Chilled out bliss

Puerto Villamil Travel Blog

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The sea lions own this place, I told you!

After a day or chilling out in Puerto Ayora, Amanda and I decided to head over to Isabela island for a few days. The boats only leave once a day (at 2pm, $30 one way), but boy are they fast….they are like speedboats, crashing over the waves at full throttle! If you get sea-sick, I wouldn’t recommend it! But 2 hours later, we were on Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos. Its nowhere near as touristy as Santa Cruz, so it has a different even more laidback feel about it. The streets are sand which just typifies the relaxed way of life here. We found ourselves a good deal at the end of the beachfront in Puerto Villamil (the main village) at ‘The Jungle’ where we bartered them down to $10 each a night for a private room with hot shower - result!  Amanda managed to lose our room key within minutes of us leaving the hostel, then lost her sunglasses (again) and her camera (which luckily I found in the internet cafe).

The sandy streets of Puerto Villamil at dusk
..how many things can one person lose?!?  We had a great little set dinner at Tres Hermanos before calling it a night.

Our first full day was pretty chilled - we had some admin to sort out in the morning (including a rather confusing phone call to the Aerogal call centre to change our flights!), before we went on a bay snorkelling tour in the afternoon.  It was only $15 through our hostel and it was only Amanda and I, so we had a private tour for a bargain price!  We got to see some more penguins, and some sharks, but again we couldn't swim in their 'resting' area - damn it!  For dinner, we met up with Shala (US) and Mandy (Aus) who we had bumped into at breakfast and also found some more gringos (Matt, Andy and Chris, 3 American guys in the Peace Corps) and had a few drinks at the Sea Lion bar.

Me and the girls (Shala, Amanda, Mandy) at the crater of Sierra Negra
Its a pretty rough and ready bar stuck out near the water, but was good fun and a nice way to end a relaxing day!

The hostel also offered a tour to the Sierra Negra volcano ($30 including lunch), so on our final day we got our hiking legs out. Shala and Mandy joined us and after an hour 4x4 ride to get to the last acccessible village, Carlos, our guide, got us on our way.  When we first got to the crater edge after an hour or so, we couldn't see anything - it was just grey mist and cloud - what a disappointment!  Carlos quickly reassured us that you can never see anything from this viewing point and miraculously about half an hour later the sun came out and we had perfect views over the whole 12km beast of a crater - an awesome sight I can tell you.  We had a good laugh walking with Mandy and Shala, despite the boiling heat, and the time flew by as we hiked up to Volcan Chico in the midday sun.

Hmmmm....yes, its just me and the world
  It only erupted 4 years ago, so we were a little worried that it might start smoking again!  We had great views of the whole of Isabela (most of which is infertile lava field), which made the 16km round trip hike well worth it.  When we got back we showered  and then went to Casa Rosada for their first ever happy hour - it had just been a hostel, but today they opened their 'bar' for the first time, so it was pretty cool having a nice ice cold beer to celebrate.  Isabela is a great island and it will be interesting to see how it develops, because at the moment it has a special chilled out feeling but with more hostels and bars opening, how long will it last?

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The sea lions own this place, I to…
The sea lions own this place, I t…
The sandy streets of Puerto Villam…
The sandy streets of Puerto Villa…
Me and the girls (Shala, Amanda, M…
Me and the girls (Shala, Amanda, …
Hmmmm....yes, its just me and the …
Hmmmm....yes, its just me and the…
View from our hostel room, not bad…
View from our hostel room, not ba…
Ppp...pppp...pick up a pennguin!
Ppp...pppp...pick up a pennguin!
Could do with some vaseline on tho…
Could do with some vaseline on th…
Orgy!!
Orgy!!
Puerto Villamil
photo by: Sads79