Galapagos on a shoestring – San Cristobal –
On my trip in America from the North to the South in a not proper order I had the idea that if I am here I should see the Galapagos Islands because I don’t know when and if I ll come back.
Even if I figured out that I earlier on this trip obviously lived not on a shoestring for a while and killed quite a bit of my budget what I realized some time later I still wanted to go to and see this place from my bucket list. The lucky situation that I get cheaper flights might be a bit helpful to save some money but finally these are not that much cheaper then regular tickets.
The spending money starts already on the mainland when you have to pay 20usd for a transit card I am still not sure what this is for. After you paid you get this card which you better keep with you because they want to see it when you ll leave the island. I guess they keep track is for how long on the islands. When you made it over you have to pay another 100usd national park entrance fee. I flew into San Cristobal airport, which is so close to town that you can save the money for the taxi and can have a nice walk to the place where you stay.
I booked an Airbnb which was the cheapest option for 17usd per night for a private room with ensuite bathroom and a shared basic kitchen. This might be helpful to save money by cooking yourself otherwise you will spend some money for eating in restaurants even if you can get a lunch menu away from the tourist spots for 5usd but with cooking myself I spent 4 usd for breakfast, snack and dinner which might be half of the price you spent for eating out on a budget.
A walk through the town will brings you soon to the pier where you will find the first sea lions hanging around and making some noise, some Iguanas hiding on the black stones with their perfect camouflage and the bright red crabs.
The town is fairly small and made for selling tours, food and drinks in restaurants to tourists but it is really deserted and hard to find people to socialise with because of that. I am not sure if is a time in the year when it is more crowded or if it just no backpacker destination with cruising suitcase tourists coming and going. But good for me because after some touristy destinations it is nice not be one of many running through a city with some sights.
One is a nice walk to the Punta Carola Beach and some trails behind to the Tijeretas view point from where you can spot whales in the whale season in June till October which I obviously missed. But it was a nice walk anyways where you can spot some typical birds and shared the beach with some sea lion families. Especially the baby ones were really cute and had fun to play with his brothers and sisters. They were not shy and came really lose to the humans even if there were signs everywhere to stay 2 metres away which was not easy if you don’t want to move your towel every 10 minutes 😉
Another place to go for a walk is the other directions along the airport toward La Loberia where you can spot many many Iguanas in the black rocks. I am still not sure if I really like these guys but it is interesting to have a closer look at them and if you follow the path also to more sea lions playing around at the beach where also the locals go for a swim or some snorkeling.
IF you are into seeing the giant turtles which are on my list for my stop on Santa Cruz you can take a cab for 40usd and let you bring to Galapaguero de Cerro Negro in the highlands where people say it is also worth a tour to see different vegetation, a lagoon and a beautiful beach. After being in higher highlands for the last week with beautiful lagoons I decided to save this money and I don’t regret it.
If you are a diver or snorkeler you will have many possibilities to make some tours to see beautiful underwater world and can swim with hammerheads but be prepared that the tours costs easily 150usd and much more.