The Galapagos Islands, located around 600 miles east of Ecuador, are the perfect place to experience a highly diverse collection of terrain and wildlife. As one of the few places on Earth where human disturbances have been kept to a minimum, this archipelago of volcanic island is the perfect place to visit for a true understanding of biodiversity. First made famous by scientist Charles Darwin for the observations about volcanic tuff, and natural selection as an explanation to the theory of evolution, the Galapagos Islands are now one of the most popular South American tourist destinations. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are planning an Ecuador & Galapagos experience.
ARRIVING TO THE ARCHIPELAGO
If you are looking to experience all the Galapagos have to offer, you will first have to fly to Ecuador. Depending on your personal travel plans you will either fly into the capital city of Quito, or into the country's most populous city, Guayaquil. Flying into Guayaquil tends to be more efficient, as most of the flights to the Galapagos have a stop here anyways.
The only airlines currently offering flights to the Galapagos are Aerogal, TAME and LAN. Depending on which airline you decide on, you will have the option to fly into one of two islands, either Baltra or San Cristobal. From here you will then have the option to travel via bus or ferry to the location of your tour or cruise.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
Like most places in South America, when to travel will be highly dependent of what you want to experience while there. The Galapagos has more distinct wet and dry seasons rather than traditional seasons. The peak times to travel to the Galapagos tend to be from June to September and December to January. It is important to remember that in an effort to conserve the natural biodiversity on the islands, the Galapagos limits the number of people allowed to travel. For this reason, if you are planning to visit during either of the two peak times, you must book everything far in advance.
The time of June through November is considered the dry season in the Galapagos. Although there will likely be clouds in the sky through the entire period, it is not likely that it will rain during these times. The dry season bring with it both colder air and water temperatures. The colder water bring with it an influx of both marine and aviation diversity, making this the perfect time to travel if you are looking to scuba dive for rare marine wildlife or bird watch.
The time of December through May is consider the wet season. Although it will likely drizzle every day during this season, this is also the time of the year with the most sun on the islands. The warmer air and water make this the best time for both swimming and snorkeling. This is also the best time to see land birds, native tortoises and sea lions. March and April are ideal to experience the newborn wildlife on the island.
Due to the Galapagos location on the equator, the sun can be harsh all year long, make sure to pack a high-quality sunscreen for your adventures. You will likely also want to take with you a good pair of binoculars, quick dry clothing and rain gear. Make sure to bring cash with you as there is a $100 park fee that may not be included in your package tour. While you are there, be sure not to disturb any of the flora our fauna on the islands, and especially do not try to feed any of the animals. There are 19 different islands each with something unique to experience, if wildlife viewing is on the top of your list, be sure to do research ahead of time to ensure you have the opportunity to see everything you want to.
These wonderfully diverse islands offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience some of the purest, natural setting in the world. You are sure to have a memorable trip when you decide on Galapagos Travel.