Cell phone use in the Galapagos Islands
For some people, going on holiday is a time to leave the laptop at home, switch off the cell phone and forget about the outside world. For others, the thought of being out of reach of friends and family while being away is terrifying. And sometimes the demands of the modern business dictate that you have to be available at the other end of a phone – no matter where you are.
Only a few years back, the idea of getting any kind of signal on a remote Galapagos Islands vacation would have been laughable. But that just shows how quickly technology has improved. That’s because these days, you can even get coverage on your Galapagos Islands vacation, with the following provisos.
Cell phone or satellite phone
As cell phone coverage is limited in some respects, if you simply have to guarantee to stay in touch then a satellite phone may be an option. It’s worth asking if you can use your boat’s satellite phone for a flat rate charge, rather than renting or buying your own.
Cell phone signal
There is an ever-increasing coverage of cell or mobile networks on the island, meaning that as well as CDMA, GSM and GPRS-EDGE signals, you will also pick up 3G.
The main coverage can be found in the towns of Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island), although it has to be said this is stronger for some networks than it is for others. Check the route of your Galapagos Custom vacations to see if and when you’re passing these islands. Verizon, the large US provider, claim to have good signal around these two islands but it really depends on your individual circumstances.
Roaming and connection
Of course, just because you can get signal, that doesn’t mean you can always use your phone. And if you can, it may be very expensive. Check with your service provider if you are covered for roaming in Ecuador and on your Galapagos Islands vacation, and find out how much it is to make and receive calls.
In some cases, it may be a better idea to buy a cheap phone and SIM card on arrival and use this for the duration of your Galapagos Islands vacation.
As it happens, there is a technical cell phone term named after the islands. Galapagos Syndrome is the term to describe technology developed in isolation, such as often the case in Japan. Just another thing to add to the list of the Galapagos’ contribution to science.