We were wrecked after our morning of excitement with the dive so after a little siesta we took a walk to visit the Charles Darwin Research Center, and Estacion Beach. Charles Darwin is best known for his work as a naturalist, developing a theory of evolution to explain biological change. During a five year voyage around the world, studies of specimens led him to formulate his theory of evolution. The Galapagos were of particular interest to Darwin.
Afterwards we cooled down during happy hour while people and animal watching, neither of us could actually believe we were here!! The success of the kioskos the night before had us return for round two that night. We chose a different vendor this time but fish rice and beans were still the order of the night.
The next day, we spent our final morning in Santa Cruz doing two local attractions by taxi. The first was El Chato turtle ranch, a breeding farm for the beautiful turtles. As we arrived to the destination there was turtles everywhere roaming on the road! Once in the farm we were so stunned by the size of some of them! It was a lovely morning up close and personal (obeying the 2 meter rule!!) with my favourites!
Secondly, on the way back we stopped at a lava tunnel 400m in length, occupied by one scary large owl and lots of obstacles from one end to the other! The island of Santa Cruz itself is a large dormant volcano and the tunnels were formed when the outside skin of a molten-lava flow solidified. When the lava flow ceased, the molten lava inside the flow kept going, emptying out of the solidified skin and thus leaving tunnels.
We spent the afternoon ticking another big attraction off the list to end our time in Santa Cruz, this was a visit to Las Grietas and German beach. Both attractions were located on the other side of the island and it was necessary to get a water taxi for 5 minutes to cross over! Las Grietas is a stunning clear passage of water in an crack created by volcanic shift. It took us about 15 minutes by foot to reach it and the scenery on the walk alone was worth the trip!
Unfortunately our time there was cut short including cancelling the stop at German beach due to an outrageous tropical shower! The rain was crazy. All we could do was keep moving and laugh. When we got back to our base from the water taxi the main street at the waterfront was even totally flooded!
We ate at a local highly rated spot named “pizza eat” that night and you guessed it we had pizza! We had a toast to Santa Cruz and packed up our bags before turning in, the 7am boat would take us back to San Cristobal in the morning.
We couldn’t help the smiles returning back to the welcome of the hoards of sea lions at San Cristobal. They cheekily welcomed tourists by blocking the walkway to the pier frolicking around! We spent the afternoon walking to Cerro Tijeratas Hill which is also known as Frigate Bird Hill which serves as a beautiful viewpoint at height in addition to a lookout for the frigate bird. We didn’t manage to spot any that afternoon but the views were beautiful all the same!
We had some fun afterwards utilizing the wifi of a cafe near the waterfront and some video calls to Ireland for our sea lion friends to say hello to everyone!! Our finale had to be a return to Carola beach where we began a few days earlier. They do say persistence is key and on our fourth day of snorkelling the beautiful turtles were waiting for us!! I kept getting over excited and forgetting that I was using snorkel gear but it was worth it for these pretties!
After another stunning sunset and we had reached the curfew to return our gear. It couldn’t have been a better ending to a magical few days in paradise. Our flight took us back to Guayaquil where we were due to catch a night bus to enter country #3, Peru.