Eight ways to make travelling to the Galapagos more rewarding

1. Go with the flow. Don’t spend hours on the internet asking everyone about the boats, the weather, and how to find the best deal out there. Find out the nuts and bolts of the tours, the Islands, the boats, and the companies selling the spots. After that, get in contact with someone who knows what they are talking about and jump in. Having the details arranged beforehand makes planning for the exciting parts of the trip a top priority and more defined. I have information in this regard and can get you in touch with people whom I know to be experts. Let me know if I can help.

2. Do some research about the islands. Rent Master and Commander, find some information about the history of the islands, look up the foundations that are on the islands and read their newsletters. You can learn a lot beforehand that will make your trip to the islands more fun because you have some context to put them in beyond knowing that the US Navy blew a hole in a rock formation, a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger was filmed there, and that Prince Charles stayed at a Safari camp when he visited the Islands to call attention to environmental issues.

3. Find some people who are going when you are. Use the travel forums to make some connections. Most of the people travelling here use some sort of internet related tools to plan their trip but don’t try and get in touch with others travelling here until they arrive. Arranging to meet for a drink in Quito before your trip with others going when you are gives you new faces to look out for while you’re on the Islands. A volunteer who I just met went to the Galapagos to do conservation work on three islands and saw someone from each previous island she was exploring on the one she travelled to next. It makes things fun to bump into people and is well worth a few hours of finding people on the travel forums, sites like globe trooper, or travel buddy.

4. Contact some locals on the Islands. While people make their living on the Islands from tourism they enjoy their jobs and are always willing to answer questions about where they would go, and what to see. I know of a guesthouse that’s owned by a cruise line, a woman who runs a private inn, and a hostel owner whose guests often come back and work for her all of whom are happy to get questions. Ask them about travelling, where would be great places to ask about things to do when on land or suggestions for local favourites.

5. Look up a specialty of the islands and when you get there try and find somewhere that serves it. This is good as far as exploring the cuisine but also gets you out of your comfort zone and asking people for advice and help. As a friend of mine here says, the internet isn’t real life! Making an effort to talk to people goes a long way as far as making an impression as well as adds to the journey.

6. Make a list of animals that you want to see and try and see how many on the list you can take pictures of. Doing some homework and figuring out what there is to see makes travelling there less of a trip to the zoo and more of an adventure/scavenger hunt.

7. Review each day at the end of the day and go through your pictures, make notes in your journal, and talk to the other travellers on the boat about what made an impression on you. If you only have eight days it’s easy to spend the first few warming up to people instead of jumping right in and immersing yourself in the environment. I’ve found that reviewing pictures and making notes while things re fresh brings the experience more to the forefront of my mind and gives me a new perspective that others can relate to.

8. Give something back. I know that when your on a cruise that’s not cheap by any means you will see problems such as pollution that don’t exactly make you feel great about adding to the problems by being a tourist. Many people I have met here that have taken a trip to the Galapagos mention the pollution and are at odds about what the solution to the problem is. Just by bringing a book for a local school, sending pictures of people who live on the islands to them once your home, or letting someone know that you would be interested in helping the efforts that are being made to help the eco-system or clean up pollution makes a difference.

For information, help with contacts or questions about any of the above, contact me through savvytravellerecuador@gmail.com

2 Responses to “Eight ways to make travelling to the Galapagos more rewarding”
  1. Zuri says:

    The Galapagos Islands are the most incredible living museum of evolutionary changes, with a huge variety of endemic species (birds, land and sea animals, plants) and landscapes not seen anywhere else.

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