Traveling to the Galapagos Islands is a year-round dream trip for nature lovers, divers, and those seeking the tropical sun. Making the trip might appear complicated at the onset of planning, but once the tickets are bought and the bags are packed, it is a lot easier than it appears to enjoy all that the islands have to offer. Keep reading for a practical guide that explains the steps to take to have a worry-free trip.
All travel in the islands is regulated by the Galapagos National Park. There are strict rules in place that control how many people and ships can dock at every visitor’s site, a control system for keeping out invasive species, and a set of procedures for entering and leaving the park. New laws also are in place, that require reservations before entering the islands.
To translate-you pay a fee at the airport before heading to the islands, and another when you reach them. The money goes to the park to help with the island’s management and to keep track of the number of people who visit the islands. Cruises and island-hopping tours plan their itineraries according to the rules, and most visit the must-see islands around a revolving schedule.
Flights leave daily from Quito and Guayaquil. Your bags are inspected before leaving the mainland and there are more checks once you reach the Galapagos Balta airport.
Trips between islands are done by charter, daily shuttles, or cruises. Cruises show you more islands and travel by night- and there is a well-rounded mix of different sized boats for all travel styles.
There are guides on all tours and trips through the islands-it’s required. Depending on the boat there are also naturalist guides and experts who have spent years studying the archipelago.
Many people choose to take a cruise and then spend some time staying on the different inhabited islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Floreana, and Isabela. This gives you some flexibility to explore at your own pace and the leisure of cruising around the islands.
Food in the Galapagos includes a lot of seafood, while other ingredients are shipped in from the mainland. If you have special dietary needs, make sure to ask if your hotel or cruise can accommodate special requests. Some things aren’t readily available-but often substitutes are offered using locally sourced ingredients.
Money in the Galapagos is a funny thing. There are banks on San Cristobal and Santa Cruz-but no place to withdraw money on Isabela. Credit cards are accepted at a lot of places, but cash is still king in Ecuador.
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With the help of one of our team members when planning your trip, entrance fees, airline tickets, and hotel and cruise reservations are taken care of leaving you with a trip to the islands that raises the bar for future travel. For more information about traveling to the Galapagos Islands and the custom-made trips that we can arrange-contact us through this site, our toll-free numbers or Skype.