Midway down the one road from the ferry dock to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz lies “Los Gemelos”, or The Twins. They are two huge craters filled with trees, plants and wildlife. The guide pulled off to the side of the road and we followed a trail to one of them. It was spectacular! The vertical nature of the craters makes them impossible to navigate, except maybe by rappelling, which is not allowed, so when you look into it, you see full size trees that don’t even reach halfway to the top, birds flying around way below and a diverse collection of plants – and I suspect, much more fauna that we were unable to see from our vantage point on the rim. We didn’t see the other crater, unfortunately, because the other passenger in our tour transport truck was a scuba instructor from Australia (recently immigrated to mainland Ecuador to live) who was coming to the island to lead dives for a month and she had seen it all before. When she told the guide we didn’t need to see the other one, we didn’t say otherwise, so we just had to take her word that they are really “twins” and if you’ve seen one, you seen both. (I regret that, actually.)
Once we got to town and were dropped off by the taxi, we were joined by Caroline, a British ex-pat now living on Galapagos permanently. She asked if we were up for visiting the Flamingo lagoon before going to our hotel and we were, so we traveled a short distance outside Puerto Villamil to see a small lake created by another crater that is the semi-permanent home for flamingos on the island. We saw several just hanging out, some fishing, some resting, some just wandering around as if on a leisurely afternoon stroll.
Caroline told us that a year or so ago, many more of the island’s flamingos had congregated here – Around 150, I think she said – and everyone came out to see it, locals included. She also filled us in on lots of interesting facts about flamingos in general and Galapagos flamingos, specifically. It was a nice introduction to Puerto Villamil.