The first Galapagos excursion we went on was to Garrapatero Beach on Santa Cruz Island. It took about 30 minutes to drive there from Puerto Ayora. On the way we saw some of the highland with its farmland and little villages.
I didn’t really know what to expect once we got to where we were going. I was excited to start exploring the Islands that I had only ever dreamed I would visit. But I was also wondering what this first excursion would be like. Would it be a rough hike, a rocky beach, or would we have to enter the water from a wharf?
It was none of the things I had been picturing. The “hike” was actually a leisurely walk of about 15 minutes down a winding stone walkway. It was on the walk to Garrapatero Beach that we were first introduced to the poison apple tree. The Naturalist Guide asked our group to stop so he could tell us all about it. He also pointed out many different kinds of birds.
The beach reminded me a little bit of some the beaches on Prince Edward Island, an Island off the coast of Canada. Except instead of red sandstone, we saw black volcanic rock peppered with bright red Sally Lightfoot Crabs. This was the first time I had seen volcanic rock and it really intrigued me. The contrast of the black rough rock next to the white smooth sand and the sparkling blue water was beautiful.
Instead of the rocky beach I was expecting we found a white sand beach, perfect for entering the water slowly. I’m the type that likes to take her time getting used to the water. I’ll jump in if I have to, but I would much rather walk out little by little. It didn’t take long to get used to the water, the temperature was very nice for swimming.
Some in the group went swimming while others enjoyed lying on the beach. The Naturalist Guide and Tour Leader took advantage of the time by walking around and chatting with everyone in the group. It was a nice way to get to know them better and ask any questions about what we had seen on the walk to the beach, and on the beach itself.
It seems that everything about the islands is interesting, the people included. Our Tour Leader was from Floreana Island. He told us that when he was growing up there were only a few families living on the island. How many people have had that kind of an experience?
Have you visited Garrapatero Beach? Please share your experience by commenting on this post.