We left the hotel at 6am to return to the airport to catch our flight to the Galápagos. I got my first glimpse of Cotopaxi, which is now smoking. It had a series of small eruptions in the past year which caused the park to be closed, but now it is reopened up to the base camp (the “Refugio”). At the airport, we found out our Galápagos flight was delayed 5 hours. The silver lining: it was a great opportunity for me to finish my homework!
Chris sat across from me and twiddled his thumbs.
As compensation for the delayed flight, the airline provided us with a free lunch from one of the restaurants in the airport. I heard $12 per person, and Chris heard $12 for both of us, so he went for the cheaper meal. It turns out that I was right. 🙂 Fortunately, my eyes are consistently bigger than my stomach, so Chris reaped the benefit of my leftovers.
Finally, we boarded the flight. The plane made a 40 minute stop on the coast in Guayaquil, which is actually the most populous city in Ecuador, to let some folks off and others on. When we finally landed on San Cristóbal Island, it was with a hard thud, probably because of the short runway.
We paid the $100 cash entrance fee at the tiny airport before meeting our guide, Maritza, who loaded our group of nine into pickup trucks that drove us a few minutes down the road to our hotel, Hosteria Pimampiro. After showing Kara and Jon and Derrick, Scarlet, and kids to their rooms, the owner led us past the pool and up a few flights of stairs to our room.
With a high, vaulted ceiling, the large room held a king sized bed and two twin sized beds, presumably for our imaginary friends. There was a private balcony outside the room that had a view out over the town to the ocean, and we could see a volleyball court across the street that was full of children playing.
We reconvened with the rest of our group in the courtyard to walk down to the shop from which we are to rent snorkeling equipment tomorrow. Maritza walked us down the main street, which was right on the ocean, and told us about the sea lions that were lounging there. She pointed out the male, much larger than the females and with a large lump on the back of his head. She also explained that they believe that mothers recognize their babies through their unique voice. Indeed, there was a lot of barking going on.
We continued to the shop, stopping to see another lazy sea lion on some rocks, an iguana, and some crabs crawling around.
After being fitted for wetsuits, masks, and flippers, Maritza recommended a few restaurants for dinner and sent us on our way. We decided to get cervezas (beers) and burgers at a little place called Cri’s before heading back to our room for the night.