The Galapagos Islands are a top bucket list destination for millions of people around the world. For most, it will stay just that – a name on a list of places to go. But for a lucky few each year, the Galapagos Islands are a reality. With more affordable air travel and a Galapagos Islands vacation available for most budgets, booking up your trip has never been easier.
However, being a small island chain located in the remote Pacific Ocean 600 miles from the coast of mainland South America, there are a few things you need to know about the archipelago. So, be sure to ask your travel agent some important questions about your trip. Here are five questions you should get answers to before you book.
With limited hotel accommodation on the islands in just a few locations, staying on land is possible but will limit the scope of your vacation. Yachts like the Petrel allow you to travel at night, meaning you get around and see more of the islands. There are many different types of vessels, ranging from budget to luxury and small intimate craft to vast expedition ships. this is an important question, so discuss with your agent which will be most suited to your needs.
There are some activities that you should always try and experience on a Galapagos Islands vacation. Diving or at least snorkeling comes highly recommended, as the marine life here is second to none. It makes sense to make the most of your adventure if you’re traveling so far to get here. Ask whether diving lessons, tuition or equipment is included.
The Galapagos Islands are not a tourist destination in the conventional sense. Much of their appeal lies in their natural and untouched state, meaning some activities such as hiking and even landing ashore require a certain level of fitness. While every effort will be made to help, these types of adventures are not for everyone.
Despite their position, the Galapagos Islands are not a tropical destination. The cooling Humboldt Current on the Pacific keeps air and water temperatures down, creating a unique subtropical climate. The warmer season is between January and June but does come with more rain. The calmer and cooler period is between June and December.
Whilst some of the animals here are incredibly tame and playful, touching or interfering is not allowed in any way and actually very damaging. You are asked to keep a respectful distance at all times, and while photography is allowed, you need to be aware that it is not a petting zoo and that the habitat belonged to the animals first. We are only welcome guests, and let’s keep it that way.