We woke up early to take the shuttle to the airport to catch our 9am flight to the Baltra Island of the Galapagos (GPS). In the lobby of the hotel we met an American couple from Nashville who were also headed to Isabella Island. We felt good making friends and having two more people in the same boat as us (figuratively and soon to be literally). Once inside the airport we paid our $20 fees to get the Immigration card required to enter the Islands. We flew to the Galapagos on Tame airlines, with a short layover in Guayaquil first (the largest city in Ecuador). The islands are roughly 900 miles from mainland Ecuador.
Upon landing on Baltra Island we first saw the strange volcanic landscape, more barren than I expected. The island of Baltra is a small one, used solely for the Galapagos Airport. We exited the plane via a stairway, walking onto the tarmac. Inside the airport we paid the $100 entrance fee to the Island and presented our Immigration cards. We then waited for our bags to be inspected by several dogs before taking a shuttle bus to the channel which separates Baltra from Santa Cruz Island. We took the ferry across the channel to a parking lot where many pickup truck taxis awaited the ferry.
All four of us loaded up into one of the pickup trucks and headed down the long road towards the main town of Puerto Ayora, about a 45 minute drive. Once in town, the truck dropped us off at the port where we purchased round-trip tickets to the Island of Isabela. It was a 2.5 hour trip on a speedboat for $60 a person. We took a small boat over to the speedboat which fit about 20 people. This exciting part of the trip quickly turned into a nightmare for me.