SAN CRISTOBAL INTREPRETATION CENTER
Our last morning on the Galapagos, sigh…. We were up early, got packed, a quick breakfast, and then we said good-bye to the Flamingo I. It was a sunny day, and the harbor looked beautiful.
We took the pangas to the pier. You would think that we had our fill of sea lions, but we had to take another dozen pictures of the sea lions lounging in various dinghies and on the pier.
A bus was waiting for us to take us to the San Cristobal Interpretation Center about 1 mile away. It was a self-guided tour, which talks about the history of the Galapagos including the natural history, human habitation, and development/conservation issues. There is also a walking trail that goes beyond the museum, but none of us got through the museum in time to take advantage of the trail.
PUERTO BAQUERIZO MORENO
The bus took us back to town, and we had about 1 ½ hours to relax in town. Unfortunately, there are not many stores open on a Sunday morning. The main strip is about 3 blocks long, so we walked the length one way and by the time we turned around, things were starting to open up.
I thought the town was very cute, relatively clean, and people were nice. Prices were better than in Santa Cruz, but it was all touristy things (t-shirts, etc.) and no expensive artwork. There were also a couple of playgrounds for the kids.
SAN CRISTOBAL AIRPORT
Our bus took us to the airport where all our luggage was already checked in, and our guide handed us our boarding passes. Then we had about 1 ½ hours to hang out, yawn…. There are a couple of shops and one small food market (hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, ice cream, soft drinks, and beer).
FLIGHT TO QUITO
The flight to Quito was uneventful. It stops in Guayquil on the way. We said good-bye to some of our friends from the boat who were departing from Guayaquil. The rest of us just stayed on the airplane, and a few more people joined us. They served a meal on the flight, so it wasn’t important to bring food on the airplane.
Luggage came of quickly at the Quito Airport. It’s important to keep your luggage tags because they check all the luggage when leaving.
We walked outside and found a taxi. They are in a line, but it doesn’t seem to matter if you take the first taxi or not. Remember the price is negotiable. We paid $6 to the Swissotel, which is more than we paid from the Mercure even though I think it is about the same distance.
We arrived in Quito mid-afternoon, and my plan was to take this opportunity to get some laundry done. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan on the Sunday factor. Nothing was open. I also needed more tape for my video camera, but I couldn’t find any open electronic stores either.
While I wandered around town looking for laundry and electronics, my husband and son explored the swimming pool in the hotel and had a great time. It is an indoor-outdoor pool with a waterfall. You are given a locker, which includes a robe, bath towel, work out towel, and slippers. The spa also has a hot tub, sauna, and steam room. You gotta love it!
For dinner, we went to the La Ronda Restaurant. On Sundays at 7:00pm, they have a Folklorico show which includes musicians and dancing. It was really nicely done. The food was also really good. Some dishes were very reasonably priced and others seemed overpriced, so pick accordingly.
The Swissotel is one of the nicest hotels in Quito. We were greeted by a doorman in a top hat, warm towel, and fresh juice. We had seen some amazing roses in Ecuador, but the lobby had some of the nicest.
We were in a suite, which had 2 queen beds in one room, a separate dining table with coffee maker, 1 ½ bathrooms, and comfy robes.
It was warm in the Galapagos, so I wore lightweight long pants and a short sleeved shirt, but I took a long sleeve shirt along for Quito.
It always feels nice outside when we go to dinner in Quito, but it is always chilly when we get back, so I wore long pants, long sleeve shirt, and a light jacket in the evening.
Breakfast was a buffet of French toast, sausage, toast, fruit, cereal, yogurt, and juice of pureed unidentifiable fruit.
Everyone seemed to have snacks in town and/or at the airport (mostly ice cream).
Lunch on the first flight was a full meal with chicken or beef with rice, salad, roll, and dessert.
My husband had fillet mignon at La Ronda, which was excellent and reasonably priced ($14 for a nice sized steak). My son and I split the seafood stew, which he liked more than me, and it was pretty expensive ($28). We also ordered a Caesar salad, which was very good. The total meal with wine, salads, entrees, and desserts came to $105.