"A world apart" Top 5 Page for this destination Galápagos Islands by toonsarah

Galápagos Islands Travel Guide: 1,232 reviews and 5,798 photos

A Galápagos welcome - land iguana, North Seymour

For many years I have wanted to visit the Galápagos: to walk on these remote islands where unique species thrive, where Darwin first developed the ideas that would change our understanding of nature, and where animals have never learned to fear humankind.

At last I have realised my dream. And fortunately, it more than lived up to my expectations! A week of discovery, with each day surprising us with something new, something special. One day, a giant manta ray languidly turning in the waves beneath the cliffs where we stood. Another, an albatross chick, already enormous, sitting watching us as we sat and watched him. On one memorable morning, we were spellbound by a group of young Galápagos hawks who clustered around a new-born sea lion pup and his mother, one of them eventually swooping in to grab the placenta which all then eagerly devoured. And on another, we swam and snorkelled with a group of lively sea lions, patrolled by the watchful alpha male who tolerated our intrusion but disdained to join the fun.

We spent our week travelling the islands on board the Angelito, one of the older established boats available for tourist cruises, and one of the best value. Its itineraries and guiding are recognised as first class, but the boat itself is less than luxurious, though it has all that you need for a wonderful week at sea. No fancy cabins or leisure facilities, but a friendly and super-helpful crew, great meals conjured up in a tiny galley, a knowledgeable guide (Fabian) considerate of everyone’s needs, and enough space in which to chill and appreciate your surroundings between island visits. What more could we have asked?

We were also fortunate to find ourselves travelling with a super group of fellow explorers. Drawn from six nationalities, and spanning several decades in age, everyone nevertheless got on incredibly well, helped by a shared passion for what we were seeing and a respect for each other’s right to enjoy (and photograph!) it as much as we were.

So thank you (in no particular order) to:
From Australia: Sue & Geoff
From Switzerland: Steffi and Simon (though maybe not for the karaoke lol), Reto & Yolanda
From Belgium: Kurt & Cindy
From the US: Bill & Alison, Ryan & Mele (and apologies for using you as an extra guide at times!)
From the UK: Brian & Ian
And from Israel: Eli

And an especially big thank you to all the crew of the Angelito, and our wonderful guide, Fabian. We couldn’t have had the experiences we did without you!

I have provided links to my separate pages on the individual islands we visited within the relevant tips here. To read about these islands in more detail, please visit those separate pages:
North Seymour
Sombrero Chino
Bartolomé
Genovesa
Santiago
Rabida
Santa Cruz and Puerto Ayora
Española
Santa Fe
South Plaza

In those individual island pages I describe in more detail what we did on each island, the environment and landscape, and the wildlife to be found there. But for detailed descriptions of the animals and plants etc. I have linked back to this page rather than repeat myself too much.

I’ve presented the tips here in what I hope is a logical reading order, so to follow this please start with my warning about “Minimising the impact” of your visit to the Galápagos Islands.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:The trip of a lifetime – if you can possibly go, do!
  • Last visit to Galápagos Islands: Nov 2012
  • Intro Updated Dec 23, 2012
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Reviews (49)

Comments (15)

  • Oct 25, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    This is one of the best travel info pages I have come across. It ticks most of the boxes for me. I am in the early stages of planning a trip to South America commencing in Quito and the Galápagos Islands.
    I would be interested in knowing who you travelled with on the Galapagos as I have done a lot of research and the prices vary greatly, so a bench mark would be great.
    Thanks
    Umbrawarra

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Oct 26, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Thank you so much - and welcome to VT! Do let me know if I can answer any questions, and do check out other Galapagos pages on this website as you'll find loads of good advice from other travellers :-)

  • Roadquill's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Great page and info... I am really looking forward to our trip, leaving on Friday.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Jan 1, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Thanks Karl. I won't say I hope you enjoy your trip because I'm totally confident that you will!

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    Absolutely amazing pages Sarah - it's clearly a brilliant location, and you've done it absolute justice!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Jan 1, 2013 at 7:32 AM

      Thank you so much Cathy - glad you enjoyed this and the other Galápagos pages of mine that you visited :-)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    Excellent page Sarah! Always packed of wonderful and educational information. Most appreciated!

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Dec 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    WoW!! Sarah, this page is awesome!! Thoroughly enjoyed the read. Your photos are beautiful and stories a delight to read! :o) Hugs xx

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      What a wonderful compliment! Thank you so much - - and so glad you enjoyed the read :-)

  • riorich55's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    I will have to read through your pages and all your pictures after the holidays. But I'm not going to try and post many comments temporarily and will unfollow all my friends until this latest VT revamp is a few weeks into the making.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 13, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Yes, I think quite a few of us are feeling a bit swamped at present. But I think G is listening and will make some modifications. The basic principle is a good one, it just needs a bit more control ;-)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Sarah, this page undoubtedly deserves a 5-star rating all the way and I am only half finished reading it! It really is a dream trip to be sure. Just wondering if putting the parts together yourselves was a more cost effective plan or was it your personal preference versus an all-in-one group tour including Ecuador.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 13, 2012 at 12:59 AM

      Thank you for the compliment Sylvia :-) Actually I have to say that we didn't put the trip together ourselves though we certainly could have done. The Angelito cruise can be booked through Cometa and I was going to do that and to arrange time in Quito either side of it, from where we would have done tours to various parts of Ecuador in the north. But I also contacted a UK company, Real Ecuador, to get a quote for if they were to put together a package for us - not a group tour, but to book the accommodation, internal flights etc. Their quote was of course dearer but not as much as I expected, and it included a couple of overnight tours from Ecuador, and a flight to and few nights in Cuenca in the south, which I really wanted to see. So we decided it was worth the extra to book with them. The only thing I arranged separately was our flights from London to Quito and back.

  • nhcram's Profile Photo
    Dec 11, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Sarah, this is a truly excellent page. So interesting and informative. I thorooughly enjoyed reading about this amazing trip.

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Wow, what a fantastic page, Sarah! And what a magical place, I so want to go there. Excellent photos and you write the most detailed, informative tips I have seen on VT.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 11, 2012 at 12:56 AM

      Thank you Regina - it is indeed magical! And thank you for the compliment on my writing too :-) Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    What a fantastic description of the islands!! Thank you so much for a magic evening read :-)) I look forward to the individual islands :-))

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 11, 2012 at 12:55 AM

      And thank you so much for taking the trouble to read it all, watch the videos and comment :-) I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! And yes, the individual islands are on their way ... then Quito, and more of the mainland :-)

toonsarah

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