If you're thinking about going to the Galapagos and not burning through your wallet, San Cristobal is your best bet. There's plenty of free things to do here like swimming with marine iguanas at Loberia Beach and checking out the Interpretation Center, which also has a killer snorkeling spot nearby. Food isn't too expensive if you eat at Lucky's every day, and drinking Club every night rather than wine will save you a buck or two.
But if you insist on splurging on one tour while you're here, go with Kicker Rock. Most tour companies around Puerto Baquerizo Moreno will charge $100, which at first will seem like a rip off. But it's not. I swear.
We went with the tour company Cindy Sol, who were great. And I don't say that only because they offered us a home cooked vegetarian lunch — their enthusiasm for the Galapagos and its wildlife were unbeatable. Seriously. I'd never heard anyone yell "SHARK!" so many times in a good way before.
So, Kicker Rock is this wildlife utopia off the coast of San Cristobal Island where Hammerheads, Galapagos Sharks, sea lions, and turtles can be found in abundance. And you can snorkel or dive with all of them — even the sharks. Because, according to my 62-year-old Ecuadorean friend Edgar who I met on the plane ride, "I've swam with Galapagos Sharks and Hammerheads plenty of times and always came out fine. I lived in Chicago for five years and was shot four times. "
Take it from Edgar, folks. Kicker Rock is legit.
And here's just some of the wildlife we saw. Key word: some. BECAUSE THERE WAS SO MUCH.
Moral? If you go to the Galapagos without taking at least one wildlife tour, you're not good with your money — you're a cheap ass. So take the damn tour. You won't regret it.