…what you need to know before you go about the the 19 islands 600 miles off the South American continent that make up the Galápagos.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Galápagos Islands are 1 of the best spots in the world for wildlife adventures.
Then, there is Charles Darwin, the islands inspired his theory of evolution following his visit in Y 1835.
The Galápagos is where natural elements converge. They are at the intersection of 3 ocean currents and lets us look into both the Southern and Northern hemispheres.
Here is everything you need to know about planning a Galápagos adventure, as follows:
Where to Visit in the Galápagos Islands
Isabela Island is the largest island in the Galápagos, known for the collection of islets called Las Tintoreras.
Tourists often visit Las Tintoreras to see blue-footed boobies, Galápagos penguins, and hopefully to encounter sea lions and green sea turtles in the water.
Isabela Island is also home to one of the largest volcanic craters in the world: Volcan Sierra Negra.
Santa Cruz Island is in close proximity to the airport on Baltra Island, and is 1 of the 1st stops for most tourists. Here, you’ll encounter giant, 500-lb tortoises.
Santa Cruz Island is known for their fish market and their lava tunnels. As for beaches, Tortuga Bay and Las Bachas are two of the most stunning.
San Cristobal Island travelers love to snorkel or dive the area around León Dormido, aka Kicker Rock. It is the remnants of an ancient volcanic cone. You will want to see El Junco lagoon and visit the La Galapaguera Tortoise Habitat while on San Cristobal, too. And, be sure to visit La Loberia Beach, where travelers tend to spot marine iguanas, sea lions, and various fish species.
Choosing a Tour Operator or Cruise for the Galápagos Islands
Of course, you shouldn’t rule out doing the Galápagos independently. There is enough tourism infrastructure to build your own experience, from luxury hotels to private boat transfers. Taking a Galápagos cruise or working with a luxury tour operator to organize your trip is a popular option.
If you are looking to travel by land with a well-recommended tour operator, Classic Journeys orchestrates luxurious, highly personalized Galápagos adventure trips. Classic Journeys takes care of all the inter-island transport and curates a selection of the best boutique hotels in the Galápagos. Excursions are led by local guides, all eager to share their deep knowledge of the area.
The Classic Journeys’ itineraries usually include experiences like kayaking with baby sea lions and sea turtles, visiting an Ecuadorian coffee plantation, and stargazing in both the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time.
Those hoping for an intimate cruising experience can set sail on the MV Evolution Galápagos, which has gorgeous suites equipped for just 32 passengers. Guests partake in included excursions like snorkeling, island hiking, and seakayaking. The MV Evolution sails 2 7-night, 8-day itineraries.
One focuses on Isabela Island, Rabida Island, and Santa Cruz Island, the other spends time on San Cristobal Island, Floreana Island, and Santa Cruz Island.
Where to Stay on the Galápagos Islands
Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is on Santa Cruz Island, sitting along the water. An exclusive family-run hotel, Angermeyer provides ample opportunity for guests to spot blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, and marine iguanas on property. The boutique hotel’s suites have ocean views and offer an al fresco dining area.
Iguana Crossing is an Isabela Island boutique hotel with both volcano view and ocean view rooms and suites. Their gastronomy is locally focused and the restaurant serves classic Ecuadorian fare like ceviche and sancocho. Iguana Crossing also offers snorkeling and land tour packages for travelers touring the Galapagos without a cruise or tour operator.
Getting to and around the Galápagos Islands.
Considering the Galápagos Islands are a protected national park, and 600 miles off the coast of South America, they are still fairly accessible.
International flights do not fly directly into the Galápagos, you will have to fly through Quito or Guayaquil on Mainland Ecuador. It is easier to fly from Guayaquil, because there are regular direct flights to the Galápagos, whereas more often than not, flying Quito to Galápagos means stopping in Guayaquil anyway.
As for getting around once on the Galápagos, you can take a passenger ferry, hire a speed boat, or charter a yacht or helicopter, all depending on your price range and desired experience.
INGALA runs ferries between Isabela, Santa Cruz, Floreana, and San Cristobal islands daily, you can purchase tickets upon arrival to the station. You can also charter a boat through Nemo Galápagos or a private yacht with Quasar Expeditions.
Finally, you can use a helicopter charter service to access more remote Galápagos locals and to island hop.
Best Time to Visit the Galápagos Islands
The weather patterns in the Galápagos Islands, there are 2 seasons to watch for: warm and rainy, June – November, or cooler and dry, December to June. Whether you prefer the warmth of Summer or the cool, precipitation-free Winter and Spring depends on what you want to do in the Galápagos.
Diving season, for example, is June to November. February, March, and April are breeding and nesting season for most of the animals. December is when the islands’ giant tortoises hatch.
The Galápagos Islands is a year-round destination with year-round wildlife.
Enjoy your travels, when you get to go, Keep the Faith!