So, where do I even begin? This is the third island that we have visited out of the 4 inhabited Islands in the Galápagos Archipelago. Galápagos National Park covers 97% of the 18 islands and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Only four of the islands are inhabited by people: Santa Cruz, Floreana, Isabela, and San Cristobal and San Cristóbal would be the last we visit from our month-long adventure which is set to finish in a few days.
For many travelers, the idea of exploring Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands is one drenched in folklore. For us, we have discussed this trip for a few years and even had it booked back in 2016 but had to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances.
Like Isabela, we were up really early to catch the ferry ‘ Andy 2’ which we had be assured was the biggest boat ion their fleet and after the horrendous crossing to Isabella 2 short weeks ago, I was dubious about what to expect. The ferry from Santa Cruz to Cristobal leaves at 6.30am and takes around 2 hours crossing South East. We were stoked upon arrival at the Port to see that the boat itself was actually much bigger than the ones to Isabela, so travel tip – go for ‘ Andy 2’ for your crossing. It was much better equipped with all seats facing forward and larger windows, not to mention a much calmer crossing. You could go as far as saying, it was mildly enjoyable.
The accommodation we had booked was ‘Cucuve Eco Hostal’ located 3km from town but we booked last minute and got it for $40USD per night for double, en suite and the hosts pick you up and drop you in town when they can so it worked out well. The Hostal itself was great and our Hosts, Lina, Alfredo and Stalin were all super warm hearted, beautiful souls. ( and they gave us a big bowl of fruit and bottled water upon arrival so instantly won our hearts)
We decided to walk into town which only takes around 20-30mins but to our surprise upon arrival pretty much everything was closed. San Cristobal is the Capital of the Galapagos, the first inhabited island and also the oldest of the Archipelago, however, trying to find somewhere for lunch was problematic. We guessed it was that most tourists would be on day trips and as it’s off peak season it makes sense to only open when supply in demand hits.
However, after walking for a couple of hours enjoying the many sea loins enjoying a sleep on the pavements and roads we decided to ask an incredibly bored looking police officer for some local advice. HE WAS AN ANGEL! He pointed us in the direction of the local’s market ‘El Merikado’ about 5 minutes inland nestled away from tourists. It was truly amazing, we were able to get our standard ‘Almuerzos’ for $4USD but it was on a whole new level from Santa Cruz. The soup was out of this world tasty and for our main course we got ceviche with fish and prawns rice and popcorn (yeah, they love popcorn here with their meals). Oh, and a juice to go along with it. For $4USD pp we cannot complain with that!
From there, we went home for a rest after being up since 4.30am and it gave us the opportunity to call home and chat to the outside world for a while. In the evening we wanted a beer, we are on holiday and by the beach, so they go hand in hand. The evening was truly beautiful, it wasn’t too hot, the sunset was setting warm, bright and full of golden hour colours, so we wandered along the beach, checking out the sealions and the variety of bars which were now open. We stopped for dinner at ‘Nativo’ right on the water front and treated ourselves to a couple of ‘Endemica’ – locally brewed beer and a couple of burgers. The bill came up to $38USD and that included a third wee sneaky beer at the end.
Overall when it comes to touristy things, we didn’t do any site seeing apart from the town itself and eat. We ate a lot. Tomorrow we plan to take the island by storm and tick off all the FREE touristy things on the island.