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Ruby and Marcello's travel blog

Galapagos Islands and through to Colombia

ECUADOR | Sunday, 25 December 2011 | Views [1010]

Galapagos Islands

    

Ok so our time in Galapagos consisted of two sections; first was the 5 day tour and second was an additional 3 days on the islands to chill out and see other things (this is what was recommended to us by the woman at our hostel in Guayaquil).

The tour as AMAZING! The animals- we saw sea lions, marine iguanas, land iguanas, penguins, turtles, range of boobies (these are a type of bird for all of you with a dirty mind!), dolphins, sting rays, manta rays, tropical fish, star fish. In fact not only did we see these animals but we got to snorkel with them (all except the land igunana that is because I don't think they'd particularly like going in the water). On one occasion we were snorkeling with a group of sea turtles while a baby sea lion played around us. At one point the sea lion, jealous of the attention we were paying to the turtles would come right up to our faces- one practically kissed Marcello!

Also with the tour the boat was very luxurious and the other passengers were very friendly. Only bad thing was on the last night when the boat was rocking a bit too much and made a majority of people sea sick. There was 5 year old girl with her family on the tour and apparently she threw up onto her dinner plate and her mother quickly whipped it off the table out of sight before too many people saw.

After the tour we spent 1 night on Isla Isabella and 2 nights on Santa Cruz Isla. We were meant to stay on Isla Isabella for longer (it was recommended as the most beautiful place in the islands to stay) bt to us it seemed like a bit of a shit hole, plus there was no ATM and we didn't have much cash with us so we only just got off the island back to Santa Cruz without having to do a Western Union money transfer to get ourselves out of the tricky situation. We went to a beautiful beach on Santa Cruz which made the whole experience on Isabella more bearable.

 

One of the main problems with the tour finishing was realising we had to go back to thinking for ourselves (we'd had all activities, food etc organised for us) and we had to go back to speaking our terrible broken Spanish. Took about a week to get back into things.

Crossing the border from Ecuador to Colombia

So our plan to get from Quito (Ecuador) to Cali (Colombia) was as follows:

Taxi from Quito hostel to bus terminal

Bus from terminal to Tulcan, near the border

Go through border to cross to Colombia (two sets of immigration with a 100m walk between them)

Taxi from Colombian border to Ipiales near border

Bus from Ipiales to Cali

Taxi from Cali bus terminal to hostel

However, things never go as planned in Latin America.

Firstly when we got to the Ecuadorian border there was a problem with the computer system there and there were hundreds of people waiting to go through who'd been there half the day. Immigration was requesting everyone get a photocopy of the photo page and of the page with their Ecuadorian entry stamp from their passport. Then they would let about 5 people through every half an hour or so. The crowd were pretty pissed off and ended up breaking the glass on the door into immigration because they were pushing so hard on it. We decided to go back to Tulcan and spend the night there and come back in the morning. Our hotel room (granted only $10 per night) smelt disgusting and had to toilet seat. Food in the area was equally horrible but for me the worst experience was the market down the street selling Christmas paraphernalia. Most of the knick knacks were uttering sounds of Christmas carols. Marcello commented on how his mother would be in heaven at this very market.

The next day we got across the border fine but then our bus to Cali took 3 hours more than it was meant to (typical of these routes as there are landslides and terrible damage to the roads all along the way).

Once we got to Cali we got in a taxi, got around the corner from the terminal and thent he driver kicked us out of the taxi because he didn't know where the hostel was. After being in transit for 14 hours that was incredibly annoying

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