Have you been planning on traveling to the Galapagos Islands for the past year?
Here is a list of what I wish I had known before I arrived.
You don’t need a super zoom lens
Wildlife is everywhere. Since there aren’t any predators on the island, they don’t scare away when you walk close to them. This also means you need to respect their space since you are exploring their world.
While a zoom lens up to 250 mm will help you frame photos better and get the animals that are further away, it’s not a necessity in the Galapagos. You will see plenty of photographers with massive lenses hiking next to you, but if you don’t want to travel with the extra weight your normal camera will do just fine! We suggest bringing polarized sunglasses and camera lenses – especially from January to May.
A cruise will allow you to see more variety and further out islands of the archipelago that you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise
While some Galapagos visitors choose to stay land based and take day trips, opting to take a cruise allows you to see and experience more of the different islands in the same time frame. Each island is unique, so seeing just 2 or 3 won’t give you as clear picture of the full archipelago. Also, a cruise will take you to islands further out and areas that you wouldn’t be able to reach on only a day trip.
Book a cruise first before booking a flight
Always book your cruise first, before booking a flight to the Galapagos Islands.
Some companies, such as Ecoventura, have representatives at the airports in UIO and GYE to assist with your check in, prepaid park entrance fee and transit card. They even send a representative on the flight with all their guests. The guides meet you at the airport and transfer you to the dock, and then to the yachts by Zodiac. The crew claims your luggage and delivers them to your cabin. This takes the stress out of traveling and lets you enjoy your vacation!
Bring Seasickness Medication…Just in Case
Even though you don’t think you get seasick, you also might be accustomed to traveling on larger boats. Although the Galapagos typically has calm waters, between August and October the seas can be rougher. If you pick a smaller cruise, that will allow you a more intimate experience, your stomach might need a day or two to adjust. We always suggest to have your doctor recommend some seasickness medication to carry with you just in case.
Snorkel as much as possible
Some of the best experiences in the Galapagos are under the water. There is an entire eco system waiting to be explored with schools of fish, playful sea lions and beautiful turtles. Spend as much time as you can snorkeling in the clear waters of the Galapagos.
One of our guides, Cecibel, suggests wearing a swim cap so your hair doesn’t get caught in the mask strap. Also, skin suits (or rash guards) worn underneath your wet suit will help to get the wet suit on and off easier.
Don’t forget your underwater camera so you can snap shots of the Spotted Eagle Rays, and if you are lucky one of the sharks of the Galapagos as they swim by.
Dress is casual onboard the boats
Don’t worry about packing your black tie attire for cruising the Galapagos! The days are spent either in a bathing suit, snorkeling or active clothes, hiking through the different islands. At night most women will wear casual sundresses and men will wear shorts and a casual top. Bring comfortable clothes, especially walking shoes for the day trips to the different islands.
What do you wish you would have known before visiting the Galapagos Islands?