There are few places left on Earth as beautiful and relatively untouched by man as the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. And as a vacation destination, these equatorial islands have a lot to offer. Not only have they become famous for the many endemic species that influenced Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, but as a visitor you have the opportunity to get close to the native wildlife in a variety of settings, both on land and in the water. There are also plenty of activities, including hiking, snorkeling, cliff diving, and more to divert and entertain you. But before you hop a plane to this remote corner of the globe, there are a few factors you’ll want to take into consideration.
- Like most equatorial locales, the Galapagos Islands enjoy relatively temperate climes. That said, sunshine is prevalent, and this close to the equator, you’re sure to burn if you don’t take precautions. So pack lightweight clothing that offers some coverage, as well as broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunblock, hats, and UV protection sunglasses to help you avoid sunburn. If you want to avoid the worst heat, consider visiting between June and December, or the “dry” season. Temperatures tend to be cooler and there is less rain. The water is also cooler at this time of year, settling around 70-75 F, but still relatively comfortable for swimming.
- Walking shoes. If there is one item you shouldn’t forget to pack for your trip, it’s a good pair of walking shoes. If you want to get the most out of your visit to the Galapagos Islands you’re going to end up doing a lot of walking. Many of the natural attractions require some amount of hiking to reach. And if you plan to go wildlife watching, say at the Reserva el Chato, which features giant tortoises, you’ll have to walk to wherever the animals are.
- Before you travel to any foreign country you should talk to your doctor about getting appropriate vaccinations. For Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, in particular, you’ll want to be up-to-date on your regular vaccines (like MMR, DTP, Polio, and so on). And you may have to get immunizations for Hep A, typhoid, malaria, and other diseases. Some of these require you to receive shots up to six weeks before you travel, so make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you start planning your vacation.
- International travel can come with a hefty price tag, but if you know when to travel you could significantly reduce costs. In the Galapagos, April, May, September, and October are the low season, when fewer tourists visit. So booking during these times could net you reduced costs for lodgings, tours, and activities.
- Booking early. There are two good reasons to book Galapagos travel One is that hotels and tours can fill up fast. The other is that there are limits on the numbers of tourists allowed on some islands at any given time. If you happen to have a large group and you book late, you simply might not have access due to prior bookings. So contact Nature Galapagos & Ecuador early to ensure your travel plans go off without a hitch.