Blessed with numerous animals, picturesque landscapes, and lots more, the Galapagos Islands are undoubtedly one of the best places to be in the world. However, just like other vacation spots around the world, these islands have some peculiarities. Therefore, you need to know some important things before going there.
Given this, let’s check out what you should know as you are planning to visit this archipelago.
- When to visit the Galapagos Islands
Foremost, this archipelago is open to visitors throughout the year. Therefore, you can visit whenever you want, but some periods seem to be better for exploring the Galapagos than others.
June, July, and August are the busiest periods for visiting this destination. Mid-December to mid-January is also usually a busy period. During these periods, the atmosphere is cooler; hence, most marine life will be out to play. While you are likely going to enjoy the company of lots of other tourists during these busy months, air tickets, Galapagos cruises, and other things will be more expensive than other periods.
However, if you are looking for ways to save money on your Galapagos trip, consider going during other months of the year.
- Immigration checks are compulsory
Once you have booked your flight to Ecuador, you need to meet up with some immigration standards. Firstly, ensure that your passport has a validity period of six or more months after your departure date from Ecuador.
Also, after getting permission to enter Ecuador, you will be offered a 12-x tourist visa which covers your stay in the country for 90 days. If you overstay this period, it will be difficult for you to fly out of the country. Therefore, leave before the end of the 90 days. However, if you would like to stay beyond the period, ensure you talk to the immigration officers before starting your Galapagos journey.
Similarly, you will not be allowed to enter the country until you have shown a cruise reservation, domestic round air ticket, or hotel reservation. If you have an invitation letter from a Galapagos resident, you can use it as a substitute for a cruise or hotel booking.
Lastly, after arriving in Ecuador via the Guayaquil or Quito airport, you need to pay for a Transit Control Card. It costs only US$20 and is available at the INGALA counter.
- Numerous islands, islets, and species are found on the Galapagos
The Galapagos Islands are made up of 13 big islands, 6 small islands, and more than 100 smaller islets. Notably, only 5 of the 13 islands are currently inhabited by humans. The inhabited islands have more than 25,000 residents. So, if you are visiting this archipelago, you should note that you cannot enter into many of these islands and islets.
Apart from the islands and islets, you will also see lots of unique species on these islands. Some of the species can only be found on the Galapagos Islands whereas others are available in other locations around the globe.
A few of the species you will meet on the Galapagos are the marine iguana, Galapagos sea lion, manta rays, the Galapagos land iguana, hammerhead sharks, and the Galapagos land tortoise. Others include flamingos, blue-footed boobies, Galapagos fur seal, penguins, great frigate birds, and so on. Due to their exceptional wildlife, the islands were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
Most of these animals are used to seeing and interacting with humans, so you don’t have to be afraid of staying around them.
- The U.S. dollar is the official currency in the country
In 2000, the U.S. Dollar was declared as the official currency of Ecuador. So, you should bear in mind that you can only spend dollars during your Galapagos journey.
While enjoying your astounding Galapagos trip, you cannot avoid spending some money. Unfortunately, ATMs are found in only a few places on the islands. Therefore, you may have issues with withdrawing money to spend. Besides, most businesses don’t accept credit cards; hence, most payments can only be made via cash. So, you must come with a lot of cash if you want to enjoy your stay on the islands. The Ecuadorian airports have places where you can get the Dollar bills you need to spend on the archipelago.
- There are lots of things to do
Visiting the Galapagos Islands is not just about cruising on some boats; there are tons of activities you can take part in on the islands. Some of these activities are wildlife watching, surfing, kayaking, diving, hiking, and snorkeling.
Even if you don’t want to cruise on a boat, you can consider a Galapagos 5-day land-based tour. During this tour, you will experience the best of the Galapagos.
Whenever you want to visit the Galapagos Islands, you now understand the things you must do or can expect and experience during your stay in the area.