It was yet another 06:30 start so that people could get their luggage off the boat by 07:30 and the passengers off by 07:45. This was our final panga ride back shore and the start of the journey back to Quito. Once we’d all loaded our belongings onto the bus we set off for the ferry to Baltra. What is amazing is that you have to sail for 9 hours just to drive most if the way back.
On the way to the ferry we stopped off at a couple of sink holes called Los Gemelos. Whilst walking around we came across two species of butterfly, one of them was a Monarch. Around and inside the sink holes were many types of vegetation meaning it was the perfect place for the various types of finch (vegetarian, woodpecker, warbler) that could be found there.
The drive continued for about 15 minutes longer and we had finally reached the ferry. The fee was already paid for in the package but normally it would be 80 cents. On the otherwise we all loaded back onto another bus, this time one run by the airline and continued until we had reached the airport.
The airport itself seems chaos with so many people trying to fit in a small place – this along with the humidity made it a very warm place to be. The check-in was relatively quick though we couldn’t go through security straight away and had to wait 15 minutes. As their x-ray machine and metal detector were not in use they had a very quick manual check of our bags. Definitely very lax compared to other airports and not a patch on Heathrow.
The flight finally took off 20 minutes late and included a basic lunch. As I’m a bit of a fussy eater I left most of it. After 2 hours 45 minutes the flight landed – we were expecting it to be Guayaquil as it had stopped there on the way out. As it turned out it was actually Quito so we rushed to get off the plane. As it was a domestic flight it was nice and quick getting out the airport to meet the rep from the Andean Travel Company. Once we were on the bus we were told that due to the issues we had on the boat we’d be getting a free meal that night as an apology, and that she’d meet us there. It sounded fair enough to me and I wasn’t too angry at them anyway (unlike most).
Back at the Hotel Reina Isabel once more we dropped our bags off and went for a walk to see what was around. To start with we stopped by a pharmacy to see if we could get any cream for Andrew’s injured leg (he injured it on a rock the day before and got no help from the boat crew). After this we had a look in a bakery – I bought a chocolate doughnut and a very large cinnamon whirl for a little over US$2.00 which I thought was an amazing price. We then briefly returned to the hotel so that Andrew could apply some cream to his knee whilst we ate chocolate doughnuts.
Heading back out we looked to see what we could find in terms of souvenir shops. The one we found had many hand carved pieces including chess sets. I bought a mask made from stone for US$25. Returning to the room again it was nice to have a proper shower instead of the cold, sometimes non-functioning showers on the boat. It was also a chance to shift things between our suitcases and backpacks as we couldn’t take suitcases to Bellavista.
As it got to 18:45 we headed down due to that being our allotted pickup time for the meal. Fifteen minutes later we were picked up and taken to a restaurant that charged US$25 a head – quite a cheap apology for ATC. Sadly it turned out the drinks were not included and I paid US$10 despite only having a Fanta. By the time we’d gotten back and sorted out it was almost 23:00.