On Day 5, we woke up bright and early and walked from our hotel to the Charles Darwin Research Center. On the way, we saw people cleaning fish and lots of pelicans trying to get a bite! MINE! MINE! MINE! (gotta love Finding Nemo!)
Here we saw more tortoises, iguanas, and birds! One of the saddest stories we heard was about Lonesome George. He was the last tortoise of his kind and sadly passed away in 2012. It always breaks my heart to hear about animals going extinct or being close to extinction!
On a lighter note, we met Diego the tortoise who came from the San Diego Zoo in California. Diego has been responsible for helping “make” over 1,000 baby tortoises that have been released into the wild in hopes to grow his species! Apparently the 2 other male tortoises at the Research Center have only been responsible for about 500 tortoises each… Go Diego! haha
After the Research Center and some free time, we boarded a boat to Isla San Cristobal! I survived another boat ride, got settled into the hotel, and got ready for a downhill bike ride and snorkeling adventure! On our way to lunch, our guide took us by the beach reserved for sea lions. I thought there were a lot on the beach during the day, but even more found their way there at night! We ate lunch as a group and learned that Ecuadorians put popcorn in their soup. It wasn’t bad!
Check out these babies!!!
We got fitted for our snorkeling gear, picked out our bike helmets, and rode in taxis to the top of a mountain. We got some incredible views of San Cristobal from the top and were able to see Kicker Rock in the distance. Kicker Rock is where we went snorkeling the next day.
We picked out our bikes, got in a single file line, and started our descent. I’ve ridden a bike my whole life, but we don’t exactly have hills in New Jersey! Mine started going a little too fast for my taste right from the start. I’m pretty sure they needed to replace the bike brakes when I was done with it, haha. We stopped at La Casa del Ceibo to check out a tree house, cave, rope bridge, and lots of ducks.
After the much needed stop, we hopped back on our bikes and continued towards Darwin Bay for snorkeling. We dropped our bikes off at a few bike racks, grabbed our snorkeling gear from our truck taxi, and walked along a path to Darwin Bay.
The trek to the snorkeling spot was a bit of a hike, but definitely worth it once we got there! While snorkeling, I saw a ton of fish and SEA TURTLES!! This was my first time ever seeing a sea turtle in the wild!! I was seriously so incredibly excited and in awe of such a beautiful creature. Some of our group also got to see sea lions, but I was too focused on the sea turtles, haha.
When we got out of the water, we were immediately attacked by mosquitoes! It was pretty miserable and bug spray on wet skin/clothes doesn’t work too well. I spent the walk back to the bikes swatting bugs away left and right, haha.
We dropped our bikes off at the bike shop and made our way back to the hotel for the night. On the way, we stopped by the sea lion beach and saw a ton of sea lions!
I took a few videos throughout the day and made a short YouTube video. At the very end, I have a clip from the sea lion beach where you can hear them all “talking” to each other. Such an interesting sound! Enjoy!