6 Necessities when Hopping Islands – aka Spring Break in October

Eudora Erickson
November 8, 2015

So far, this IES abroad program has sponsored 12 + school field trips. For the fact that I am paying the same tuition as my home school (and have yet to go to on school sponsored trip ever)–this abroad program is pretty unbelievable.

And this past week…? Well, they sponsored an all expenses paid 9-day spring break trip for us to hop to 4 of the other islands on the Galapagos. And yes, it was magical.

As a champion overpacker, I packed enough to probably support all 50 people on the trip. Nonetheless, it was a good decision considering the variety of adventures that we went on. 

So, what are the 6 necessities when you hop islands? Lets begin:

1. Sea Sickness Medication
“Who me? Sea sick? NO WAY!”
I regret not taking my aunt seriously when she recommended bringing bottles of Dramamine on this trip. It is an absolute necessity.

10 boat rides in 9 days is traumatic especially because the boats we travel in are tiny and each trip lasts for around 2 hours. We ended up taking boats more than any other means of transportation. Here’s a quick overview of the trip:
Day 1: Boat 2 hours from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz (biggest tourist island)
Day 2: On Santa Cruz and visit Tortoises
Day 3: Boat 3 hours each way to Bartolome (Location of Iconic Galapagos Image)
Day 4: Boat 3 hours to Isabela and hike to Volcan Sierra Negra (Aka Mars)
Day 5: Boat 2 hours each way for trip to Lava Tunnels (Aka Paradise)
Day 6: Boat 2 hours to Floreana to see iguanas; 2 hours back to Santa Cruz
Day 7: Lectures on Conservation
Day 8: Lectures on Conservation
Day 9: 2 hours back to San Cristobal

They saved the best for last since our trip back to San Cristobal was absolutely horrific. Half of us were sick with stomach illnesses, the other half was dealing with boat panic attacks, and the others were soaked from getting splashed by the Ocean. So yes – the island hopping trip was packed with amazing activities. And yes - sea sickness medication is a necessity.

2. GoPro
Exhibit A:

For the fact that I saw sea lions, blue footed boobies, tortugas, flamingos, iguanas, penguins, sharks, sea turtles, and octopi in the course of 72 hours – my GoPro was my number one accessory.

3. Pepto Bismol
So the food…well – it was definitely an experience. We had all of our meals covered by the program so it was always exciting to see what we would eat.

Best Meal: Our last meal where we were served lobster and sushi

Worst Meal: I ordered a vegetable crepe and was served a tortilla with vegetables and gravy. Hmm.

In all cases – pepto is a necessity. Limited bathrooms. Interesting foods. Bumpy boat rides…you get the picture.

4.  Hiking Shoes
I was told by my program that hiking shoes are not a necessity so I only brought sneakers…Little did I know that we were hiking 11 miles to Mars on Day 4.

Quite an unexpected turn of events when we thought we were just taking a casual hike in the muddy lands of Isabela when suddenly there was a massive crater at the peak of the hike. 

As we continued walking, we noticed that we gradually were being teleported to Mars. 

(Real talk – the place is called Volcan Sierra Negra and we were all speechless from how beautiful the terrain was)

5. Snorkel
So, I completed the top two most magical snorkels of my life during the trip. 

Snorkel at Bartolome had perfect visibility, sun was shining, and we were inches away from amazing sea life.

Swimming with turtles, finding octopi, and diving through schools of fish where travel magazine cover pictures are taken…it was overwhelmingly beautiful.

The snorkel at Isabela in in the Lava Tunnels was also unreal. The water was only around 2ft deep, but we swam with a school of whitetip reef sharks, large sea turtles, and even penguins. I never wanted to leave.

6.  Notebook
Being in the Galapagos gives time for a lot of deep thinking and journaling. In addition, two of our last days were filled with lectures from professionals that work in conservation. We saw some of the most beautiful places in the world, but it was disturbing to hear how much damage has already been brought to the islands due to both direct and indirect human impact. 

As a tourist, I’ve come to see how easy it is for us to believe that these places we visit are literal Paradise. But, there is a hidden truth about our changing natural world and the impact humans are leaving behind.

It is not enough for us to simply visit these locations, appreciate in the moment, and then proceed to forget everything when we go home. Nature does not take vacation, and its necessary for us be inspired and change our actions. If we don’t do that, what will be left in 50 years?

Eudora Erickson

<p><span style="color: rgb(85, 85, 85); font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'Lucida Sans', Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;">Senior at the University of Rochester studying economics, sustainability, and art. Pursuing a career in the corporate world but not-so-secretly a nature obsessed forest kid from Oregon and New Mexico.</span></p>

Home University:
University of Rochester
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