Volcano Trekking in the Galapagos.
Puerto Villamil Travel Blog› entry 5 of 26 › view all entries
Woke up this morning for breakfast, and by 8:00am we were all packed in a van and ready to go. The trip today involved a journey up Volcan Cerro Negro. It started with a 45 minute ride in the van to a horse stable a decent way up he mountain. There were eight tourists and two guides in the group, and they only had eight horses. So one of the guides and one person took off walking. The horses were maybe a bit under nourished but it wasn't all that bad. My horse was pretty sturdy, as I was probably the third heaviest person in the group. I climbed right on, although I did head a bit of razzing because I mounted from the right (some kind of equestrian faux pas?).
The trail started out as a beat up dirt road, and then we turned left onto your classic horse trail.
The horse ride was good except for the trotting that occured occasionally, which would prove to take a toll on everybody's rumps. After about 80 minutes we had passed the two walkers and pulled into a stable at the top on Cerro Negro.
After some photos at the top we proceeded to walk down a trail that deteriorated from dirt, to small lava rocks, to scrambling over actual recent lava flows. These flows were complete with some very cool lava tubes and domes, but the walk took forever. After about an hour, we arrived at a small caldera which was belching out steam and a bit of sulphur. The view from this point was spectacular, and we could see the entire north of Isla Isabela.
We then walked back a short distance and had our lunch under the only large tree within sight. There were plenty of Darwin Finches that were zipping about looking for crumbs that were falling of my jam roll. The walk back to the horses seemed longer then the walk down, but we got there and saddled up once again. On the ride back, the trail boss seemed to be more in a hurry. He started out constantly encouraging the horses into a trot. I asked Carlos if there was a reason for it, and informed him that our collective asses were killing us. At this point I decided to not let my horse trot for the rest of the trip, lest I do some permanent damage to my posterior.
After getting back to the hotel, we were told to change into beach gear and to be ready for snorkelling in five minutes. We were all tired, but eventually we were all ready to go. We took a van down to the harbor, and got on a small boat. It was about 3pm, and the tide seemed high and was still coming in. There were a few sea lions cruising around, and I will always get a kick out of that. It was a short boat ride to a park that featured a shark cove and lots of marine iguanas. We struck out of the shark cove, and didn't see any so we moved on.
We then got to an area where sea lions are known to breed.
We all backed off, and I realized that I was the only person going towards the beach.
After getting back to the boat it was a short trip to an area of rocky shore. Here we all jumped in for some snorkelling. It was unspectacular, but I did see three decent size stingrays. Also interesting were the underwater lava formations. I had only previously snorkelled, or scuba'd on coral islands, so things were quite a bit different.
I saw Javier across the street, so I joined hiw for a few beers before we went back to the hotel. I grabbed a quick nap until there was a pounding at the door for dinner. I would have slept right through it if Javier hadn't woke me up. After dinner Javier, Elizabeth and I joined Carlos and his brother (whose name I can't remember) for some cervezas at a beach bar. This place was great. The weather was perfect, maybe 70 degrees with a nice breeze coming from the Pacific.
We were later joined by Carlos' girlfriend, and another friend of his. Carlos' grilfriend was a real instigator. She would initiate toasts where draining your beer glass was mandatory, and although they were smaller, this really took a toll. Javier was really starting to cut loose, and the bar was very busy by 11:30pm or so. Yelling, screaming, dancing, dancing on the bar, and more drinking. I can only estimate that we went through about 40 big beers by the time we called it a night.
After an eight block walk through sandy streets we retired back to our respective rooms. The aerial view of the walk would have been hilarious, as none of us could come close to maintaining a straight line. We promise to wake each other in the morning, which helps because I'm still not sure of my alarm situation.