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Day Two - Interpretation Centre and La Loberia

With a free full day ahead of me to explore, I was up early and researching the area over breakfast. I decided there were two places I would visit, each within walking distance. The first is the Interpretation Center off to the north, so I lathered up in sunscreen and began walking the along the beach toward the site.

The one thing that stands out pretty much everywhere in the Galapagos is the sea lions. They are everywhere you look and many places you wouldn't expect. It was not uncommon to nearly step on them when I wasn't watching exactly where I was walking.

Sea Lions Everywhere!
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Sunning on the Beach
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Frigate in Flight
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Inaugurated in 1998, the Galápagos National Park Interpretation Center, located on the northeast side of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, has a series of interactive exhibits providing information about the history and biodiversity of the Galápagos Islands. Behind the center, a series of well-marked, easy trails lead to beaches, hilltop views, and some excellent snorkeling spots. After a 20-minute walk or so, I had reached the center and began reviewing the displays before hiking the grounds and taking in the views, which included many lava lizards, geckos, and many frigatebirds. Frigates are seabirds, related to the pelican, though they cannot flaot on water due to a lack of waterproof oil in their feathers. They have large wingspans and forked tails and the males have expandable red pouches under their beak, which they inflate during mating season.

After a few hours of hiking, I was ready for a break and a beer. Back in town, I found a little place called Cafe Del Mar, which sits out along the coast at the south end of town. This would be the best food decision I made on this trip. The seafood tortilla, which consisted of a mix of seafood and vegetables on top of a tortilla made mostly of egg, was incredible. A great lunch looking out at the water with fantastic food and a couple beers.

The beach of La Loberia is a good 30-minute walk from town and is a very nice place to snorkel, swim with sea lions, and see many marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. This is where I first discovered how playful the sea lions are, particularly the younger ones. They would dart at me underwater and veer away at the last second. They're very curious and sweet and very eager to play.

Marine Iguana Sunning
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Marine Iguana
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Sally Lightfoot Crab
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Marine Iguanas are unique to the Galapagos having evolved to feed underwater on algae. They can dive up to 30 feet to feed and get as large as about 5 feet for males. They are often black or mostly black and blend in very well on the lava rocks of the beach. Sharing the rocks are the Sally Lightfood crabs, one of the few crabs that inhabit the Galapagos islands.They feed on algae and dead animals and move very quickly for crabs. They start out black, blending in with the rocks for survival, then become very bright red as adults.

Walking back to town, I grabbed an early dinner and watched the sunset. It gets dark quite early in the Galapagos islands, with sunset a little after 6:00pm. At that time, many people sit out on the sidewalks enjoying a beer or coffee and the local kids race up and down the streets on skateboards and bikes. After dark, petty much the only thing to do is enjoy a nice drink in the warm night air and watch the water.


Day Three

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