Muro de las Lagrimas (The Wall of Tears) is situated about 7km west of Puerto Villamil. During World War II there was a Military Detachment here (and in some other places of Galapagos Islands too) operating a radar station, which was part of the of the surveillance system for this part of the Pacific Ocean.After the war, in 1946, a penal colony was...more
One of the highlights of Galapagos Islands is to see the amazing Marine Iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). They are endemic to the islands and they are also the only lizards in the word that swim in the sea. The Marine Iguanas spend most of their time on land, but they feed on algae and seaweed. There are seven subspecies of Marine Iguanas in the...more
The Galapagos Giant Tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus) is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. There are eleven different subspecies, but there have been at least 14. Some tortoises can be very big, up to 150cm in length and with a weigh of 250kg, but it is not until they are around 40 years that they are fully grown. I didn’t see a tortoise of that...more
Puerto Villamil is situated on the south-eastern side of Isla Isabela. It is the third largest settlement in the Galapagos Islands with about 2000 inhabitants. It is a laidback place with sandy streets and a long white sandy beach in front of town. Around the central plaza there are some nice restaurants, there are a few Internet places, grocery...more
One morning I went for a walk along the sandy road west of Puerto Villamil. I came to a sign indicating that this was where the area Complejo de Humedales y Muro de las Lagrimas started. To Muro de las Lagrimas it was 5km and there seemed to be many interesting places to stop at along the road. It looked like a place I wanted to explore, but as I...more
Long ago whalers and pirates hunted tortoises to keep on board their ships as the tortoises could survive a long time without food and water. In this way the sailors had access to fresh meat while they were at sea. Hunting continued after the islands got populated. Not only hunting reduced the population significantly but also predation by...more
There are 13 species of Darwin Finches in Galapagos Islands, and they are all endemic. The Finches are famous because the role they played in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution . When Charles Darwin visited Galapagos Islands in 1835 during his voyage with the Beagle he didn’t pay much attention to the finches, but more to the Mockingbirds which...more
The Lava Heron (Butorides sundevalli) is endemic to Galapagos Islands, and there it is quite common and can often be seen around mangrove swamps, tidal pools or along rocky shores.In size, shape and colouration it is very similar to the Striated Heron and by some authorities the Lava Heron is even considered to be a subspecies of the Striated...more
In July 2011 the committees AOU and IOC voted to split the Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata) found in America from the Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) found in the rest of the world.The Common Gallinule is a medium sized bird, belonging to the Rail-family. It becomes around 30-38cm long. The plumage is black with some white feathers in the...more
The Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) is common in Galapagos Islands, but it is a migrant bird that prefers breading in the colder northern climates of North America, Europe and Asia. In the Galapagos it can often be found along sandy beaches, by lagoons and tidal pools.The Whimbrel is a large wader with a long curved bill. The females have a longer...more
The Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus wollebaeki) is an endemic subspecies. It is common, and there is a population of about 50 000 Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands. They can be seen in many places near the shores, on beaches, on the rocks or even in the towns (for example on a porch in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and at the Fish Market in...more
When Charles Darwin visited Galapagos Islands in 1835 he noticed that the Mockingbirds looked a bit different on different islands, and that is something that influenced his thoughts of evolution. There are four different species of Mockingbirds and they are all endemic. One is the Charles (Floreana) Mockingbird an endangered species that can only...more
On Galapagos Islands you will find an endemic subspecies of the White-cheeked Pintail, also called Galapagos Pintail (Ana bahamensis galapagensis). It is quite common and it can be found both in highland pools and lowland lagoons and mangrove swamps. The White-cheeked Pintail is a medium sized duck that becomes around 46 cm long. It has mainly got...more
The Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is endemic to Galapagos Islands and it is also the only penguin that can be found here. They are not very common, but there are only around a thousand couples. After El Niño years the population become smaller though as food supply decreases. The Galapagos Penguin can mostly be found around Isla...more
The brown Pelican can be found in many areas along the American Pacific and Atlantic coasts, but on Galapagos Islands you will find the endemic subspecies Pelecanus occidentalis urinator. They can be found by the coast on most islands.The Brown Pelicans are large birds with a length of 105-152cm and a wingspan of 203-228cm. They have very long...more
Lava Lizards are endemic to the Galapagos Islands and there are seven different species. The Galapagos Lava Lizard (Microlophus Albemarlensis) can be seen on several islands, and then there are the Española Lava Lizard, Floreana Lava Lizard, Marchena Lava Lizard, Pinta Lava Lizard, Pinzón Lava Lizard and the San Cristóbal Lava Lizard. There is...more
I booked the Bay Tour at Hostal La Jungla the evening before going on the tour and it was $25 (July 2011). At 9 o’clock in the morning I was picked up at the hostel and in Puerto Villamil we picked up four other tourists. At the harbour we were met by a guide and went aboard a boat. Las Tintoreras is a small volcanic island just off the coast from...more
The beautiful Sally Lightfoot crabs (Grapsus grapsus) can be seen all over the shores of the Galapagos Islands. With its bright orange colour it stands out from the black lava rocks where you often see them. The young ones are dark in colour though, and this make them well camouflaged on the rocks. The adult crabs can be as big as 20cm. Sally...more
In the morning of my last day on Isla Isabela I took a walk along the road that runs parallel to the sea west of Puerto Villamil. I came to an information board about Comlejo de Humedales y Muro de Las Lagrimas and saw that it was another 5km to Muro de Las Lagrimas. It was too far as I didn’t have much water with me, so I decided to go back to...more
Volcán Sierra Negra on Isla Isabela is situated 27km northwest of Puerto Villamil. The volcano is 1490 metres high and has got the second largest volcano crater in the world, the caldera is 10km in diameter. Volcán Sierra Negra is an active volcano and it had its latest eruption in 2005, an eruption with lava flows that lasted for a week (wish I...more
There is a population of about 400 - 500 flamingos on the Galapagos Islands. They can mainly be seen on Floreana (Punta Cormorant), Isla Isabela (Villamil), Isla Santa Cruz (Las Bachas Beach), Santiago and Isla Rábida.When I visited Floreana on the cruise with Cachalote there was only one flamingo in the lagoon at Punta Cormorant. That was a...more
The Black-neck Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is a graceful wader which can be seen in shallow pools of saline water or freshwater. It can be found on several of the Galapagos islands, in the lowlands near the coasts. The Black-necked stilt is also found in many other parts of America, from California and Florida in the north to Peru in the south.The...more
If you see a small bright yellow bird on the Galápagos Islands it will be a Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia). The Yellow Warbler can be found all over Galápagos Islands and in all habitats.The male has a bright yellow breast with reddish streaks, and the upper part is more yellow-green. On top of the head there is a reddish patch. The females...more
The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) can be seen on most big islands of the Galapagos (you can also see them in the West Indies and North- and Central America). The Great Blue Heron is a wader and when you see one it will probably be near shallow water, where they are often seen standing still waiting for prey. They feed on fish, crabs, young...more
Before coming to Galapagos I had read that it is good to buy the ticket for the speedboat a day in advance during high season. As I visited in July and was going to be aboard a boat the day before my departure I was a bit worried not to get a ticket, but the travel agent I had booked the cruise with luckily made a reservation for me.
The office of Cabomar, where I was going to get the ticket, was just one minute away from where I arrived to Puerto Ayora with bus, by the harbour. I paid for the ticket, which was $25 one way (July 2011). The speedboat for Villamil leaves Puerto Ayora at 14.00 every day and I still had some time, so I left the backpacks at the office and went to withdraw money from an ATM and to have lunch.
I went to the harbour half an hour before the boat was going to leave and people were already standing in a queue to have their bags checked.. You are not allowed to bring seeds and fruits between the islands. So there is a control before you travel.
On board we were told to put on our life jackets and we all got a bottle of water and some caramels. I think this was because it was a bit bumpy and at least two people threw up during the journey.
After two hours we arrived to Puerto Villamil. While I was standing on the bridge waiting for my luggage I was very surprised to hear my name called out. It was a taxi driver who were going to take me to Hostal La Jungla where I had made a reservation. I didn’t pay for the taxi ride, but the driver had a few other paying customers going to other hotels.
The boat back to Puerto Ayora leaves already at 6am and as you have to be at the harbour in time, to once again have your bags controlled and to pay the tourist tax ($5) it will be a very early morning. Crossing over to Puerto Ayora the sea was calm and we didn’t have to put on the life jackets. And we didn’t get water or caramels this time. We arrived to Puerto Ayora around 8.30.
In Puerto Ayora I talked with some people who had taken an afternoon boat from Puerto Villamil to Puerto Ayora. It had been one of the daytrip boats going back to Puerto Ayora and the life jackets on board that boat had been very poor and the engine broke down just before they arrived to Puerto Ayora. So it might be better to take the regular speedboat.