Ecuador 4: Salinas to the Galapagos Islands

Taking advantage of their early, first place departure from the pit stop, Simon and Ang had a quick breakfast before they once again jumped in a collective taxi to head down from the mountains.  Ang had developed headaches from the altitude, so the timing was perfect.

The truck ride down the hill was along the winding Salinas road and caused Ang to be motion sick once they finally arrived in Guaranda.  There, after Ang recovered, the team raced to the bus terminal and boarded the first bus to Guayaquil.

The ride took the team through some spectacular mountain scenery and small quaint looking mountain villages.  The bus driver seemed adverse to any sort of speed, even when the road was clear of the thick fog. However, once the low plain was reached, the bus picked up speed, passing most traffic as it raced west to the coast to make up lost time.

Guayaquil suburb Stilt houses outside of Guayaquil
Roundabout art

Arriving in Guayaquil, a hot dusty and dangerous port city, Simon and Ang took a taxi to a hostel in the centre.  There, afer checking into their accommodation, they took a short walk along the boardwalk and had a dinner that included a big ball of plantain and cheese.   After completing this challenge, the team were given their next clue and were directed to make their way to the Galapagos Islands.

Iguanas escape people in a central park of Guayaquil A tall ship on the waterfront
Guayaquil firestation The reason why Guayaquil is dangerous – the kids learn young

Early the next morning the team raced out to the airport where they checked into the first available flight to the Galapagos Islands.  The flight was rapidly completed and the team’s plane landed at Baltra airport.  Strict entry formalities were completed and fees paid.  The team boarded the shuttle to the Itbacca channel where they then boarded a ferry for the short ride, complete with sea lions, across to Santa Cruz.  Once there, they were the first and only team on the first bus to depart for Puerto Ayora.

Arriving in Puerto Ayora in the hot early afternoon, the team were given the task of finding suitable accommodation.  After walking around, the team located Galapagos Dreams, a small boutique hostel run by the super friendly local upcoming business identity, Jonathon.  The team shared lunch with Jonathon and were then given their next clue.  They were to find and book a cruise with the Eden boat.

With the town of Puerto Ayora mostly closed as it was the day before New Year’s Eve, the team settled for the first open agency recommended by the guidebook.  They rapidly completed arrangements and agreed a payment plan as the ATMs on the island all had small withdrawal limits.

With this task completed, the team had drinks with four members of Team Canada.  They then all returned to Galapagos dreams where they climbed to the roof of the main building via a wonky homemade ladder and enjoyed the second last evening of the year.

On the roof of Galapagos Dreams

To be continued…

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