"12 Days in the Galapagos Islands" Galápagos Islands by windsorgirl
Galápagos Islands Travel Guide: 1,001 reviews and 4,014 photos
A visit to the Galapagos Islands was a dream come true for an avid nature lover like myself. And I was not disappointed. If you have any aspirations to visit the Galapagos, don't put it off any longer. There are many strict regulations limiting the number of visitors now, but all it takes is one major oil spill or other man made catastrophe to spoil this unique environment. I then suspect visitors will be barred completely or so strictly regulated that you won't be able to even set foot on the most interesting islands.
97% of the land area of the Galapagos Islands is a protected national park where humans are only allowed to tiptoe around this unique miracle of nature. Man indeed takes second place to the birds and animals here and they have as a result become very comfortable in the presence of humans. It offers you many magical and humbling interactions with Mother Nature.
No where else can you sit within feet of the unusual and comical blue footed boobies and watch a courtship dance in progress. I remember on picturesque Isla Espanola, our group was sitting on a cliff alongside several masked boobies, all of us (feathered or not) admiring the view. Here is where we also came across the rare Waved Albatross, they have a wingspan the size of a volkswagon and are known for their less than graceful landings. I will include more photos and facts about the Galapagos animals under Local Customs.
In order to see the Galapagos Islands you must first fly in from the mainland, I flew from Quito. You will land on Isla Baltra which is just an airport, you will be driven to nearby Isla Santa Cruz where you will find accomodations and Tour Operators in Puerto Ayora. You must join a Boat Tour to visit the islands. There are many islands in the archipelago, bur most tours only visit the nine or so that are clustered around Isla Santa Cruz on an 8 day cruise. Most people book their tours well in advance, from their home country. I was travelling alone, in the off season and took a chance that I would be able to squeeze onto a boat at the last minute for a much reduced price.....and I did. I paid less than half the price than another traveller who had booked his trip in Italy, and I ended up with my own cabin since I was the only single female while he had to share his with another single male traveller. If you have the extra time (I allowed myself an extra week in the Galapagos to find a tour) and especially if you are not travelling in high season, I would recommend this cost saving option. As it turned out, I only had to wait a day to find an opening on a boat.
High season in the Galapagos corresponds with all the major holidays like summer vacation (June thru Aug), Christmas (Dec and Jan), carnival in Feb, and Easter week.
You can see flamingos on Isla Rabida and Isla Sante Fe. The characteristic pink colouration of the Galapagos Flamingo is... more travel advice
Isla Espanola was, in my opinion, the most beautiful island, with beautiful beaches lined with sunbasking sea lions and... more travel advice
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