The Galapagos Islands are the preferred destination for good reasons: the lack of natural predators, and friendly wildlife such as playful sea lions and giant sea turtles, which allow tourists to get close to each other. This archipelago composed of approximately 19 islands and many small islands, distributed in the Pacific Ocean 620 miles from the coast of Ecuador, is a dual World Heritage Site (both land and sea are protected) and the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Each island has its own unique landscape, from barren black volcanic rocks to stretches of white sandy beaches that melt into gem blue waters.
It depends on what you want to try. The busiest months to travel are often June, July, and August, and mid-December to mid-January (the prices are usually the highest at these times). The hot rainy season from December to May is when the ocean is at its calmest, with daily rainfall giving way to mostly sunny days and temperatures above 80 degrees.
The driest and coldest season lasts from June to November, thanks to the cool water and cool temperature brought by the Humboldt Current (in the 1970s). Although the water is more rugged, experienced divers think this is the best time to visit, because cooler water will attract more wonderful marine life (such as swarms of hammerhead sharks). This is also the time when tourists have a better chance to spot the legendary whale sharks of wolves and Darwin Islands.
Without a licensed guide in the Galapagos National Park, visits to most islands are not allowed. You can book a day trip to some islands from Puerto Ayora, the main tourist center of Santa Cruz, but a small yacht cruise is the best way to see the remote islands and wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. The national park limits the size of the boat to 100 passengers, but as many as 100 passengers can overload the coast at one time of disembarkation. The ideal cruise ship can only take small groups, such as 16 to 32 passengers. Adventure Life is a sustainable travel company that can book additional services such as small cruises, land excursions, eco-hotels, multi-sport tours, and snorkeling excursions.
It is best to book at least a few months in advance, as the boat is often full during peak seasons. You may find last-minute deals at very low discounts at travel agencies along Charles Darwin Avenue in the Mariscal area of Quito or Puerto Ayora, but even if you have the opportunity, you are serious about taking the risk, or you may have to wait at the same time Or quit to travel on a low-quality ship.
First, you must fly to mainland Ecuador and fly to the capital Quito or Guayaquil. These islands are closer to Guayaquil. If you have a choice, come here to save time, as most flights from Quito stop here on their way to the Galapagos. American Airlines, Continental Airlines/Cuban Airlines, and Delta Air Lines fly from the United States to Ecuador. Most Galapagos cruise ships are either early in the morning or at night, so you may need to spend the night on the mainland.
The best option to travel to the Galapagos Islands is to Baltra, and then take a bus and ferry to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, the most popular tourist center. Another option is to fly to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the capital island of San Cristobal, but most cruises start from Santa Cruz. You can book through local airlines such as TAME, LAN, or Aerogal.
Many tours do not include flights in the package price, but you can ask to book a cruise through the cruise company you are considering. Some companies charge a fee to book these domestic flights on their own, because they may pre-arrange group flight bookings with airlines to ensure the best price and everyone arrives on the same flight.
If you are traveling to Quito, head to Mansion Del Angel, a boutique hotel with 14 rooms, a peaceful garden, and a delicious breakfast buffet, just a 10-minute walk from the main tourist area. Please note that the new Quito Airport is a long drive from Quito itself, so if you fly late and leave early for the Galapagos Islands, please sleep closer.
When going to Guayaquil, Oro Verde Guayaquil is a convenient choice because they provide a free shuttle to the hotel (only about a 10-minute drive from the hotel) and good service.
Most trips to the Galapagos Islands begin and end in Santa Cruz. You may want to stay one more night and enjoy your stay at Finch Bay Eco Hotel. You can take a quick ferry ride from Puerto Ayora Pier, which has its own secluded beach where you can snorkel, kayak, and swim.