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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 on the subject of journey…after which I’m going to a vacation spot that blows my thoughts and makes me notice that I’ve lots but to see! My Galapagos Islands vacation was filled with studying alternatives, however most of all it was filled 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 realized a lot. My conceited long-time-traveler aspect thought I knew what to anticipate…in spite of everything…I had seen all of it earlier than. However day-after-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 kind of tour, size of 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 resolve 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 essential 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 possibly simply persist with land based mostly experiences round Santa Cruz Island.

Metropolitan Touring was precisely what I used to be searching for – the match was good for me. Nonetheless – you need to make your selection based mostly in your journey model and price range. And right here are some things I realized that may make it easier to with that selection.

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

I usually discovered myself pondering – ‘I want I had identified this earlier than I acquired right here’.

That’s why I made a decision to place collectively this record of issues in regards to the Galapagos that I type want I knew beforehand. A few of these issues are quirky, some are important to know, and a few will make it easier to resolve 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 shouldn’t be its personal nation

Truly – I did know this earlier than my journey – nevertheless I used to be stunned to search out out that most individuals don’t know that the Galapogos 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 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 charge.

The Galapagos Nationwide Park Entrance charge is levied on all guests to the islands. The Galapagos entry charge is at the moment 100 USD per individual (decreased to 50 USD for youngsters beneath 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 advantages the area people by enhancing fundamental providers, schooling tasks, sports activities, well being, environmental sanitation, environmental providers and providers instantly associated to vacationers.

2. The Distinction Between a Tortoise and a Turtle

All tortoises are turtles, however all turtles aren’t 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 Large Tortoise

A tortoise is a land animal; they often steer clear of water besides to drink it. Their shell is a little more rounded/domed and so they nest and stay on land. Within the Galapagos, you’ll see the endemic Galapagos Large Tortoise. These creatures are unbelievable to see. They lumber round slowly and stay for lots 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 vist to one among these sanctuaries is a should! You’ll 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 when you take to the water within the Galapagos. I used to be capable of snorkel together with the glossy sea turtles and it was a spotlight of my Galapagos trip!

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

Charles Darwin might be the very first thing that involves thoughts if you hear in regards to the Galapagos Islands. Due to his well-known e book, The Origin of Species, he form of put the Galapagos on the map. Nonetheless, chances are you’ll be stunned to study he was truly solely there for five weeks, and visited simply 4 of the 13 islands! As well as, of the 5 weeks there, he was solely on shore for two of the weeks.

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

It’s loopy to suppose that he might have such a profound journey with solely two weeks on land! The wildlife he encountered impressed him to develop his Concept of Evolution; which solidified him in historical past. Simply suppose how a lot you possibly can accomplish when you go on a week-long Galapagos Islands vacation!

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

The islands have an intensive human historical past that’s usually 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 no less than the previous 5 centuries. Within the 1860’s the islands had been colonized with the hope of huge enterprise and the manufacturing of a well-liked purple dye. The islands are crammed 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 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. Nonetheless, 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.

5. 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 bushes; primarily cactus like my favourite Prickly Pear Cacti discovered on most of the island’s lowlands.

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

Galapagos Islands highlands lowlands
Highlands and Lowlands on Galapagos Islands

Nonetheless, what you gained’t discover are palm bushes, 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.

6. Galapagos Wet Season Solely Consists of Quick Showers and is the Finest Time to Go to

I do know many people who find themselves involved about journey throughout wet seasons – however actually the new season (or instances when it rains) is a superb time to go to the Galapagos. IN truth it might be the very best time to go to!

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

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

Ocean situations are clear and heat; wonderful for snorkeling and diving. Transient tropical showers that final 30 or 40 minutes interrupt vivid sunny days conserving vegetation inexperienced and wildlife lively. What’s actually fascinating is that when you have a look at the entire yr, and see the variety of hours of precise solar all year long, it’s within the sizzling season that you simply get probably 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 climbing and viewing lively marine life. There’s additionally loads of snorkeling to be executed – however you’ll in all probability be dawning a wetsuit to maintain you a bit hotter. I went in November, the dry season, and I positively used a wetsuit for snorkeling!

7. Galapagos Animals Aren’t Afraid of People

You have got in all probability learn this earlier than – nevertheless it’s exhausting to essentially 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 appears to be like 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. Massive carnivores would have by no means been capable of attain the islands as a result of they’re so distant. Massive mammals can’t float there or swim there. Archipelagos behave very in another 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 aren’t a risk to them. That is partially due to the entire conservation efforts put in place by Ecuador and the tourism trade. Tons 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 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 sort 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 in actually distant islands. Possibly that’s why I like distant locations and excessive journey a lot!

8. Galapagos Sea Lions Suppose Every 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. They usually aren’t simply contained to the seashores or port. You’ll discover them at bus stops, on high of picnic tables (significantly – how did they get on high of a desk?!!), they are going to be in all places. I determine they form of do personal the place…they had been right here on the islands first in spite of everything. Simply beware – they could 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…

9. 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 social gathering 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 after I acquired to see it!

The dance is among the most extraordinary courtship rituals amongst seabirds – you’ll 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), cease/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 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 social gathering you don’t wish to miss in individual!

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 top of that interval you’ll see the courtship of pairs who didn’t breed that yr, however are nonetheless working towards, usually peaking in October.

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

The islands have endemic species that had advanced and tailored on the distant islands abandoning their unique traits. It’s exhausting to really get a precise variety of endemic animals, bit it’s over 30 for certain. Since these Endemic species are restricted to a geographical space and don’t happen naturally in some other a part of the world, they acquired the classification identify of ‘Galapagos’ once they had been recorded. That’s why practically 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 Large Tortoise, Galapagos Albatross, Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Penguin, Galapagos Pink Iguana, Galapagos Buzzing Hen, Galapagos Finch, Galapagos Fur Seal…the record can go on and on. Though I discovered it entertaining – it’s additionally fairly cool when you consider 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 method to go to your Galapagos Islands vacation, don’t select too quick. Bigger, multiple-guided ships truly supply distinct benefits for vacationers.

A lot of the cruise ships within the Galapagos are sized for 16 visitors, which usually discover the islands as a gaggle. Nonetheless, bigger expedition ships have a number of guides and visitors can sit up for visiting the islands in smaller-sized teams: simply 11-12 visitors per information on common. With the potential for additional divisions based mostly on curiosity (birding, as an example), language (English, Spanish, German, to call a number of), and exercise stage (easy-going to strenuous), group sizes usually run even smaller. Plus – if you’re vulnerable to sea illness – or anxious about it, the larger the ship the much less the jostling. Your abdomen will thanks!

Galapagos Hiking
I used to be so blissful there was a gaggle who preferred exhausting 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 had been capable of break up into completely different teams with completely different pursuits. We had a gaggle that cherished 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 glad me. As well as, I wasn’t at all times into exhausting core birding so I most well-liked to give attention to climbing and snorkeling. I most well-liked having extra time within the water with the ocean lions than checking birds off an inventory.

12. No Matter What, Go Snorkeling within the Galapagos

Galapagos Diving is meant to be supurb – nevertheless I’m not a diver, however I do wish to snorkel. It was my massive shock and spotlight of the entire Galapagos trip. I usually favor climbing to snorkeling – however the sheer pleasure of snorkeling and enjoying with sea lions, sea turtles, and the dazzling fish was a as soon as 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 as Rays mix into the sand under. The Galapagos Islands are one of many world’s biggest snorkeling locations, the place these legends of the ocean may 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 pondering that I used to be only a pal enjoying with them.

So, if you’re the kind of one that is like…uh…I don’t know…the water appears to be like chilly…it’s cloudy…possibly 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 completely different species and vegetation on every island, it’s essential to select your route rigorously if there are particular animals you wish to see. I did the Japanese Islands and there are not any Galapagos Penguins on these islands. Nonetheless, my favourite dancing Waved Albatross solely exist on Espanola Island, and my itinerary went there!

The Galapagos is uncommon as a result of the islands doesn’t behave equally throughout the archipelago. Every island of the archipelago group behaves in another way. It’s possible you’ll suppose it doesn’t matter which islands you select to go to – nevertheless it does matter. The extra islands you see, the extra you perceive why the Galapagos is so completely different and essential.

Galapagos Islands holiday
13 Issues To Know Earlier than You E-book a Galapagos Islands Vacation 159

To assist guests tailor their itineraries and soak up the very best 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 interesting wildlife – these 15 animals are probably 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 reside. Hopefully this helps your planning of precisely what islands you wish to go to.

The right way to Get to the Galapagos Islands

The one method to get there’s to fly. Nonetheless, 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. Nonetheless – that is excellent news as there are a few lovely inns I like to recommend when you keep in these cities!
Get a switch into Outdated City Quito and keep at Casa Gangotena. This lodge is such a deal with to remain in – you possibly can see why right here.

In case you are in Quayaquil – a brief switch from the airport is Lodge del Parque. That is pure colonial luxurious surrounded by lush park. I can’t think about a extra lovely place to spend your switch. I stayed there on my method 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 giant (with a toilet in regards to the dimension of a kitchen), however the restaurant and the tasting menu was beautiful – it was an ideal finish to a magical Galapagos trip for me!

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 examine them out!

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 wish to take! And it additionally in all probability refreshed your reminiscence on turtle vs. tortoise! If in case you have any questions in regards to the islands or how to decide on, be at liberty to go away me questions within the feedback and I’m blissful to assist based mostly on my experiences or put you in contact with some tour suppliers who can reply your entire questions.



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