Rise and Shine
In order to get to the Santa Cruz II, most of our guests start the day early in the morning. Usually everyone’s trip begins in Quito at around 4 or 5 am. This gives them enough time to have breakfast and be at the airport two hours prior to the flight. Once at the airport, some mandatory steps must be followed before boarding the plane. Galapagos is a special case, not only must passengers check in, but they must also undergo a special baggage check to make sure that no forbidden items are introduced into the fragile Galapagos ecosystem. Finally, special taxes and access permit to the Galapagos National Park are paid and we are ready to go! Once you’re comfortably sitted inside the plane there is one more stop in Guayaquil before going to Baltra. There’s a 45-minute wait without getting off the plane to drop off and pick up passengers before continuing your flight to the Enchanted Islands, located only half an hour away from Guayaquil. It sounds like a lot, but guests soon find out that Galapagos is worth the trip!
Once in Baltra’s airport, the scenery changes and all of a sudden you know you are in a completely different place. Guests will go through the Galapagos National Park control booths, before heading to baggage claim. There is only one baggage claim at the airport and even though your bags may already be there, remember to wait for the green light from the police officer that signals you can pick up your luggage. First, a drug-sniffing dog has to do its job, literally sniffing and walking over everyone’s bags – always an interesting sight for all those newcomers to the archipelago. The Santa Cruz II naturalist guides will already be outside waiting with a big sign so that our guests have an easy time finding them. They will guide them to a bus that will drop them off at the pier after a 10-minute ride. The Santa Cruz II dinghies will be waiting at the dock for the final stretch of the arrival trip to board one of Galapagos finest expedition vessels. Once in the Santa Cruz II, guests check in, setup in their cabin and participate in an emergency drill. By this point, all mandatory navigation processes have been fulfilled and guests can relax and get ready for an adventurous vacation. But first, guests enjoying a delicious gourmet lunch prepared by the Santa Cruz II experienced chef.
Galapagos is Worth the Trip… And Then Some
It’s a seemingly tedious process that of getting to the Galapagos. But we have to say the anticipation of visiting one of the most unique archipelago’s in the world and the beauty of the changing scenery make up for having to wake up early. On this occasion, after finally boarding the Santa Cruz II, something amazing happened – not that amazing isn’t an everyday thing in the Galapagos Islands. On the very first day, during the very first excursion, and the very first water activity, we were all incredibly fortunate to be able to swim with a bunch of baby sea lions (a Galapagos Big15 species) at the beach on Punta Pitt. It was quite a refreshing surprise after such a hectic morning! We were met by 5 curious pups from the local sea lion colony. It was really hard to tell who was more excited about seeing each other, our guests or the pups. We all enjoyed the playful display the sea lions where putting for us. Some were flipping and rolling around in the water, others tried to bite our flippers, and one of them was even playing with a bone it had found at the bottom of the sea. It was such a candid and joyful moment that soon enough we all forgot about the long morning. Getting to such a remote location as the Galapagos can be a handful, but smooth as the process is, it’s all worth it once your first wildlife encounter is with the archipelago’s favorite animal, the sea lion. It may seem like a moment hard to surpass, but in the Galapagos, every day is full of surprises. Just come, and see for yourself.