Trip to Isabela Island

Monday afternoon we started a 2-night visit to Isabela Island – a package including transport, guide, hotel, meals, horseback riding. Into a boat with 2 Yamaha 175 motors and away we hurtled, bouncing for 2 hours. I had taken a precautionary Gravol at the start, when they asked if we got seasick and offered plastic bags, but I really had no sense of needing it at all. N was fine. There were a 4 other tourists, one of whom was seasick by the end.

Isabela has a town of about 2000 people, centered around tourism, although there is also agriculture on the island. We got delivered to the hotel (a modest, sandy beach style place) and then were taken for a walk around town and beach, before dinner. In the morning we were served breakfast, had to make sandwiches for lunch, and were driven 45 minutes to the base of a volcano. (Sierra Negra, presumably the second largest in the world of that type. It last erupted about 4 years ago.) Then we got on horses for an hour ride to the rim and around. The horses were predictably unconcerned with the instructions of the rider. My horse liked to be in front of the pack, so I led the way for much of the ride! At first I wasn´t too happy about that but then realized that it was less scary in front than in the middle of a bumping mass of horses stumbling along. We dismounted, were told to remember which of the 20 or so horses was ours (there were several small groups of tourists), and then walked for an hour across lava rock. We sat down for lunch at a good viewpoint, then hiked back. After much searching, I located my steed (who I had decided was a good one, since he behaved very well if I let him make the decisions). So we bounced along for another hour – by the end it was raining lightly and we were a bedraggled looking posse, some horses stumbling along in the mud. Either my horse was quite surefooted, or my superior riding skills were evident! One of the trucks had to be jump-started to get going from the top of the volcano.

Back in town we had 10 minutes to change into bathing suits and went off to the dock. A boat took us to see some nearby islands – we saw Galapagos penguins, lots of white-tipped sharks, very friendly sea lions, blue footed boobies, etc. Finally snorkelled for a while before returning for group dinner at the San Vicente Hotel.

This morning we had to get up early for the 6 a.m. boat back to Puerto Ayora. Again took a Gravol, but felt so perfectly fine (while 3 others of the 14 passengers were looking very green, at least one of whom had also taken Gravol) with all the major bouncing and bumping, that I think we will be fine on our boat trip coming up on Friday.