"Galapagos Islands" Top 5 Page for this destination Galápagos Islands by MalenaN
Galápagos Islands Travel Guide: 1,271 reviews and 6,254 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.
Several months before going to Ecuador I wrote to some travel agencies to ask for ”budget” cruises. The most expensive... more travel advice
Isla Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos, and it is the most visited. Here the largest town in the... more travel advice
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