Saturday, February 12, 2011

Three Enjoyable Hikes on the Galapagos

The hike to Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz Island began just outside the town of Port Arroyo (Puerta Ayora).  Tortuga Bay is often described as having the nicest beach in the Galapagos and we were not disappointed.  The hike to the beach was about 45 minutes and then there was additional hiking on the beach.  The visit to the bay was not on our tour boat schedule, but we were glad we took the time to do it.
The walk began through some interesting flora.

We could hear the ocean.

Everybody shares the space - humans and the marine iguanas.

Marine iguanas enjoying the sun.

A forest (?) of Giant Cacti (Opuntia)      
The colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs were everywhere.
The hike at Punta Suarez on Espanola Island is a bird watcher's paradise since there are so many birds and they are not afraid of humans.  However the walk is over stones and boulders and you must stay alert as to where you are walking (the birds are a distraction.) Most birds were raising their young and some of the birds are shown below.  This hike was guided by a naturalist from our tour boat.
As said, one had to be alert as we hiked.

Blue footed boobies and iguanas share the real estate.

A Nazca Boobie poses.
A Galapagos Hawk allows us to approach very closely. 
A good looking bird.

A blow hole caused by the surging ocean.

 The hike up Frigate Bird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas) on San Cristobal Island was preceded by a visit to the park interpretive center.  The center has an interesting exhibit about the people history of the Galapagos Islands and the challenges faced by the Islands. We had a hot day and the following hike up to the top of the hill was also challenge, but the views were worth it.  This hike was done on our last day on the islands and was not a part of the boat tour.
A view that includes the paths down from the hill

Julie enjoying the breeze and view.

A large statue of Charles Darwin needed a companion.

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