How to Travel to the Galapagos Islands – For millions of years, the Galápagos Islands, 965 km off the Ecuadorian coast, remained a closely guarded natural secret. The archipelago grew into a haven for a diverse collection of plants and animals over that time. Some daring explorers and swashbuckling pirates began arriving in the Galápagos Islands sometime in the 1800s. Charles Darwin, a young naturalist who studied the islands’ flora and fauna for 19 days in 1835, was the most famous early visitor. On the Origin of Species, which Darwin published in 1859, introduce the world to his theory of evolution and the Galápagos Islands.
How to Travel to the Galapagos Islands?
- 1 How to Travel to the Galapagos Islands?
- 2 How to Travel to the Galapagos Islands Details
- 3 How to Get to the Galápagos Islands?
- 4 When to go to Galápagos Island
- 5 What to Pack for the Galápagos Islands?
- 6 What Not to Bring to the Galápagos Islands?
- 7 Before visiting the Galápagos Island
- 8 Best month to visit in Galapagos Island
- 9 Conclusion
If you’re interested in visiting some of the most biodiverse Islands on Earth, the Galapagos Islands are a perfect place to start. With over 600 species of plants and animals, these Islands are a must-see for any nature lover. But how do you get there? In this post, we’ll give you all the information you need to plan your trip to the Galapagos Islands and make the most of your time there. Let’s get started!
Since then, word has spread about these islands and how beautiful they are. The Galápagos Islands were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, making them Ecuador’s first national park in 1959. Today, more than 275,000 people travel to the Galápagos Islands each year to see the amazing animals and scenery firsthand. Even if you think the Galápagos Islands will be amazing, they frequently surpass your expectations. It’s a place where, for the first time, humans don’t take center stage. Lizards swim there, birds walk there.
How to Travel to the Galapagos Islands Details
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How to Get to the Galápagos Islands?
The most difficult decision you will have to make when planning a trip to the Galápagos Islands is also the first one. Do you want to stay in a hotel on one of the three inhabited islands and take day trips by boat to see other islands and areas. Or, would you rather base yourself on a live-aboard boat that provides lodging and transportation between islands.
There are three main factors to consider when choosing between land and sea way.
- Cost: The Galápagos Islands can be pricey to visit. However, if you choose to be based on land, it is simpler to create an experience that costs less. On San Cristóbal Island, Santa Cruz Island, and, to a much lesser extent, Isabela and Floreana islands, there are hotels and restaurants at a wide range of prices these days. Additionally, there is a range of prices for live-aboard boats. However, even the most basic boats still offer more value than a vacation on land.
- Management of Time: If you decide to go on a vacation that takes place on land, you can expect to spend a lot of time getting from your hotel to a boat, to the destination of the day, and back to your property. On the other hand, live-aboard boats primarily navigate at night when passengers are asleep in their cabins. This means that passengers are prepared for a full day of exploration when they wake up in a new location.
- Access: Travelers will not be able to visit the more distant islands that are included in boat-based itineraries because land-based explorations are limited to the five islands that can be reached in a single day.
Bottom Line: Book a cruise unless you are terrified of sailing, prone to seasickness, or detest the idea of spending a week on a boat. You’ll be able to see as many different parts of the Galápagos Islands as you can and spend less time running back and forth.
The Galápagos archipelago is home to numerous uninhabited islands. On the other hand, Santa Cruz Island and San Cristóbal Island are home to a wide variety of hotels, and several boats depart from their harbors. To be close to the boat’s boarding spot for day trips, make sure to book a hotel near the harbor rather than in the highlands.
The 19-room Golden Bay Galapagos, for instance, is located on San Cristóbal Island’s harbor. Day-trip boats depart from a dock that is less than three minutes’ walk from the property, and you can observe sea lions cavorting on a small beach directly in front of the property. Book the corner suite, which has a bathtub in the living room and sliding glass walls that let you see outside to the natural world.
In the meantime, the Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is located on Santa Cruz Island, right on Puerto Ayora. A beached wooden boat has been cleverly used to create their latest room.
Or, choose a hotel that owns and operates its own boats for the most practical and convenient itineraries and seamless service. For instance, the unrivaled Pikaia Lodge, which is situated in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, has its very own boat and offers packages that include both land and sea adventures for its guests only.
The Sea Lion is the name of the yacht owned by the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, which is located in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. This boat can accommodate up to 20 passengers and two guides, whereas many other day-trip boats can accommodate 16 passengers and only one guide. Additionally, all five of the islands that day-trip boats are permitted to visit are included in Sea Lion’s itinerary.
When to go to Galápagos Island
The Galápagos Islands can be visited at any time. The adventure will undoubtedly be memorable and unique no matter when you go. The dry and cooler months are from June to December. A Gara, or light, misty rain, is still possible, particularly in December, despite the fact that this is the dry season. Gray and cloudy skies are possible.
The warmest and wettest months are January through May, but between showers, the rain makes brilliantly clear blue skies, which are great for photography. The hottest and wettest months are typically March and April, while the coolest months are typically August and September.
Meanwhile, the archipelago’s strong ocean currents cause seasonal variations in water temperatures. The cooler currents and lower water temperatures prevail during the cool and dry season (June through December). During these months, snorkeling may necessitate the use of a wet suit, which will most likely be provided by your hotel or boat. The cold current, on the other hand, brings in a lot of plankton, which attracts hungry marine life.
Booking in Advance
Travelers who can afford to look for sales after arriving for a few days may occasionally find last-minute offers. The Galápagos Islands, on the other hand, are a popular tourist destination, so book in advance. Due to their limited supply, dive boats, in particular, frequently overflow.
What to Pack for the Galápagos Islands?
- On both Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal islands, there are a few small shops that sell basic supplies, but the prices are high and the selection is limited. It’s best to bring only what you need.
- These are some: sturdy walking shoes with a durable sole and a closed toe. Even though land excursions are usually short and the trails are easy, you might occasionally have to walk over sharp volcanic rock and other obstacles.
- Flip-flops or sandals for use in towns and on boats. Particularly if you have booked a boat-based itinerary, leave the heels at home. In heels, it is nearly impossible to navigate even the most luxurious boats’ narrow and steep staircases. A lot of sunscreen with high SPF and resistance to water. Due to Ecuador’s position on the equator, which amplifies the intensity of the sun’s rays, most Galápagos excursions are conduct entirely outdoors.
- Additionally, to help safeguard the coral, animals, and waters surrounding the islands, we recommend purchasing sunscreen that is reef-safe. A hat with a brim to protect against the sun on land excursions.
- A rash guard to protect against the sun while kayaking and snorkeling. A wetsuit will be provided when the water is colder. However, if the water is warmer, you might want to avoid wearing a bulky wet suit.
- Repellent of insects. In the Galápagos Islands at any time of year, insects never particularly bothered me, but it can happen.
Boat captains take great care when choosing secure anchoring spots because the seas are typically calm. Dramamine, on the other hand, should be brought along if you are prone to motion sickness.
What Not to Bring to the Galápagos Islands?
The introduction of non-native plant species is consider a top environmental threat to the Galápagos Islands, so do not bring any fruits, vegetables, or plants of any kind with you and family. Before being brought to the islands, anything that might have seeds or spores stuck to it, look like the soles of your shoes and camping or outdoor gear, should be thoroughly clean and inspect. Visitors to the Galápagos Islands are require to sign an affidavit stating that they will not bring any food, animals, seeds, or filthy camping gear into the area due to the severe threat pose by invasive plant species.
Traveling to the Galápagos Islands
Multiple daily flights to the Galápagos Islands depart from Quito or Guayaquil on Ecuador’s mainland. Both cities have a lot of flights from the United States. Quito’s hotel options are better, and the city’s stunning colonial center, which was design a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, is generally more appealing. In addition, there are plenty of museums, shops, and restaurants to keep you busy for a few days. However, due to Quito’s elevation above 9,000 feet, travelers coming from lower elevations may encounter difficulties. As Ecuador’s largest city, steamy Guayaquil, is at sea level, altitude is not an issue. Guayaquil, on the other hand, has a much smaller selection of lodging and dining options.
Recommended Hotels and Restaurants in Quito
- The best hotel in Ecuador combines history, style, and service at Casa Gangotena, which is locate in the colonial heart of Quito on the recently restored Plaza San Francisco.
- Illa Experience Hotel, a ten-room boutique hotel in the city’s central San Marcos neighborhood, is another top option. Each floor of the renovated mansion houses the property, which has colonial, republican, and contemporary decor.
- Zazu is Ecuador’s only Relais and Châteaux restaurant when it comes to dining. For a more relax encounter, go to sister café Z food, where a Hamptons-style fish-shack energy is reproduce flawlessly and fish rules. Their reimagine Bloody Marys are not to be miss.
- Urko continues to concentrate on showcasing Ecuadorian ingredients and flavors under the direction of chef and owner Daniel Maldonado. For a complete understanding of what Maldonado refers to as “cocina local,” option for the tasting menu.
Before visiting the Galápagos Island
Before visiting the Galápagos Island, it is essential to do your research. Learn about the history, culture, and climate of the island so that you can make the most informed decision possible. Additionally, be sure to pack a variety of clothes and shoes, as the weather can range from warm and humid to dry and cold. And last but not least, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, as the island’s mild climate does not provide enough protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
This book, which was release in 1998, tells the story of the author’s German ancestors, who were some of the first people to settle on Santa Cruz Island. Their triumphs and struggles are inspiring and provide a valuable perspective on the Galápagos Islands. The Anger Meyer Waterfront Inn is run by family members who still reside on Santa Cruz Island.
This clever 2013 documentary tells the story of a real-life 1930s murder mystery involving a self-proclaimed baroness, her lovers, and other Florian Island settlers through clever splicing of video footage, letters, and other archival material. One of the main characters is narrate by Cate Blanchett.
Throughout your time in the Galápagos, this classic and its author will be refer to numerous times. Learn more about the influential theory of evolution develop by Darwin, which was influence in part by the observations he made in the archipelago.
Best month to visit in Galapagos Island
Although the Galápagos Islands are beautiful all year round, December to May is the best time to visit. During this time, temperatures range from the low 70s to the mid-80s, making it ideal for hiking and spotting wildlife. Even though there are brief but frequent showers during this time of year, the sun shines brightly on most days. The Humboldt Current, which flows north-west along South America’s west coast from June to November, brings cooler temperatures and nutrient-rich water that draws rare fish and birds.
This time of year, you’ll see a lot of different species, including penguins and albatrosses. However, during these months, rain showers last longer, and winds tend to be stronger, making the seas rougher. Keep in mind that the government restricts the number of tourists allow on the islands at any given time, so you’ll need to book months in advance to get a spot, no matter when you go.
Over 3,000 square miles of islands and ocean make up the Galapagos National Park, and most visitor attractions can only be reach by boat. To see the unique nature and wildlife of the Islands, even tourists who live on land must take a day boat. Between the islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz, Floreana, and San Cristobal, passenger ferries are operate by the government company Ingala. These leave twice a day early in the morning and late in the afternoon. With tickets costing between 2000 and 2500, they are the cheapest way to travel between the islands. Does it make sense to visit the Galápagos Islands? A trip to the Galápagos Islands is well worth it. It is one of the most unique landscapes in the world, and you can only find incredible endemic species like the Darwin Finch, Galápagos Fur Seal, and Giant Tortoise here.
How long should I stay in the Galapagos to see every island. The joke goes that it will take 14 to 15 days for visitors to see every island in the archipelago. However, we suggest scheduling some downtime in between two weeks of snorkeling, hiking, and exploring lava tunnels.