Enjoy some Galapagos glory

During my hiatus from writing my travel column, I’ve been marking off my own personal travel bucket list.

One of the truly inspiring and wondrous times was spent in the Galapagos Islands.

The archipelago, a province of Ecuador, is 1,000 kilometres off its coast. The inhabitants refer to themselves as Gala pagans and are fiercely independent in governance and thinking.

The only time I would not recommend travel to the Galapagos would be in September/October as the seas are rough and travel between the islands is uncomfortable at best and hazardous at worst.

A Galapagos itinerary is best combined with a short city stay in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito. The city is rich in history, architecture and culinary experiences and is best toured with a local guide as many areas are prone to petty theft and nuisance crime.

The 2.5-hour flight from Quito lands you on the rocky outcropping of Baltra. From there, you make your way via ferry and bus to the busiest and most populated island of Santa Cruz.

This tourist-based island is full of great restaurants and nightlife as well as accommodations for all budgets. For those of you with lots of time, you can pick-up last-minute Island cruises. But for those who have a specific time frame, I recommend that you have pre-arranged reservations especially during the high
season — December through March.

Only five of the 18 islands are populated.

Travelling through the Galapagos is done either via sleep-aboard cruise ships or by utilizing the water taxis between the islands. This second option can be a choppy, windswept transit and is not recommended for those prone to motion sickness.

There are pros and cons to both ways of travel.

Land Based

You can plan an itinerary of your choosing. Your stays allow you to truly immerse yourself in island life and get a glimpse of typical day-by-day rhythms of the locals. 

Accommodations on islands such as Floreana and Isabela are basic to moderate. Food and drink options are basic though plentiful. Cost of living is a little higher than ours. Diving, touring and adventure tours will be at an extra expense.

Cruise Based

Options for cruising range anywhere from basic (not recommended) to ultra luxury. All food, drink, accommodations and tours with licensed guides are included.

Your adventure will include stops (not overnights) at uninhabited islands as well as the others. Close up viewing of wildlife both above and below the water line.

Cruising is the only way a luxury client can enjoy high-end accommodations and dining.  Evenings are spent with specialists who teach you about the history, ecological conditions and wildlife that have impacted the region.

Itineraries are set and excursions planned for the group benefit. Pricing for cruises range from $$$ to $$$$$.

The wildlife exhibit little to no fear of humans which allows for incredible close encounters with both land and sea-based creatures.

The land itself offers vividly gorgeous landscapes and countless swimming, diving and snorkelling options.

ne fact cannot be stressed enough. You must be in good physical condition to visit the Galapagos. You will be expected to walk uneven ground, climb in and out of zodiacs, swim and snorkel with marine life and generally partake in the daily activities

Bird watchers, divers, photographers and adventure travel enthusiasts will absolutely adore the islands. It’s also an ideal destination for families with children over 10 years of age.

Disney has nothing on this experience.

The Galapagos will leave you with a new appreciation for nature and simplicity. You’ll return home with a fresh spirit and renewed love of all this world has to offer. Travel there soon to experience this last little Eden lost.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More The Joy of Travel articles

About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories