Unique wildlife on the Galapagos
If you are still in doubt whether you should visit the Galapagos Islands during your trip to Ecuador, we can only give you one piece of advice: DON’T MISS OUT! Yes, it is a long way to fly from the mainland again, yes, it is expensive to book a cruise, yes, the hotels and the food are much more expensive than on the mainland. But you get so much in return that you quickly forget the extra costs. In our mind, nowhere else in the world do you get so close to really special animals. These volcanic islands are so isolated that the animals have no natural enemies. You even have to be careful not to step on an iguana.
The islands each have their own unique flora and fauna that is found nowhere else in the world. The original animals and plants have fully adapted to the demands of the conditions on the islands and therefore they have developed unique looks. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands with his ship Beagle in 1835. He did a lot of research here and also laid out the foundation for the theory of evolution here. A visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, located on the largest island, Isla Santa Cruz, should not be missing in your itinerary.
During your stay on the islands, you will see sea lions, land and sea iguanas, giant turtles, flamingos, penguins, dolphins, albatrosses, hawks, pelicans, frigate birds, gannets and beautiful blue-footed boobies. In the sea you can swim with sea turtles and you may see a manta ray. Depending on the season, you can also spot dolphins and whales (orcas). You can see reef sharks resting in small bays. As you can get so close to the animals, you can take beautiful photos. And of course, you can snorkel, dive and relax on the beaches.
To get access to the Galapagos Islands, you have to pay $20 per person for a ticket. You can buy this ticket at the airport of departure. In addition, at Baltra airport you pay a fee of $100 to preserve nature. Your luggage will be checked carefully to ensure that you do not bring plants, herbs and food.
Options to visit the Galapagos islands
You really must do all the sights that are organised on the islands. To protect the flora and fauna, it is not allowed to visit the important places on your own.
You can choose to book a cruise. This is the most expensive option to see the Galapagos Islands. You will sail at night and have time to visit the various islands during the day. Your time is maximised and you often arrive at places where the visitors won’t get to on day trips. Another way is to visit the main islands by speedboat and book your own excursions on the various islands. This is a cheaper option. Keep in mind that the speedboats sometimes take a few hours to get from one island to another and that the sea is rough in some parts. A pill for motion sickness will certainly not go amiss. Your luggage is checked and sealed every time you leave. Upon arrival on the next island, the seal is removed again. We spent four days on the Galapagos islands and we had a programme put together by a travel agency, Pure! Ecuador. That way, we knew when we had a ferry, which hotel we would sleep in and which excursions could be done. We could make the most of our time on the islands in this way.