If there is one place that demands a visit at least once in your life, it has to be the Galapagos Islands. Its mix of crystal blue waters and exotic wildlife will prove to be a delight especially to people who want to kick back and take in what Mother Nature has to offer.
However, just like with any other island holiday, you need to be prepared so you can make the best of the experience. This means figuring out where you will stay, what you will do, and what to bring. Below, you will find a few tips that ought to prove handy for your trip to the Galapagos Islands.
Places to Stay
The Islands may have a natural look and feel to them but this doesn't mean they lack 5-star hotels. You can live in luxury at the Galapagos Safari Camp in Santa Cruz Island or perhaps the Royal Palm Hotel also in Santa Cruz Island. The scarcely populated Isabel Island also has a 5-star hotel known as Iguana Crossing Hotel. For tighter budgets, you may stay at the Hotel La Peregrina or the Santa Fe Suites, both in Santa Cruz. Isabela Island has the charming Hotel the Wooden House and San Vicente Hotel.
What to Bring
Now that you have some ideas of where you can stay, it is time to start packing. For your trip to this lush destination, you will need to bring some sunblock; preferably one with high SPF as you will be spending a lot of time outdoors. Your bathing suits are a must as you will spend a lot of time in the water for sure. Teva-style sandals are also a must as they can be worn wet or dry.
You will want to bring shorts and tops made of breathable materials as it gets quite hot in the islands. You will definitely need to bring some US dollars with you as this is the currency in the islands. If you have binoculars (7x25 at least), you may pack them too as they will be great for some bird-watching. Bring your camera and pack extra batteries as there will be tons of photos for you to take. Your hotel should have a first aid kit and most guides carry them should you go on tours but you may pack a kit of your own to be safe.
What to Do
The Galapagos Islands has tons of surprises for you but trying to see them all may make you spread yourself too think. If you do not have much time, here are some tips on things you need to see and do while on the island.
See Lonesome George - Lonesome George is a hundred years old tortoise and the last of his species. Though he mated with a tortoise of another species and the eggs are being monitored closely, it is still unsure if they are fertile. This may be your last chance to view this tortoise specie before it goes extinct.
Darwin Bay - Named after Charles Darwin, this bay was formed when a caldera collapsed. It is not only scenic but it is also filled to the brim with exotic birds like boobies, lava gulls, and Darwin finches just to name a few. Try to visit around sunset so you get the loveliest views.
Bartolomé Island - This is the most-photographed spot in the whole archipelago and it is easy to see why. Climb the summit and you get to see two gorgeous bays where you can see lava flows and spatter cones too. You can also see sea lions and penguins basking around Pinnacle rock.
Visitors can smoke on the island but only in restricted areas. Some guides are quite strict about tourists bringing food but some are quite lenient and will allow you to bring trail mix and other munchies. Remember though that these islands are home to animals so try to be conscious of your ecological footprint. Do not throw cigarette butts just anywhere and always take any trash you produce with you.