The Galapagos Islands have something for everyone: wildlife, nature, and a lot of fun! Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to the Galapagos.
In 1835, Charles Darwin made his famous voyage to the Galapagos Islands. There he came to understand evolution and later published a book on the subject called, “On the Origin of Species”.
It’s easy to see why Darwin was so fascinated with the island — it’s teeming with life. Exotic birds, brightly colored crabs, adorable penguins, super cool iguanas, and, of course, giant tortoises.
Hundreds of thousands of tourists travel to the Galapagos every year to see the origin of the theory of evolution and the animals that brought it to be.
Considering making the traveling to the Galapagos yourself? Read on for everything you need to know.
Traveling to the Galapagos: Customs and Immigration
When you first arrive in Ecuador, you will have to present proof of health insurance in order to enter. You will also have to present proof of a flight back home. Then you will be given a tourist visa that is valid for ninety days.
From there you will head to the islands by plane or boat. Once you get to the Galapagos, you’ll have to present additional documentation showing where you are staying while you visit and how long you will be there. You will also need to show a copy of your returning plane ticket to prove you don’t plan on making the island your new home.
Start in the Capital of Ecuador
Quito, the capital of Ecuador is in the Andes mountains with just over a million people. It has a unique history of its own as the last capital of the Inca empire.
Another cool fact about Quito is that the equator runs through the city. You’ll love learning about all of the nature and history of this remote city in the Andes Mountains.
Hire a Nature Guide
With the advent of the internet, tourists around the world have been able to take their visit into their own hands and learn about the architecture and people around them with a simple Google search.
But on the Galapagos Islands, there is no cell reception. That’s where hiring a guide comes in. Guides can tell you facts and history about the island as well as its many species and make sure you don’t miss anything on your trip. It’s also a great way to support the local community.
To find out more about traveling the Galapagos nature and more, check it out here.
Visit the Galapagos National Park
The Galapagos National Park is a great place to check out all the species of the island.
In order to enter the park, you will need to pay a $100 U.S. dollar fee. This may seem high, but this fee is what finances the conservation of the island and helps provide support for the local community.
Choose a Great Campsite
Tree houses, mini-hotels, tents, and cabins are your main choices for places to stay on the islands. You will need to plan your stay far in advance since facilities tend to fill up.
The Animals to Look For
The Galapagos islands are known for their unique animals. Make sure you don’t miss seeing these show stoppers!
Save Time for the Sea Lions
Sea lions are one of the few mammals on the island. Sea lions are super friendly too. If you go at the right time of year, you can see pups nursing from their mothers.
See a mammal that looks like a sea lion but smaller, furry, and with protruding ears? You’re probably looking at a fur seal. Once these animals were highly prized animals to poachers.
But today, the island is protected, and the fur seal population has fully recovered.
Bring a Book to Play Exotic Bird Bingo
The islands are home to 19 species of birds. Five of those are endemic, meaning they are only found on the islands.
The Blue Footed Booby is the most famous bird of the Galapagos Islands. People love to watch these silly birds outlandish mating call and courting display.
Another famous bird is the Albatros, that can spend four to five years at sea without ever touching land. Other birds on the islands include owls, mockingbirds, and pelicans.
For a fun game to play with your group, pass out cards for exotic bird bingo and see who can spot all the birds in one of their rows first.
The Galapagos Penguin
The Galapagos penguin is found nowhere else in the world and is the only penguin species to have ever ventured into the northern hemisphere.
These pioneering birds lost the majority of their population due to a food shortage in the eighties. But today their population is recovering, though many scientists believe them to be endangered.
The Galapagos Tortoise
The Galapagos tortoise is the species that the island is named for. These gentle giants are vegetarian and can grow up to five hundred pounds and live for as long as 150-200 years.
That means that one of the tortoises you see could have been around when Darwin made his visit.
The Galapagos Iguana
The Galapagos iguana is another species that has adapted to the unique conditions of the islands. These large creatures are the only sea-going iguana in the world and can dive to depths of forty feet for up to an hour.
They evolved with special glands that remove the salt from the water they consume. You’ll see these animals sneeze often. They do this to expel salt from their glands.
Setting up a Scuba Trip
One of the best ways to see the Galapagos islands is from the water. You’ll want to snorkel every day if you can. You’ll see stingrays, sharks, penguins, iguanas, and all kinds of fish. It’s an underwater adventure you’ll never forget.
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Now that you have an idea of what traveling to the Galapagos is like and how to make it happen, it’s time to book your next adventure!
For more helpful travel reviews and tips, check out more articles today.