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13 Issues To Know Earlier than You E-book a Galapagos Islands Vacation

Generally I believe I’ve seen all of it in terms of journey…after which I am going to a vacation spot that blows my thoughts and makes me understand that I’ve rather a lot but to see! My Galapagos Islands vacation was stuffed with studying alternatives, however most of all it was stuffed with awe and pleasure. How might it not be – the Islands and wildlife are gorgeous. It’s like being inside an episode of Planet Earth.

I can’t consider I waited so lengthy to go to the Galapagos Islands! After years of individuals telling me I ought to go there, I lastly pulled the set off on the Galapagos in November of 2021 – a time when the world was slowly beginning to transfer round once more. It was an ideal time for me to go to these particular islands for the primary time.

Throughout my 5 days there, I discovered a lot. My smug long-time-traveler facet thought I knew what to anticipate…in any case…I had seen all of it earlier than. However every single day I discovered one thing new that stunned and delighted me.

Galapagos Islands Cruises and Resorts

There are various, many Galapagos cruises (and even resorts!) to select from. Along with the kind of tour, size of the tour, and sort of boat – you’ll even have to decide on which islands and wildlife you wish to see. And at last, you’ll must resolve what time of 12 months you wish to come as it’s a year-round vacation spot!

la pinta galapagos cruise
Metropolitan Touring’s La Pinta Yacht

For reference, I went with Metropolitan Touring on their Japanese Islands Cruise, an Ecuadorian-owned firm that has been vital to Galapagos tourism and conservation for many years.

Metropolitan Touring even has a resort, Finch Bay Galapagos, on Santa Cruz Island. That is nice for individuals who won’t wish to spend every week on a ship however nonetheless wish to discover the islands or perhaps simply keep on with land-based experiences round Santa Cruz Island.

Metropolitan Touring was precisely what I used to be on the lookout for – the match was excellent for me. Nevertheless – you must make your selection primarily based in your journey fashion and price range. And right here are some things I discovered that can provide help to with that selection.

13 Issues You Ought to Know Earlier than You Go to the Galapagos

I typically discovered myself pondering – ‘I want I had recognized this earlier than I bought right here’.

That’s why I made a decision to place collectively this record of issues in regards to the Galapagos that I form of want I knew beforehand. A few of these issues are quirky, some are important to know, and a few will provide help to resolve what kind of tour it would be best to ebook for a Galapagos Islands vacation.

galapagos islands vacation

1. It’s in Ecuador – the Galapagos Islands shouldn’t be its personal nation

Truly – I did know this earlier than my journey – nevertheless, I used to be stunned to seek out out that most individuals don’t know that the Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador. They’re situated 605 miles off the coast of Ecuador and are a part of the nation identical to Hawaii is part of america.

Where is the Galapagos islands
The place are the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador?

To go to you’ll must comply with the Ecuador visa guidelines, in addition to pay a park entrance charge.

The Galapagos Nationwide Park Entrance charge is levied on all guests to the islands. The Galapagos entry charge is at present 100 USD per particular person (diminished to 50 USD for youngsters below 12 years previous). This charge have to be paid, in money, on the airport on arrival. Funds from the entry tax for vacationers are used to finance the conservation of biodiversity of wildlife, terrestrial and marine, and profit the area people by bettering primary companies, training tasks, sports activities, well being, environmental sanitation, environmental companies, and companies immediately associated to vacationers.

2. The Distinction Between a Tortoise and a Turtle

All tortoises are turtles, however all turtles should not tortoises. You’ll see each within the Galapagos Islands – and sure, there’s a distinction! Actually – earlier than I went, I didn’t know what the distinction was.

galapagos giant tortoise
Galapagos Big Tortoise

A tortoise is a land animal; they often avoid water besides to drink it. Their shell is a little more rounded/domed they usually nest and dwell on land. Within the Galapagos, you’ll see the endemic Galapagos Big Tortoise. These creatures are unimaginable to see. They lumber round slowly and dwell for lots of of years. You may view them at varied sanctuaries they’ve on the islands and be taught extra about their lengthy lives, and the conservation effort on the islands to maintain this uncommon, previous, species alive. A go to to one in all these sanctuaries is a should! You’ll find sanctuaries on Santa Cruz Island, San Cristobal, and Isabella Islands.

Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle

A turtle typically lives within the sea and has a extra streamlined skinny shell to be extra aerodynamic within the water. Sea turtles will actually solely come on land to put eggs. And sure – you’ll additionally see loads of sea turtles for those who take to the water within the Galapagos. I used to be capable of snorkel together with the smooth sea turtles and it was a spotlight of my Galapagos trip!

Things To Know Before You Book a Galapagos Islands Vacation

3. Charles Darwin Solely Spent a Few Weeks within the Galapagos

Charles Darwin might be the very first thing that involves thoughts once you hear in regards to the Galapagos Islands. Because of his well-known ebook, The Origin of Species, he form of put the Galapagos on the map. Nevertheless, you might be stunned to be taught he was really solely there for five weeks and visited simply 4 of the 13 islands! As well as, of the 5 weeks there, he was solely onshore for two of the weeks.

Galapagos islands vacation
It’s nice to spend time onshore within the Galapagos

It’s loopy to assume that he might have such a profound journey with solely two weeks on land! The wildlife he encountered impressed him to develop his Idea of Evolution; which solidified him in historical past. Simply assume how a lot you’ll be able to accomplish for those who go on a week-long Galapagos Islands vacation!

4. There’s a Dance Social gathering on Espanola Island

You’ve heard of full moon events in Thailand…effectively the Galapagos has a particular dance get together of its personal on Espanola Island. I used to be enthralled as I discovered in regards to the Waved Albatross mating dance. And I used to be much more delighted after I bought to see it!

The dance is among the most extraordinary courtship rituals amongst seabirds – you may be mesmerized.

They mate for all times – a dedication that at all times begins with this hilarious courtship show – a dance of affection. The dance features a exact sequence of strikes: quickly circling and bowing, clacking beaks, mouth gaping (my favourite), stopping/beginning at precisely the identical time, and at last elevating their beaks skyward while letting out a “whoo-ooo” name as a ‘climax’. As soon as mated, a pair will lay only one egg per 12 months, which they are going to guard vigilantly for 2 months.

Can’t think about it? Then watch it for your self!

That’s why that is one dance get together you don’t wish to miss in particular person!

Finest Time to See Waved Albatross Performing the Mating Dance

It’s thought that some 20,000 pairs breed and nest on Espanola Island annually.
Courtship dances of newly-paired albatross and well-established pairs may be seen solely between April and December. The nearer to the tip of that interval you’ll see the courtship of pairs who didn’t breed that 12 months, however are nonetheless training, usually peaking in October.

5. The Islands Have been Initially Colonized for ‘Massive Enterprise’

The islands have an intensive human historical past that’s typically neglected. They might have been one of many final locations on Earth to be colonized by people, however sailors, whalers, and adventurers have been stopping there for a minimum of the previous 5 centuries. Within the 1860s the islands have been colonized with the hope of huge enterprise and the manufacturing of a preferred purple dye. The islands are stuffed with a lichen, orchil, which produces a purple dye that had ‘financial potential’.

Colonizing the Galapagos Islands
Colonizing the Galapagos Islands

It’s fascinating {that a} enterprise purpose, is the one which moved Ecuador to colonize the Galapagos as a result of previous to this enterprise, Galapagos Islands had no possession, they have been no man’s land. It was solely due to the orchil enterprise potential that Ecuador determined to place the flag on these distant islands on February 12 of 1832. Nevertheless, by 1879, the worldwide marketplace for plant-based orchil dye had crashed, and the enterprise enterprise crashed together with it. Tourism on the island didn’t actually begin till 1934.

6. A Galapagos Island Trip shouldn’t be Tropical

Regardless of its equatorial location, the Galapagos local weather shouldn’t be as tropical as you may think. The islands are made up of lowland and highland zones. The lowland areas are fairly desolate and extra like a dry, arid desert. There are few timber; primarily cactus-like my favourite Prickly Pear Cacti discovered on lots of the island’s lowlands.

The highlands are extra humid and greener. You’ll discover timber/forests there and totally different animals additionally dwell there. Right here’s a map of the totally different islands and their highlands/lowlands areas.

Galapagos Islands highlands lowlands
Highlands and Lowlands on Galapagos Islands

Nevertheless, what you gained’t discover are palm timber, cabanas, umbrella drinks, and tropical seashores. Sure – there are seashores – and they’re lovely – however they’re additionally occupied by sea lions, iguanas, birds, and cacti.

Things To Know Before You Book a Galapagos Islands Vacation

7. Galapagos Wet Season Solely Consists of Brief Showers and is the Finest Time to Go to

I do know many people who find themselves involved about touring throughout wet seasons – however truthfully, the new season (or occasions when it rains) is a good time to go to the Galapagos. In reality, it might be the perfect time to go to!

I like visiting places in sizzling, wet seasons as a result of the common traveler doesn’t know that the islands really solely get quick showers that final solely 20 to half-hour. Individuals assume that the wet season is a continuing downpour, raining all day, ruining their trip. Nicely – right here’s the key – it’s not like that in any respect within the Galapagos! You see, there are two distinct seasons within the Galapagos Islands – a dry season and a sizzling season.

Galapagos Scorching Season

Runs from December to Might with common temperatures of 88 to 70 F
and water temperatures are 74 to 76 F

Ocean circumstances are clear and heat; glorious for snorkeling and diving. Transient tropical showers that final 30 or 40 minutes interrupt vibrant sunny days retaining vegetation inexperienced and wildlife lively. What’s actually fascinating is that for those who take a look at the entire 12 months, and see the variety of hours of precise solar all year long, it’s within the sizzling season that you just get probably the most solar though it’s the time of the 12 months when it rains.

Galapagos Dry Season

Runs from June to November with common temperatures of 78 to 62 F
and water temperatures are 74 to 66 F

Anticipate a bit extra wind and water choppiness, however this is a superb time for climbing and viewing lively marine life. There may be additionally loads of snorkeling to be carried out – however you’ll most likely be dawning a wetsuit to maintain you a bit hotter. I went in November, the dry season, and I undoubtedly used a wetsuit for snorkeling!

8. Galapagos Animals Aren’t Afraid of People

You have got most likely learn this earlier than – but it surely’s onerous to actually grasp till you might be there, and a sea lion wobbles proper previous you, or a Blue Footed Boobie has a nest proper on the path and simply seems to be at you as you stroll inches away from it and doesn’t even flinch. The rule is to remain 6 toes away from the wildlife, however the wildlife doesn’t have a rule- they arrive as near you as they like.

Our guides defined that the animal’s lack of concern of people on the Galapagos Islands has to do with the truth that they don’t have any predators. They usually don’t have any predators as a result of they’re on an archipelago 600 miles away from the closest landmass; that’s when isolation is available in. Giant carnivores would have by no means been capable of attain the islands as a result of they’re so distant. Giant mammals can’t float there or swim there. Archipelagos behave very otherwise than continental islands the place there’s a steady migration motion of animals within the space.

As well as, the species on the island have discovered over time that people should not a risk to them. That is partially due to all the conservation efforts put in place by Ecuador and the tourism business. A whole bunch of years in the past earlier than it was a protected space, sailors did come and take/kill animals on these islands. However by way of years of safety, now the generations of animals solely know people as no risk, so they won’t be phased by you strolling inside a number of toes of their nest!

This is identical form of factor that occurs in Antarctica and the Subantarctic Islands. Penguins will encompass you with no concern and I personally assume that’s one of many issues that makes locations like this so magical. You’ll by no means expertise getting so near wild animals besides on actually distant islands. Perhaps that’s why I like distant locations and excessive journey a lot!

9. Galapagos Sea Lions Suppose The whole lot is Theirs

Don’t be stunned if if you end up in port cities like Puerto Baquerizo Moreno you’ll discover the Sea Lions simply hanging round city. They usually aren’t simply contained to the seashores or port. You’ll discover them at bus stops, on prime of picnic tables (severely – how did they get on prime of a desk?!!), they are going to be in every single place. I determine they form of do personal the place…they have been right here on the islands first in any case. Simply beware – they might look domesticated as they lay on a bench on the bus cease, however they’re nonetheless wild. Don’t method them or feed them and even assume that they’re ‘pets’.

Sea Lion at bus stop Galapagos
Simply ready for a bus…

10. When in Doubt Put ‘Galapagos’ in Entrance of It

The islands have endemic species that had advanced and tailored to the distant islands forsaking their authentic traits. It’s onerous to really get an actual variety of endemic animals, but it surely’s over 30 for positive. Since these Endemic species are restricted to a geographical space and don’t happen naturally in every other a part of the world, they bought the classification title ‘Galapagos’ once they have been recorded. That’s why almost each animal you level to and ask your information, “What’s that?” will probably be answered with the phrase Galapagos ‘fill within the clean’.

I discovered it a bit humorous after some time; Galapagos sea lion, Galapagos Big Tortoise, Galapagos Albatross, Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Penguin, Galapagos Pink Iguana, Galapagos Buzzing Chook, Galapagos Finch, Galapagos Fur Seal…the record can go on and on. Despite the fact that I discovered it entertaining – it’s additionally fairly cool when you concentrate on it; making the islands much more particular.

11. Ship Dimension Issues in your Galapagos Trip

Whereas at first thought a small, single-guided ship could appear probably the most interesting option to go on your Galapagos Islands vacation, don’t select too quick. Bigger, multiple-guided ships really supply distinct benefits for vacationers.

Many of the cruise ships within the Galapagos are sized for 16 company, which typically discover the islands as a bunch. Nevertheless, bigger expedition ships have a number of guides and company can stay up for visiting the islands in smaller-sized teams: simply 11-12 company per information on common. With the potential for additional divisions primarily based on curiosity (birding, for example), language (English, Spanish, German, to call a number of), and exercise degree (easy-going to strenuous), group sizes typically run even smaller. Plus – if you’re susceptible to seasickness – or anxious about it, the larger the ship the much less the jostling. Your abdomen will thanks!

Galapagos Hiking
I used to be so comfortable there was a bunch that enjoyed onerous hikes!

I’m usually a proponent of ‘the smaller ship the higher in expedition cruising’ – nevertheless on this occasion, I used to be SO THANKFUL that we have been capable of break up into totally different teams with totally different pursuits. We had a bunch that liked strenuous hikes and due to that I used to be capable of see far more of the islands – and I used to be simply happier total. The opposite simpler hikes wouldn’t have happy me. As well as, I wasn’t at all times into hard-core birding so I most well-liked to concentrate on climbing and snorkeling. I most well-liked having extra time within the water with the ocean lions than checking birds off a listing.

Things To Know Before You Book a Galapagos Islands Vacation

12. No Matter What, Go Snorkeling within the Galapagos

Galapagos Diving is meant to be excellent – nevertheless I’m not a diver, however I do prefer to snorkel. It was my massive shock and spotlight of the entire Galapagos trip. I usually want climbing to snorkeling – however the sheer pleasure of snorkeling and taking part in with sea lions, sea turtles, and the dazzling fish was a once-in-a-lifetime expertise.

Reef sharks whizz by, not far out of your flippers, Sea Lions twist and switch zooming previous you in a loopy ‘sport of hen’, and Sea Turtles swim previous languidly because the rays mix into the sand under. The Galapagos Islands are one of many world’s best snorkeling locations, the place these legends of the ocean may be noticed near the floor.

I used to be actually screaming and guffawing in pleasure as the ocean lions swam round me. It appeared just like the extra twisting, turning, and bubbles I made, they have been extra pondering that I used to be only a pal taking part in with them.

So, if you’re the kind of one who is like…uh…I don’t know…the water seems to be chilly…it’s cloudy…perhaps I’ll simply sit on the seaside as an alternative, I can see sufficient from right here…


13. Each Island is a Separate World of Its Personal – Your Itinerary Issues

As a result of there are totally different species and crops on every island, it’s necessary to choose your route fastidiously if there are particular animals you wish to see. I did the Japanese Islands and there are not any Galapagos Penguins on these islands. Nevertheless, my favourite dancing Waved Albatross solely exists on Espanola Island, and my itinerary went there!

The Galapagos is uncommon as a result of the islands don’t behave equally inside the archipelago. Every island of the archipelago group behaves otherwise. Chances are you’ll assume it doesn’t matter which islands you select to go to – but it surely does matter. The extra islands you see, the extra you perceive why the Galapagos is so totally different and necessary.

Galapagos Islands holiday

To assist guests tailor their itineraries and soak up the perfect stability of Galapagos wildlife, The BIG 15 was created. Constructed from consensus amongst students, Naturalist Guides, and island connoisseurs to decide on the archipelago’s most unusual and engaging wildlife – these 15 animals are probably the most iconic Galapagos wildlife. To take it a step additional – you’ll be able to see precisely on which Galapagos Island every of those 15 animals resides. Hopefully, this helps your planning of precisely what islands you wish to go to.

How one can Get to the Galapagos Islands

The one option to get there may be to fly. Nevertheless, direct worldwide flights don’t exist; you can’t fly on to the Galapagos. Vacationers should first arrive at mainland Ecuador previous to their flight to the Galapagos Islands.

You’ll fly into Quito airport (UIO) or Guayaquil airport (GYE) for starters. You’ll probably keep in a single day in a kind of cities as a result of most worldwide flights get in late at evening. Nevertheless – that is excellent news as there are a few lovely motels I like to recommend for those who keep in these cities! And each of those motels are posh…they’re each part of the luxurious Relais Chateaux Assortment. A set of lodge properties which can be five-star-quality providing a refined expertise in rooms, service, and superlative delicacies.

I flew JetBlue which has some nice offers to get to Quito (direct from Fort Lauderdale) and Quayaquil (direct from/to Fort Lauderdale or JFK)– make sure to verify them out!

The place to Keep on Your Galapagos Layovers

Get a switch into Outdated City Quito and keep at historic Casa Gangotena. This lodge is such a deal with to remain in – it not solely provides a stupendous place to remain in coronary heart of the historic heart, but it surely additionally will lead you thru the perfect components of town educating you about Ecuador’s historical past, tradition, and traditions. I stayed there for a number of days and fell in love with the historic attraction, distinctive issues to do, and unimaginable cocktails!

Learn Casa Gangotena opinions on Journey Advisor / E-book a Room right here / Extra motels in Quito

If you’re in Guayaquil – a brief switch from the airport is Lodge del Parque. That is pure colonial luxurious surrounded by a lush park. I can’t think about a extra lovely place to spend your switch. I stayed there on my approach house from the Galapagos Islands as I had one in a single day earlier than I might get a flight out. Not solely was the historic constructing lovely, the rooms massive (with a rest room in regards to the measurement of a kitchen), however the restaurant and the tasting menu have been beautiful – it was an ideal finish to a magical Galapagos trip for me!

Learn Lodge del Parque Critiques on Journey Advisor / E-book a Room Right here / Extra motels in Quito

Galapagos Islands Vacation

Hopefully, this helped you hone in on the place you wish to go within the Galapagos, in addition to what kind of ship you’d prefer to take! And it additionally most likely refreshed your reminiscence on turtle vs. tortoise! When you have any questions in regards to the islands or how to decide on, be at liberty to depart me questions within the feedback and I’m comfortable to assist primarily based on my experiences or put you in contact with some tour suppliers who can reply all your questions.



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