The sun poured through my window, as did the sweet sound of crashing waves. I looked out at the spectacular view of the pale sandy beach, blue blue water, an inviting swimming pool, and yes, an iguana crossing the street.
I’m at Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel on Isabela Island.
Isabela is a much quieter island than Santa Cruz, the “main” Galápagos island. There is just one small town, and the roads are made of packed sand. Speed bumps are lengths of thick rope laid across the sand. And the speed bumps are important. Isabela’s marine iguanas spend much of their day crossing this road, diving in the sea to feast on algae, and crossing back to find a sunny rock to soak up some sun. Iguana Crossing Hotel is very aptly named!
This boutique property with 14 rooms — all decorated differently, of course — is the best property on the island. Some rooms face the sea, and others have a view of a pretty pinkish pond where more iguanas and a few ducks hang out. Rooms are equipped with a TV with DVD (there is no cable or satellite programming), AC (you won’t need it, the breeze is perfect), small fridge, safe, and a large bathroom (though with an eco-shower requiring a button push to keep the flow constant).
The three-story building was constructed by local craftsmen using native materials. Go up to the roof terrace for a cocktail or a dip in the jacuzzi, or lounge by the pool in front of the hotel. You won’t be able to keep your eyes off the view. A delicious breakfast, included in rates, is served either indoors or outdoors.
Lounging all over the port — park benches, sidewalks, on the beach — are sleepy sea lions (and yes, more iguanas). There are almost always a few playing in the shallow water along the pier, and they love to interact with swimmers. You’ll laugh into your snorkel as a sea lion swims circles around you and comes right up to look you in the eye. Penguins, though not quite as playful, also don’t seem to understand the Galápagos rule that humans are to stay 2 meters away from animals.
Isabela Island and Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel are a delight. It is well worth the additional effort to get here.