The Galapagos Islands are the home to incredible wildlife, tropical beaches, green highlands, and tons of attractions. It does not come as a surprise that these UNESCO World Heritage Site destinations have continued to welcome innumerable tourists, scientists, birdwatchers and wildlife lovers every day of the year.
If you are planning to explore these awe-inspiring islands, here is the ultimate guide that will make you enjoy every moment of your stay in the Galapagos Islands.
The best time to explore the Galapagos Islands
Generally, the Galapagos Islands are always open to everyone every time of the year, but some periods are more enjoyable than others. If you would like to avoid exposure to the extremely hot or cold weather of these islands, the best months to visit are November, December, January and February. These periods are also conducive for most Galapagos animals, so you will enjoy seeing lots of them during these months. May, June and July are good times too, although you may miss the opportunity to see some wildlife.
However, you should understand that these are the peak seasons in Galapagos; hence, visiting during these months will cost you more than any other time of the year. Booking a few months before your journey to the islands may save you some dollars.
The official currency of the Galapagos is the US dollar. Most of the things you may want to pay for in the islands require cash payment. Therefore, make sure that you have a lot of cash with you. Even a few places that allow card payment may come with heavy surcharges, so you are better off with your cash.
Duration on the islands
There is no thumb rule for how long you should stay here; hence, your budget should be the main determinant. The majority of the individuals that visit the Galapagos Islands stay about 5 to 10 days as this will allow them to travel through the islands and revel in their astonishing offerings. If you are volunteering for a cause, you may want to stay longer to accomplish your goals.
Important items to bring to Galapagos
The time of your visit, duration and the activities you want to participate in are the main determinants of the items you should bring to Galapagos. Typically, you may need:
- Sun hats
- Snorkel set
- Bikini or swimsuit
- Aqua shoes
- Waterproof bag
- Quick-dry towel
- Underwater camera
The must-visit Islands
The Galapagos Islands consist of a total of 18 islands that have various species of birds, animals and plants, attractions, and so on. Although each island is worth visiting, here are the top ones that you must not miss.
Since the San Cristobal airport is one of main entrances to the islands, your trip will probably involve San Cristobal. Filled with several red-footed boobies, blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, dolphins, marine iguana, sea lions, pelicans, and frigate birds, San Cristobal is the right place to start your journey through the Galapagos Islands. Go over to the Interpretation Centre to see various exhibits that tell you more about the nature and history of these islands. A trip to Kicker Rock and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is also worth considering.
Santa Cruz is one of the largest and most popular islands around this destination. Take the time to check out Puerto Ayora which is a city that has several luxury hotels, restaurants, and shops. While still on this island, don’t forget to see its major attractions such as Charles Darwin Research Station and Los Gemelos. You should look forward to seeing wildlife like the famous sea lions, land iguanas, and giant tortoises.
Known as the first inhabited island among the Galapagos Islands, Floreana is a popular tourist destination for people from all around the world. With only 100 people residing on this island, you rest assured that the wildlife here is still in its purest form. As you bask in the awesomeness of this beautiful island, go see penguins, sea lions, turtles, blue-footed boobies, and flamingos.
To watch more land and marine iguanas, Santa Fe rice rats, and pear cactus in their natural habitat, Santa Fe is the right place to be. This small island has tons of attractions that you can also explore during your stay on the islands.
South Plaza Island
If you are enthusiastic about astonishing flora with changing colors, you should make sure you visit South Plaza Island. It is a relatively small island that features swallow-tailed gulls, tropicbirds, and land iguanas.
Other islands you may want to visit on the Galapagos Islands include Isabela, Santiago, Espanola, Isla Genovesa, Bartolome, Baltra, Fernandina, North Seymour, and Chinese Hat.
What to do on the Galapagos Islands
There are tons of places, artistic exhibits, birds, animals, and plants that you can relax and observe on the Galapagos Islands. Therefore, you should be fully prepared to enjoy more beauty of nature during your sightseeing.
Boat or yacht cruises
Top of the list of things to do is cruising around the islands with boats. You can join the Galapagos luxury yacht tour to venture to different areas of the islands and also catch the sight of some of the unforgettable attractions available. Cruises are definitely going to give you a breathtaking experience of the Galapagos Islands.
Wander from one end of the islands to another with other tourists. Take a short trip to Isla Genovesa and hike at Prince Philip’s Steps. Your option is not limited to this site as there are other routes for hiking on the islands.
Scuba diving and snorkeling
Do you like scuba diving and snorkeling? If yes, immortalize your Galapagos experience by exploring the tons of stupendous diving spots available on the Galapagos Islands. As you take delight in snorkeling and scuba diving, watch out for king angelfish, whale shark, hammerhead shark, white-tipped reef shark, octopi, parrotfish, eagle ray, manta ray, stingray, humpback whale, green turtle, and moray eel.
Mountain biking at the volcanic rocks found on Isabela is another great activity you can do while you are on the Galapagos Islands. You can also immerse yourself in kayaking.
Where and what to drink and eat
The Galapagos Islands offer different food and drinks that suit everyone’s budget. If you want to try out the Western and Italian dishes, you should visit one of the luxury restaurants. These restaurants are for those with big budgets. However, there are many other cheap restaurants that offer affordable baked pastries, pancakes, seafood, and many Ecuadorian cuisines that you may like.
With this ultimate guide to exploring the Galapagos Islands, you should be able to navigate the islands and have a great time.
Information sourced by the author for luxuryactivist.com. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only.