Traffic Lights Galapagos Style

Mone Petsod

22 Jan 2020

The Galapagos right of way

There is not a single traffic light in Galapagos, but all traffic, be it a bicycle, a pedestrian or a car, must stop for any animal. In Galapagos the animals have the right of way, this rule is strictly enforced and consequently the animals are fearless and roam freely. Giant land tortoises, marine iguanas, land iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, blue footed boobies, sea lions, and much more than I can enumerate.

Penalties are stiff for anyone who injures, defaces or destroys any of the animals, plants or anything in Galapagos. According to my guide, a bus driver was fined 11,000 USD for hitting a tortoise and cracking its shell, the bus was also impounded for six months. Recently, at Baltra airport, when authorities discovered bags of sand in a Belgian tourist’s luggage, she was also fined a large sum. In 2002, a German tourist was imprisoned for 4 years for trying to smuggle baby iguanas in his backpack. When an Avianca employee tried to smuggle a puppy into the island, she was fined and lost her employment.

Everything about this place seems ancient and surreal. What a joy to swim with sea lions, sharks, marine iguanas, and sea turtles, to walk among blue footed boobies, and to get up close and personal with a giant Galapagos tortoise.

On South Plaza island, we came across a new-born sea lion whose umbilical cord was still attached. He was crying pitifully and frantically for his mom and quietened down and snuggled peacefully with her the minute she returned from the sea.

From the peak of Bartolomé island, I marvelled at the dramatic and jaw dropping landscape. After a hike down the steep slope, we circumnavigated the rocky outpost to view Galapagos penguins, frigate birds and tropical birds. On our way back to port, we were treated with a display of manta rays and a large pod of dolphins.

My visit to Galapagos culminated with a stay at Scalesia Lodge in the highland of Isabela island. It was a special feeling to be in the safari tent, suspended in the mist and surrounded by trees and moss hanging from each branch. I could also get very used to the spectacular view from my bed at Galapagos Safari Camp on Santa Cruz Island.

I had mixed feelings before visiting Galapagos. I thought it was so mainstream, so trite, so over visited. However, my time in Galapagos was one of the most amazing weeks of my life.

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on travelling to Galapagos Islands.

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