Posts Tagged ‘south america’

South America Diary: Day 2

Friday, 13 May, 2011

Guayaquil to Puerto Ayora. Saturday, 16 April, 2011

From Baltra to Santa CruzWe rose, got into fresh clothes, and packed the clothes we’d been wearing on the flights into our luggage. We grabbed breakfast in the hotel restaurant, which had a buffet including cereals, fruits, and breads, plus a guy cooking eggs to order. It was pretty good. Then we checked out and met our first Intrepid representative of the trip, a guy named William, who would be helping us check in to our flight to the Galapagos at Guayaquil airport.

He took us to a car outside which had a driver in it, and as we drove back to the airport William gave us a briefing in good English of what we needed to do. Ecuador tightly controls entry into the Galapagos Islands, and there are a couple of formalities to be go through. Firstly, we needed US$100 each to be paid as an entry fee to the Galapagos National Park on landing. We knew about this already and had the cash on hand. Next, there is a form needed to be filled out with visitor details, which is attached to your passport on entry to the Galapagos and which is removed on departure (even though it’s a domestic flight within Ecuador). William said these forms cost US$10 each, and ones had been purchased for us through Intrepid as part of our tour package, but they had been lost in the post to Guayaquil, so he didn’t have them for us. He said he would get some new ones for us at the airport when we checked in. At least this is how we figured it out afterwards – it wasn’t entirely clear to us at this time.

Luggage handlersAt Guayaquil airport, William helped us with the check-in procedures, on a flight on the airline TAME. He spoke to a woman at a desk in Spanish for a while, and told us they couldn’t give us the forms here, and we’d need to pay US$10 on arrival in the Galapagos for them. It was good having him there to help us through the check-in, because we would have easily spent three times as long without him, and not had the confidence that we’d done everything properly. After completing the procedures for us, William said farewell and we passed through the security check into the departure lounge. We had a bit of time before departure, so used the free wi-fi to connect and send some e-mails to our parents letting them know where we were.

South America Diary: Day 1

Wednesday, 11 May, 2011

Sydney to Guayaquil. Friday, 15 April, 2011

Auckland AirportThis diary is beginning a little unusually. Although I kept a handwritten diary for the entire trip, I accidentally lost the book I’d been writing in for the first five days of the trip, covering our entire time in the Galapagos Islands. So I’m typing this part of the trip up from memory after returning home.

Our flight from Sydney left at 09:55 on Friday morning, so we had to be up early to get to the airport with plenty of time to check in. We got up around 06:00, having packed the night before, and simply got dressed and called a taxi. The plan was to have breakfast at the airport after checking in. We checked our bags, went through immigration and security, then found a cafe where we got some muesli, M.’s with milk and mine with yoghurt. I also got a small pastry.

Our first flight was a short hop over to Auckland, New Zealand. We arrived there mid-afternoon local time, and had about an hour and a half to kill in the terminal before being let back onto the plane, which was refuelling for the haul to Santiago. After checking out the shops for a bit, M. got a coffee from one place that took Australian dollars, giving us change back in NZ currency. Then we got a snack from another place that had great looking food. The guy there told us they’d only opened new in the airport that day. They didn’t take non-NZ currency, but we paid for a frittata for M. and a huge slice of carrot cake for me with credit card. The carrot cake was excellent, with a thick slab of cream cheese icing on top.

NZ Carrot CakeBack on the flight, we settled in for the 11 hour haul to Santiago. We crossed the date line during this flight, meaning we ended up arriving in Santiago around noon on 15 April again. I watched the movie The King’s Speech on this flight, which I really enjoyed. We had almost three hours in Santiago airport before our flight to Guayaquil in Ecuador. Despite being tired, we walked up and down the terminal, checking out the shops and various food places. We decided to have a bite to eat in one called La Sebastiana. M. got them to make a toasted cheese sandwich, and we ordered a bowl of chips to munch on too.