For many nature lovers, a trip to the Galapagos Islands is a dream come true. The group of 19 islands and various inlets are located 998 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador, and each island boasts its own unique landscape. If you want to visit the Galapagos Islands, here is some information you should know before booking your holiday tour.
When to Travel
The busiest months of the year to visit the Galapagos Islands are June, July, and August, but mid-December to mid-January are also a busy time for the tourism industry. The seas are at their calmest during the hot months of December through May, and it usually rains daily. However, the rains typically dissipate and the skies are mostly sunny throughout the day, with the temperature reaching the mid-twenties to low thirties.
Most people like to visit the islands during cooler weather because that is when most marine wildlife are active in the area. The cooler months are June through November when the temperatures reach the low-to-mid-twenties and the water is chilly. You may be able to see schools of hammerhead sharks or wolf sharks, which can be seen around the Wolf and Darwin islands.
Taking a Tour
Since the islands and the waters around the Galapagos are both protected World Heritage Sites, you cannot visit the islands without a guide. Most tours that include excursions to the Galapagos are part of longer trips that visit the Amazon, Chile, Peru, and other areas of South America. You can spend up to 34 days on a Galapagos Islands tour that also includes visiting Argentina and Peru.
When you tour the Galapagos, you will see sea lions, stingrays, whales, and a variety of other animals. A visit to the small island of Isla Lobos San Cristobal will allow you to take a short hike to the beach to see frigate and blue-footed boobies. Both unique bird species call the island their home. On Santiago Island, a visit to Espumilla Beach may allow you to see the nesting sites of sea turtles. On another side of the island, you will get to see the black beach of Puerto Egas.
What to Pack
Since you will be able to participate in some activities on the islands, you should pack sturdy shoes for hiking across volcanic rock, a swimsuit, fins and a mask for snorkelling, a refillable water bottle, and rain gear, depending on when you’re visiting the islands. A hat, sunglasses, and sunblock will be essentials no matter the season, because you will want to protect yourself from the sun’s rays since the Galapagos Islands sit on the equator.
Be sure to take a camera so you can document your trip to the Galapagos and the other sites you will visit while in South America. You will want to show your friends the animals and birds you witness, as well as take shots of the amazing places you will visit.