Horseback Riding in the Galapagos
17 April 2013 | Isabella - Galapagos
We had the absolute best day riding horses up to the Sierra Negra Volcano. We were trying to decide on activities to do while in the Galapagos. Budget constraints being what they are. We were going to do a "West Coast" tour because friends of ours on MacPelican said it was fabulous. From what we hear this is a relatively new tour being offered by one person, Paco I think. Well when we first arrived the price was $110 per person, even children if you had a full boat. We then heard $120, then $130, by the time we were ready to book it was $140 per person. Well we decided to look around. Nathalie and I talked to a couple of tour operators and found some good options. We decided to ride horses to the volcano and do a tour of Las Tuneles, which is a shorter version of the West Coast tour. For kids the shorter tours are actually better. We used the tour operator in the center of town next to the church for anyone following us and the service was great, I will try to get the name for the next post.
We started our day by arriving at the tour office for 7:45. We waited about 20 minutes for the office to open and our guide to show up in a taxi van. The tour office had said they provided a "snack" and we should pack a lunch and water, fair enough. The price was $60 for each adult and $30 for Zack. We were not expecting a whole lot. Well, the snack was a bottle of water, a juice box, a tuna sandwich, a breakfast bun with cream cheese, an apple, a pear, and cookies. Let's just say we had a lot of food! Our guide was great and spoke some English. Everyone with us in the group was speaking French so it was a very tri-lingual day. We took the taxi for about 40 minutes up into the countryside, a very pleasant drive and an opportunity to see some of Isla Isabela.
We got up to the farm and the horses were saddled and waiting. Zack had decided to ride with David because he has never ridden a horse before. We were told to name our horses, I called mine Velero, which means "sailboat" in Spanish. Zack named their horse Leader, than he changed it to Lead, and then to Swift. Poor horse, so confused. The names did not help at all, the horses did their own thing. To be fair they were very tame and gentle, but they do this trip often and need little direction. They did have a tendency to bunch up and whenever the path opened up a bit the horses would trot to get in front of each other. The ride was about 1 1/2 hours each way and we were all having a great time passing each other and trying to get our horses to move a little faster, yelling Undele, undele. There are some good pics and videos coming.
We rode the horses to the top of the volcano and when we dismounted we had lunch and the did an 1 1/2 hour hike onto the volcano. Our guide was great, pointing out lava tunnels and formations. It was quite interesting and I think Zack got a lot out of it. He found some shiny lava rocks and deduced that the volcano was also shooting our gold. So he started collecting in earnest. Unfortunately the guide set him straight and it turns out we are not going to be rich. Oh well. The hike was a bit grueling and the landscape was akin to Mars. We were really glad that we had horses to carry us back. Most of the people hiking did not and it is a 16 kilometer hike! I felt a bit guilty riding past some of the older folks.
The ride back was great also. Zack decided to ride with Guillaume. He was by this time wishing he had his own horse as was Neomie. Neomie decided to ride with me, which was great but it is far more comfortable on your own horse. David was grateful when Zack decided to go with Guillaume. Zack and Guillaume were having the time of their lives trying to pass everybody. David's horse definitely wanted to be first and mine wanted second place. Whenever we got in front Velero would slow to almost a stop, but if anyone passed him he would trot to get in second place, sometimes through the bushes. Guillaume was in the front and Zack was on the back of the horse. About 1/3 of the way into the ride Zack announced he was changing their horses name to "Nut Buster" because that was what was happening to his privates. Well I tried to reprimand him but he had the whole crowd in hysterics the way he was carrying on with it that there was no point. I have to admit it was pretty funny. So look for the video.
We were all pretty tired by the time we got home, but I had promised Zack that Guillaume could have a sleep over, so I pulled it together and made some dinner. At 7:30 I said I was going to go lay down and read. Guillaume was like "why are you tired, it's only 7:30". Yeah right! I think I was asleep in 20 minutes.
To anyone following I would definitely suggest the horse tour, it was great!