Sierra Negra is one of the highest volcanic peaks on Isabela Island. The crater measures 9km across, and is said to be the second largest crater in the world (after Ngorongoro in Tanzania). Veronica told us that is what they tell the tourists, but it is not true, though it is large! It is still active, though the last erruption was in 2005 and we were assured it wasn’t due for another few years. Reassuring, since today’s excursion was to the rim of the crater to peer inside.
We travelled by bus to the start of the track. It was a damp grey day and the path was shrouded in mist. Visibility was poor, but we were optimistic that by the time we reached the top the clouds would part to allow us a view. As we trudged up the slippery, muddy horse track, we hoped that was true! On the way up we stopped at one lookout where there was nothing to see but whiteness. The edge of the world!
After a couple of hours we reached the top and were rewarded with chocolate and a view. The mist lifted long enough for us to see to the other side of the crater, and appreciate how vast it is, and see the flat black lava rock at the base. We took a different route down the hill, which followed the rim for some time, and on a clearer day would be quite scenic.
It was a long walk and a bit challenging – I was very glad to see the bus waiting for us when we finally reached the bottom. The last stretch was quite steep, rocky and slippery, and a test for middle-aged knees. As always there were photo ops on the way, including some pretty butterflies, birds and Galapagos Orchids.
Was it yesterday I said we haven’t had a bad meal? Lunch today was not so much bad as non-existent! We arrived back from our walk tired, muddy and hungry, so went to the nearest cafe for a quick lunch. So we thought. Several of us ordered cheeseburgers, thinking that would be quick and easy. But it turns out they were out of buns. And burger patties. So they offered us a ham and cheese sandwich. We declined and ordered what we preferred. And waited. And waited. Some meals that looked like ours came and then were delivered to a different table. Our meals never arrived, but Chris kindly shared his (huge) spaghetti so we didn’t starve. It would have been funny if we weren’t so exhausted!!
After “lunch” we sat on the beach and relaxed, then headed to the beach bar for happy hour. I could get used to this lifestyle. Dinner was at our now favourite restaurant El Cafetal (home of the world’s best lobster!) and had another fabulous meal, followed by more light painting fun.