Today we wanted to see one of the highlights of Isabela – the lava tunnels Los Tuneles. At 8 o’clock we met in front of a diving school, were equipped with wetsuits and we started. In addition to us, there were five other people on board: 2 Germans from Hamburg, 1 Dutchwoman, 1 Englishwoman and 1 Spaniard.
The boat trip from the port in Puerto Villamil to the “Los Tuneles” on the island of Isabella should take 45 minutes.
Swimming with giant mantas
During the voyage, our boat suddenly stopped as a group of giant mantas appeared in front of us at the surface of the water. Rather funny we asked if we could not jump into the water. And our guide said, clearly, why not. We didn’t really expect that. So we moved quickly and jumped into the water. And what we saw was the madness: huge manta rays that moved right in front of us. We had never seen them in size before. A video can be found below.
Snorkeling in Los Tuneles
After we climbed back into the boat, we went on. After 15 minutes of driving we were there and had two snorkel stops in different places of the Los Tuneles. In crystal clear water we have seen reef sharks, turtles, eagle rays, many fish and even a seahorse. Great!
A video of snorkelling in the Los Tuneles
And in the water we have seen a reef shark and also a seahorse in the shallow water while snorkeling – besides many fish.
A ride through the canals of Los Tuneles
After snorkelling we went by boat through the beautiful, extraordinary canals that have been created by collapsed lava tunnels. And here we could see for the first time why the whole “Los Tuneles” is called.
Hike over the individual islands of Los Tuneles
At one point we were able to land briefly to see it all from above.
The return journey from Isabella to Santa Cruz
After a lunch on board we went back to the port in Puerto Villamil, where we arrived around 2 p.m. In our agency we quickly retrieved our luggage and were brought back to the port. Our ferry back to the island of Santa Cruz went already at 3 pm and since there are still baggage inspections and seals (no fruits, seeds, etc.), you should be there a little earlier.
The journey with ferries, small boats or even cruise ships can get quite rough from time to time. If you are not used to the movements, high swell can easily lead to seasickness. Until now, we as divers rarely had problems with it, but on the crossings between the Galapagos Islands it also caught us quite.
Our tip: In order not to become seasick, it is advisable to get a few tablets against seasickness beforehand! This can be found in every pharmacy on Galapagos (10 pieces = $1) or in advance already here at home e.g. from Ratiopharm or Aliud. After our horror trip we got “anautin” tablets with the active substance “dimenhydrinate” from our guide in Santa Cruz… and the little things help really amazingly well! We still take these tablets today with every trip on the water, where it can get a little more violent. And since then we have never again become seasick 🙂
The boat trip back to Santa Cruz
Our Puerto Ayora Hotel
Luckily, this ferry crossing went without incident for us and we arrived in Puerto Ayora around 5 p.m. We were able to walk to our Hotel Fiesta as it is not far from the port.
We spent two nights here at the end of our Galapagos Island hopping. The hotel can be reached from the port of Puerto Ayora in a few minutes. It is quietly located on a side street. The street, where countless local food stalls are set up in the evening, can be reached in a few minutes on foot. Also a small supermarket, which is close to the port. If you leave the hotel on the left, you will reach the entrance to Tortuga Bay after a few meters – a highly recommended excursion. We had a walk-in room with two separate beds. Everything was very neat and clean. There was a desk and a small luggage rack. The bathroom was also clean. Breakfast was included in the price. There was no breakfast buffet, but was brought to the table as soon as you sat down (toast with butter and jam, cereal, fruit, juice). The free WIFI was incredibly slow and sometimes (as in many places on the island) didn’t work at all.
For dinner we had chosen a stand in the “Food Street”, which is very well visited and lively every evening and where there is above all a lot of fresh fish.
All travelogues from Ecuador & Galapagos-Island
Our 10 days on the Galapagos Islands are definitely one of the highlights of our world tour. We enjoyed the magnificent Nataur and the fascinating animal world incredibly well. No matter if San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Isabella, Floreana or North Seymour - every island is completely unique and there is always something new to discover.