Tips for planning a Galapagos Islands cruise
For anyone with even a passing interest in the natural world, Galapagos Islands vacations, are at the top of the wish list. These are some of the most remote islands in the world, a living exhibit of the Earth’s countless natural miracles, offering the visitor an astonishing collection of bizarre and unique wildlife. While planning your Galapagos Islands vacation, bear in mind the following important considerations.
Types of trips
Over 900 kilometers west from the Ecuadorian coast, reaching the Galapagos Islands usually involves a 2.5 hour flight from Quito. There are two kinds of Galapagos Islands tours, a land-based tour based on one of the islands or a Galapagos Islands cruise. Both types of trips should be reserved in advance with a quality and recommended provider of vacation packages.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of tours. A Galapagos Islands cruise boasts the obvious allure of a sailing voyage, plus high standards of comfort and quality as well as the benefit of arriving each morning at a new destination within the islands. You’ll also enjoy fine on-board cuisine as well as a guide joining you for the whole journey.
On the other hand, a land-based trip will be less expensive, but you’ll spend much less time on the islands and longer making the journey from your hotel to each excursion.
Given the Galapagos Islands’ extreme vulnerability, they are among the most environmentally conserved places on Earth with the authorities trying hard to protect the delicate environment and preserve it from the constant stream of visitors. To support this work, tourists are required to contribute a $100 fee to enter the national park, which can be included in your vacation price by your operator.
During your visit you will be asked to comply with a number of environmental regulations including not interfering, handling or feeding the animals, damaging the native flora species or leaving any trash behind. Smoking is also forbidden in a number of protected areas. These restrictions are closely enforced in order to preserve the Galapagos Islands’ environment as well as the future of the islands’ many inhabitants.
When to Visit
The Galapagos Islands undergo significant seasonal changes in the weather, with a warm summer running from December until May and a cooler winter beginning in June to November. The weather is much milder during the winter, but with a higher chance of rain and fog, while the summer can get very hot.
What to take
Bring clothes suitable for hiking and exploring the islands and some good quality walking boots or shoes that will survive the volcanic landscapes. It will get cold at night, even in the summer, so bring some warm clothes and a raincoat just in case.
The seas around the islands can get rough, so sea sickness medication is advisable, especially for youngsters. Also, you’ll be very close to the equator and the sun shines very strongly, even if the weather is cloudy. You’ll need lots of sun protection, a hat and long-sleeves during the strongest, midday hours.
Last but not least, you’re visiting one of the biggest and most spectacular natural environments in the world, so don’t forget your camera with lots of spare film and memory cards!
Plan your own cruise and tour the Galapagos Islands! Call and talk with one of our expert travel advisors.
Matt left England for Peru in 2008, originally planning to stay for just 12 months but ending up settling down in Lima working for Latin America For Less for three fun-packed years. He remains a perpetual traveller, working and writing his way through Europe, North America and Asia but he has always saved a special place in his heart for Peru and South America.