Galapagos Frecuently Asked Questions

When is the best time of year to visit the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos offer an agreeable climate all year-round, but January to May is regarded as warmer with temperatures reaching an average of 86F/30C. This is also the mating season for land birds and sea lions, as well as nesting season for turtles. Flowers bloom from February through April, the latter month also heralding the birth of new born sea lion pups. It is also more humid, but the waters are calmer and easier to snorkel and scuba, with visibility at its peak from January through March. However, there is also less to see below the surface. From June through December, the Humboldt current brings in nutrients and plankton, and with that seabirds, albatrosses, penguins, colorful fish, and even schools of hammerhead and whale sharks. This time of the year is also when the island's famous Blue-footed boobies perform their beguiling "sky point" love dance.

What should we bring?

Sunscreen with SPF 45, and aloe vera are both necessary. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses are recommended. Insect repellent is recommended also. Bring t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, light trousers (or skirts) for the day, and a light sweater for the evening. There is always the possibility of rain, so a waterproof jacket can also be useful. "Teva" sandals are popular, because they are suitable for wet, dry, and even volcanic surfaces. Bring snorkel gear, swimsuits, and wetsuits in accordance with what you plan to do. There are few ATMs outside of Puerto Ayora. You are advised to arrive with some cash and your camera. No immunizations are required.

What, exactly, do the Galapagos consist of?

The isolated archipelago in the Pacific Ocean waters is 600 miles, or 960 kilometers, west of the Ecuadorian Coast. Is important to know the Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador. They consist of 13 principal islands, six smaller ones, and 107 rocks and islets. Some of the more famous geography includes Bartolomé Island, a volcanic islet featuring a variety of formations, and the ruddy (due to its iron-rich lava surface) Rábida Island, home to flocks of flamingos. Espanola features the spectacular waved albatross, while Santa Fe has the tall Opuntia cactus, and Floreana offers both flamingos and sea turtles.

What do I need to know about getting to the Galapagos?

The Galapagos are only legally accessible by air travel, departing from mainland Ecuador, and there are flights daily from Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil. The travel time from the latter to the Galapagos is approximately 90 minutes. Airlines limit baggage to one checked suitcase, with a 40 lbs limit weight, and on carry-on bag. Up on arrival, you are expected to pay a National Park Service fee of $100 US dollars for adults, and $50 for children under twelve, which funds the islands. A domestic departure tax is usually included in the price of your plane ticket.

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