Why should I visit the Galapagos?
The islands are relatively untouched by humans, and remain one of the most unique and spectacular eco-systems in the world. There’s an abundance of natural wildlife and beauty, and many species of flora and fauna that are indigenous to the islands themselves. Visiting the islands is an incredible experience and one I definitely want to do again!
How do I get there?
The islands are 1,000km away from mainland Ecuador, which is the only place from which to embark on your flight to the islands. Flights to San Cristobal or Baltra depart from either Guayaquil or Quito, although all flights from Quito stop in Guayaquil for approximately an hour. The flight from Guayaquil to the islands is a little over two hours, and the flight between Quito and Guayaquil takes about half an hour.
When is the best time to visit?
I visited in April, which is a great time to visit. The weather was hot and humid and the water was the perfect temperature for swimming.
From June to November, the winds pick up and the sea tends to be a bit rougher and colder than at other times of year. Skies are often overcast, but rain is uncommon, and the change in water quality attracts fish and sea birds, making this a fantastic time to snorkel.
The weather is warmer and the sea calmer from December to May, and while you might experience a few light rain showers, this is balanced with bright sunshine. February and March are particularly hot in the day time. This is a great time to visit to see plant life, with flowers coming into bloom. Several species of birds mate during this period, and sea turtle nesting also takes place.
How should I travel between the islands?
I would say that even though cruise ships go further afield to the outer islands, the land-based island-hopping option is the superior option if you want a mix of seeing nature, wildlife and marine life, hiking and learning about the local culture.
What kind of wildlife will I see?
Each island is packed with nature, animals and plant life unlike any other destination. I spotted countless varieties of fascinating wildlife on my trip, including Blue-footed Boobies, Frigate Birds, Pelicans, Sting Rays, White and Black-Tip Reef Sharks, Barracudas, Sea Lions and Sea Cucumbers to name just a few!
What were your personal highlights?
I think a stay on Floreana is a must for those wanting to experience the culture and community of the Galapagos as well as the wildlife. Snorkelling is a great way to see a lot of the islands’ famous wildlife up close. My personal highlight was swimming with penguins off the coast of Isabela.