the seals playing on the beach and honking noisily to each other.

At one point, we witnessed a little drama as a juvenile seal came crying out of the sea looking for its mother – and making a mistake on the way.

Real life dramatic performance of “Are You My Mother?”

On the way back to our hotel we also found a small convenience store just across the street where we were able to get some of basics – bottled water, Manicho bars (chocolate and peanuts), a diet coke, and a bottle of rum. All of the food groups. Back in our room we toasted a great start to our next set of adventures in the Galápagos as we planned how we would continue to explore without shelling out a pile of cash to guides or tour companies.

Our first stop? Well of course it has to be the Centro de Interpretacion, or Interpretation Center. Read all about it in the next post, “Galápagos Islands: Interpretation Center”.

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