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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 so much but to see! My Galapagos Islands vacation was filled with studying alternatives, however most of all it was filled with awe and pleasure. How may it not be – the Islands and wildlife are beautiful. It’s like being inside an episode of Planet Earth.

I can’t imagine 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 realized a lot. My smug long-time-traveler aspect thought I knew what to anticipate…in any case…I had seen all of it earlier than. However each day I realized one thing new that stunned and delighted me.

Galapagos Islands Cruises and Resorts

There are numerous, 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 eventually, you’ll have to determine what time of yr 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 important 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 per week on a ship however nonetheless wish to discover the islands or perhaps simply persist with land-based experiences round Santa Cruz Island.

Metropolitan Touring was precisely what I used to be in search of – the match was good for me. Nevertheless – you must make your selection primarily based in your journey type and price range. And right here are some things I realized that may aid you with that selection.

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

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

That’s why I made a decision to place collectively this listing of issues in regards to the Galapagos that I type of want I knew beforehand. A few of these issues are quirky, some are important to know, and a few will aid you determine what kind of tour you’ll want to e book for a Galapagos Islands vacation.

galapagos islands vacation

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

Really – I did know this earlier than my journey – nonetheless, 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 positioned 605 miles off the coast of Ecuador and are a part of the nation similar to Hawaii is part of the USA.

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

To go to you’ll have to observe the Ecuador visa guidelines, in addition to pay a park entrance payment.

The Galapagos Nationwide Park Entrance payment is levied on all guests to the islands. The Galapagos entry payment is presently 100 USD per particular person (diminished to 50 USD for kids below 12 years previous). This payment should 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 local people by enhancing primary providers, schooling initiatives, sports activities, well being, environmental sanitation, environmental providers, and providers straight associated to vacationers.

2. The Distinction Between a Tortoise and a Turtle

All tortoises are turtles, however all turtles usually are not tortoises. You’ll see each within the Galapagos Islands – and sure, there’s a distinction! Truthfully – 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 typically steer clear of water besides to drink it. Their shell is a little more rounded/domed they usually nest and stay on land. Within the Galapagos, you’ll see the endemic Galapagos Big Tortoise. These creatures are unimaginable to see. They lumber round slowly and stay for tons of of years. You’ll be able to view them at varied sanctuaries they’ve on the islands and study 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 could find sanctuaries on Santa Cruz Island, San Cristobal, and Isabella Islands.

Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle

A turtle usually 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 in the event you take to the water within the Galapagos. I used to be capable of snorkel together with the modern 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 whenever you hear in regards to the Galapagos Islands. Because of his well-known e book, The Origin of Species, he type of put the Galapagos on the map. Nevertheless, you might be stunned to study 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 suppose that he may 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 suppose how a lot you possibly can accomplish in the event you go on a week-long Galapagos Islands vacation!

4. There’s a Dance Get together on Espanola Island

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

The dance is likely one of 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 eventually 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 yr, which they may guard vigilantly for 2 months.

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

That’s why that is one dance occasion 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 will 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 yr, however are nonetheless training, usually peaking in October.

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

The islands have an intensive human historical past that’s typically neglected. They could 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 had 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 attention-grabbing {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 had 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 isn’t Tropical

Regardless of its equatorial location, the Galapagos local weather isn’t 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 bushes; 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 bushes/forests there and totally different animals additionally stay 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 received’t discover are palm bushes, cabanas, umbrella drinks, and tropical seashores. Sure – there are seashores – and they’re stunning – 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 recent season (or instances when it rains) is a good time to go to the Galapagos. Actually, it might be one of the best time to go to!

I like visiting places in scorching, wet seasons as a result of the typical traveler doesn’t know that the islands really solely get brief showers that final solely 20 to half-hour. Folks suppose that the wet season is a continuing downpour, raining all day, ruining their trip. Properly – 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 scorching season.

Galapagos Scorching Season

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

Ocean circumstances are clear and heat; wonderful for snorkeling and diving. Temporary tropical showers that final 30 or 40 minutes interrupt vivid sunny days preserving vegetation inexperienced and wildlife energetic. What’s actually attention-grabbing is that in the event you have a look at the entire yr, and see the variety of hours of precise solar all year long, it’s within the scorching season that you simply get essentially the most solar though it’s the time of the yr 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

Count on a bit extra wind and water choppiness, however this is a superb time for mountaineering and viewing energetic marine life. There’s additionally loads of snorkeling to be completed – 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 might have most likely learn this earlier than – however it’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 at you as you stroll inches away from it and doesn’t even flinch. The rule is to remain 6 ft 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. And so they 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 in a different way 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 realized over time that people usually are not a menace to them. That is partly due to all the conservation efforts put in place by Ecuador and the tourism business. Lots of of years in the past earlier than it was a protected space, sailors did come and take/kill animals on these islands. However by means of years of safety, now the generations of animals solely know people as no menace, so they won’t be phased by you strolling inside just a few ft of their nest!

This is similar type of factor that occurs in Antarctica and the Subantarctic Islands. Penguins will encompass you with no concern and I personally suppose 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. Possibly that’s why I like distant locations and excessive journey a lot!

9. Galapagos Sea Lions Suppose Every little thing is Theirs

Don’t be stunned if when you’re in port cities like Puerto Baquerizo Moreno you’ll discover the Sea Lions simply hanging round city. And so they aren’t simply contained to the seashores or port. You’ll discover them at bus stops, on prime of picnic tables (significantly – how did they get on prime of a desk?!!), they are going to be all over the place. I determine they type of do personal the place…they had 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 strategy them or feed them and even suppose 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 developed and tailored to the distant islands abandoning their authentic traits. It’s onerous to really get a precise variety of endemic animals, however it’s over 30 for positive. Since these Endemic species are restricted to a geographical space and don’t happen naturally in some other a part of the world, they bought the classification identify ‘Galapagos’ once they had been recorded. That’s why almost each animal you level to and ask your information, “What’s that?” can 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 Chicken, Galapagos Finch, Galapagos Fur Seal…the listing can go on and on. Though 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 seem essentially the most interesting method to go in your Galapagos Islands vacation, don’t select too quick. Bigger, multiple-guided ships really supply distinct benefits for vacationers.

A lot of the cruise ships within the Galapagos are sized for 16 company, which usually discover the islands as a bunch. Nevertheless, bigger expedition ships have a number of guides and company can look ahead to 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, as an example), language (English, Spanish, German, to call just a few), and exercise degree (easy-going to strenuous), group sizes typically run even smaller. Plus – in case you are susceptible to seasickness – or apprehensive about it, the larger the ship the much less the jostling. Your abdomen will thanks!

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

I’m usually a proponent of ‘the smaller ship the higher in expedition cruising’ – nonetheless on this occasion, I used to be SO THANKFUL that we had been capable of break up into totally different teams with totally different pursuits. We had a bunch that cherished strenuous hikes and due to that I used to be capable of see rather more of the islands – and I used to be simply happier general. 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 deal with mountaineering and snorkeling. I most well-liked having extra time within the water with the ocean lions than checking birds off an inventory.

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 – nonetheless I’m not a diver, however I do prefer to snorkel. It was my huge shock and spotlight of the entire Galapagos trip. I usually choose mountaineering 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 ‘recreation of hen’, and Sea Turtles swim previous languidly because the rays mix into the sand beneath. The Galapagos Islands are one of many world’s best snorkeling locations, the place these legends of the ocean will be noticed near the floor.

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

So, in case you are the kind of one who is like…uh…I don’t know…the water seems chilly…it’s cloudy…perhaps I’ll simply sit on the seaside as a substitute, 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 vegetation on every island, it’s essential to choose your route fastidiously if there are particular animals you wish to see. I did the Japanese Islands and there aren’t 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 throughout the archipelago. Every island of the archipelago group behaves in a different way. You might suppose it doesn’t matter which islands you select to go to – however it does matter. The extra islands you see, the extra you perceive why the Galapagos is so totally different and essential.

Galapagos Islands holiday

To assist guests tailor their itineraries and soak up one of the best steadiness 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 original and engaging wildlife – these 15 animals are essentially the most iconic Galapagos wildlife. To take it a step additional – you possibly can 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.

Methods to Get to the Galapagos Islands

The one method to get there may be to fly. Nevertheless, direct worldwide flights don’t exist; you can not 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 type of cities as a result of most worldwide flights get in late at night time. Nevertheless – that is excellent news as there are a few stunning lodges I like to recommend in the event you keep in these cities! And each of those lodges are posh…they’re each part of the luxurious Relais Chateaux Assortment. A group of resort properties which might 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)– you should definitely test them out!

The place to Keep on Your Galapagos Layovers

Get a switch into Previous City Quito and keep at historic Casa Gangotena. This resort is such a deal with to remain in – it not solely presents a good looking place to remain in coronary heart of the historic heart, however it additionally will lead you thru one of the best elements of town educating you about Ecuador’s historical past, tradition, and traditions. I stayed there for just a few days and fell in love with the historic appeal, distinctive issues to do, and unimaginable cocktails!

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

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

Learn Resort del Parque Evaluations on Journey Advisor / E book a Room Right here / Extra lodges 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’ve got 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 completely satisfied to assist primarily based on my experiences or put you in contact with some tour suppliers who can reply your entire questions.



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