"Galapagos Islands" Top 5 Page for this destination Galápagos Islands by MalenaN

Galápagos Islands Travel Guide: 1,271 reviews and 6,255 photos

It is amazing how close you can come to most animals on Galapagos Islands, the Marine Iguanas basking in the sun, Giant Tortoises along the road when cycling to Muro de Las Lagrimas, Sea Lions swimming around you when snorkelling, Blue-footed Boobies and Waved Albatrosses performing their courtship ritual next to the path and much more. It is just incredible! On the Galapagos Islands there are no/very few natural predators so the animals don?t need to be afraid.

The Galapagos Islands are situated around 1000km west of mainland Ecuador. Because the isolated location there are many endemic species on the islands. The islands are of volcanic origin, and on some islands there are still active volcanoes. Together all the islands, and islets, consists of almost 8000 sq km of land. In the archipelago there are a few towns and altogether around 25 000 people live here, something that surprises many people. However, most of Galapagos Islands is a protected National Park and the Marine Reserve also cover a large area.

December - May is the rainy/hot season, while June - November is the dry/colder season. Because of the Humboldt current the sea is usually quite cold. With years apart the weather phenomena El Niño struck the region, the water temperature rises and there will be considerably less nutrients in the water. As a result many animal populations get smaller.

Before going to Galapagos Islands I was wondering if I should visit independently or book a cruise. In the end I booked an 8d/7n-cruise and stayed another six days to visit Puerto Villamil and Puerto Ayora independently. The advantage with a cruise is that it can take you to some of the best islands and visitor sites which you can?t visit on day tours. Do your research before booking a cruise to be sure it includes the visitor sites you want to see. Cruise boats vary in comfort and in number of passengers it takes, and there I think it is better with a smaller number of passengers.

Even if you visit the Galapagos Islands independently it can be expensive. You will have to fly from Quito or Guayaquil, the National Park fee (paid at the airport) is $100 (June 2011), many day trips are not cheap and most things are more costly than on the mainland. That said, there are places you can visit for free and you can choose not to take the most expensive day tours.

If you have time you can get a last minute deal for a cruise in Puerto Ayora, but then you might not get one of the boats you like or get the itinerary you would like. However, not all boats sell empty spaces to a reduced price though.

I would like to visit Galapagos Islands again, and then I would most of all like to do a cruise to the western side of Isla Isabela and to Fernandina, places that were not included in the cruise I did, but unfortunately it is too expensive for me to do another cruise. One thing I would do if I visit Galapagos Islands again independently is to rent a bike in Puerto Ayora and explore some places on Isla Santa Cruz which I haven?t seen jet.

  • Last visit to Galápagos Islands: Jul 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (22)

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    Hope you enjoy your visit to Parati! And if you have a couple days extra, try Ilha Grande. I enjoyed your entry on Galapagos. Its on my list (ok, a lot of places are on my to-do list..), but I'll come back and read more later

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Jan 24, 2016 at 11:19 AM

      Unfortunately I haven't updated this page since my first visit to Galapagos Islands. I have since then visited three more times and and have after those visits added tips to individual island/town-pages instead.
      I will definitely visit Ilha Grande too when I go to Brazil!

    • DSwede's Profile Photo
      Jan 24, 2016 at 3:14 PM

      Well, I guess from my end, there's no hurry to update your tips. I might not get down there for a while. But I do intend to peruse the more specific pages.

  • May 28, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    hello MelenaN, about the hostel (LIRIO DEL MAAR) you were staying, you would have some email from them? thank you

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      May 28, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Hello Marcelo, Unfortunately I don't have their email address, but their telephone number is 05 - 2526212.

  • mayumi_kaligatan's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Thank you for sharing MelenaN !! Galapagos Islands fascinates me and #1 on my bucket list. I enjoyed your photos...amazing!

    • Jul 22, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      Thanks melenaz. I be going in February and I like to see as much in a month.. where are you from? I am from the island of malta and tourist is big here.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Nov 10, 2015 at 10:06 PM

      Hello Carmen! I must have missed this post (probably because I was travelling at the time it was posted). I am from Sweden. I have never been to Malta but it seems to be a lovely island.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Nov 4, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    What beautiful creatures and the landscapes are gorgeous. You did an wonderful job here young lady! Your one brave lady to swim with the sea lions:) Excellent page!!!!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Nov 4, 2013 at 8:50 PM

      Thank you Dee! Galapagos Islands are amazing with the sea lions, iguanas and tortoises.

  • sim1's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    The Galapagos Islands are so amazing. Your page brings back the memories! You've put so much effort and work in this page, excellent Malena! Great to see the video with the Courtship ritual of the Waved Albatross. I sure hope to be able to visit the islands once more in future.

    • Oct 29, 2014 at 7:07 AM

      excellent,brings me back memories of santa cruze,south plaza,and others...

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 29, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      I really need to update this page! I have now been to Galapagos Islands three times, and have done many travel pages about the different islands, but nothing on this page since my first visit.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Have made a start on my virtual journey of the Galapagos Islands. So far, good, will return when I have more time.

  • Roadquill's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Great page Malena...We leave this Friday for Quito and Galapagos. Karl

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Jan 1, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      Thank you Karl! Have a wonderful trip to Galapagos! I'm looking forward to hear about your trip when you came home.

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Oct 29, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Wow, Malena, thanks for sharing, I have only read halfway through your tips, but I absolutely love my virtual tour. The diversity of the wildlife is amazing and the fact that you can get up close is wonderful. Love your photos and tips :)

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 29, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      Thank you Regina for the kind comment! Galapagos Islands is a wonderful place to visit!

  • taigaa001's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Great pages about the Galapagos. Wish good luck for the Barney awards.

  • wrldtrvlr3341's Profile Photo
    Sep 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Thanks. Great photos. I'm going next month and doing it independently. I hope I'm not making a mistake.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Sep 24, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      Thank you Gladys! I think a combination of a cruise with a good itinerary ( on a small boat) and some time independently is best, but independently will be good too.

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