Traveling to Galápagos

Bartolomé Island, Galápagos Islands

Tips and advice for visiting Galápagos, Ecuador.

Tips when traveling to Galápagos

When my husband announced to me in early February that we were traveling to Ecuador in November, I thought ¨OMG! This is super exciting!¨ Little did I know that Galápagos is an expensive destination. I spent a little bit over five months looking for deals, tourism companies, etc. and nothing was below $1,500 per person, for three nights and four days (and it did not include airfare). Expensive? Hell yeah! Prices for poor accommodations were too high, meals did not seem tasty at all,  and only lunch was included in the package.

Consequently, after an exhaustive search, I finally found a place that offered a good tour, good accommodation and would not be such a strain on my wallet. The site…take notes: Gray Line Ecuador (http://graylineecuador.com). This site offered several appealing deals and they even managed to personalize my trip for the price of USD $964 per person. The package included the following:

-Accommodation for 3 nights at a 4-star hotel (I chose Sol y Mar) with breakfast buffet

-Transfer from Puerto Ayora (airport) to the hotel

-A visit to the lava tunnels and turtle reserve called GIANT TORTOISE RANCHO PRIMICIAS

-A visit to Charles Darwin Station (with tour)

-Plazas Island Yacht Tour (a 10-hour excursion, lunch included)

-Bartolomé Island Yacht Tour (a 10-hour excursion, breakfast, and lunch included)

-Transfer from hotel to the airport and a visit to an organic coffee plantation

[Please note that this is the package I chose since I wanted a 4* hotel. I don’t want you getting discouraged about visiting Galápagos due to prices so you can find a small table with the other packages and prices at the end of this post. The tours are the same, the only difference is the hotel, which can either lower or elevate your cost. Trust me, Galápagos should be on our bucket list.]

And so, when my husband and I landed at Puerto Ayora, a Grey Line employee was waiting, holding a sign, with our names on it. First, he took us to the VIP section of the airport, where we were greeted with complimentary drinks and appetizers. Then, a Grey Line employee took care of our bags (they need to be thoroughly inspected to make sure you are not bringing anything that is not allowed into the islands) and also of our customs paperwork. As a result, we didn´t have to do anything at our arrival at the airport, we just sat in the VIP lounge with fresh drinks and yummy food.

Sea lions taking a nap upon arrival at Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador.
Sea lions taking a nap upon arrival at Puerto Ayora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, after Grey Line took care of all the airport check-in and bags, we exited the airport without queueing, all hassle-free. Then, we hopped on a bus and off to see the lava tunnels and giant tortoises. We had lunch there, at Rancho Primicias. The food was really good but the best part was the finches trying to get a hold of our food. Those cute finches do not fear you and they will try to take some of your food no matter what you do, but that´s the fun part. Apparently,  they´re well fed since they looked quite chubby and plump (and of course, super adorable!). Afterward, we went to the Charles Darwin Station. A visit to this place is mandatory and you can expect interesting stories about adorable Lonesome George as well as a monument.

Giant Tortoise at Galápagos, Ecuador
Giant Tortoise at Rancho Primicias, Galápagos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

charles-darwin-station-galapagos
Charles Darwin Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furthermore, since dinner is not included in the package, at night, we went out looking for lobster. Yes, fresh, Ecuadorian lobster. Hence, I highly recommend that when you book an accommodation in the Galápagos Islands, you do so at Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz island. Here, you will find most of the shops, restaurants, and cafes. In other words, this means you have a wide variety of food and entertainment selection. So, if staying here, go to Kaseta de William. It will be the BEST LOBSTER ever. Just ask the locals where the Kaseta de William is, they´ll give you directions; it´s a famous place.  In fact, as I am writing this, I recall I  ate lobster every night, lol.

Eating lobster at Galapagos
A very yummy lobster

Of course, I went shopping at Puerto Ayora. Yes, that´s right, shopping. My favorite store was LONESOME GEORGE & CO. This store carries casual/sporty clothes made mostly with Pima Cotton. You can find out more about the brand here: http://lonesomegeorge.net/story-of-change/

Also, make sure you buy air tickets in advance. The closer to your trip the more expensive they get. I used cheapoair.com to find the best deal. It cost me USD $279 per person from Quito to Galápagos (roundtrip). I used miles to get me all the way to Quito and just had to pay for tickets Quito-Galápagos.

Oh, I almost forgot. Be sure to pack a ¨wetsuit top¨ (or you can buy one at Galápagos as well, I had to buy one). Snorkeling and/or diving in Galápagos water is cold. For this reason, if you want to enjoy the sea life of the islands and not complain about freezing in the water, use one! And when snorkeling, use shorts unless you don´t mind weird tan lines. Your bottom WILL get tanned. Trust me on this one. And for your own sake, wear sunscreen. My favorite when it comes to water activities is the MD SolarSciences Quick Dry Body Spray. When I´m traveling (or well, almost always) I want things fast and practical. Applying a greasy SPF lotion is not my idea of fast nor practical, so I go for a spray version instead. For real, I wish I had known more about the Galapagos sun, but instead, I ended up with really weird tan lines for a WHOLE YEAR! Again, WEAR SUNSCREEN PEOPLE!

So, I don´t want this to be a super long post, you can contact me if you have any further questions or want more details about the tours. I will be happy to help you and will reply ASAP (don’t worry, my advice/help is free of charge, all you have to do is leave a comment below). I promised you a table with the other packages offered (note that prices are subject to change) and I like to keep my promises, so here you go 🙂 .

Galápagos Packages for 3 nights/4 days (tours included, price are per person)*:

Flamingo hotel (tourist class hotel 3*) $697

Silberstein Hotel (tourist superior class hotel 3*S) $909

Isla Sol Hotel (first class hotel 4*) $964

Sol y Mar Hotel (first superior class hotel 4*S) $1,105

Royal Palm Hotel (luxury class hotel 5*) $1,167

*Please note that prices are subject to change.

Cheers!

 

sea lion
Laziness at its best
sleepy sealion
Sleepy sea lion at Galapagos

 

*In the spirit of full disclosure, this post may contain an affiliate link. Please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, I oftentimes am able to negotiate a lower rate (or bonuses) not available elsewhere. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

13 Comment

  1. AHHHH I can’t believe you went to the Galapagos!!! I’m super jealous! I’ve been wanting to go since I was in high school! One of my teachers went and his photos were incredible!

    1. I’m not going to deny it, Galapagos is amazing! I’d be happy to help you out planning your trip whenever you decide to go there 🙂

  2. Wow Galapagos looks just beautiful! You have definitely inspired me! 😀 xx

    1. I’m glad you liked it! It’s definitely a trip worth doing at least once in a lifetime 🙂 Cheers!

  3. Wow! That sounds like an amazing trip!

    Maria | http://finastyleblog.com

    1. Hi, Maria! Indeed it was an amazing trip! I truly recommend the Galápagos Islands be on your bucket list! 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!Cheers!

  4. This looks incredible!!! I am happy to connect with you, too! I read some of your blog earlier, but I hadn’t commented yet. I love traveling and I’m super jealous you got to do this! What other places have you been that you loved? You have some amazing tips here!

    1. Thank you! Galápagos is amazing, not going to deny it! My favorite city these days is Madrid but I’m also a huge fan of Brazil. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂 So happy to connect with you! Cheers!

  5. I love travel and miss it! I traveled so much last year. I was so excited to come home and stay in one place for awhile, when I finally got back mid-January… However, the travel bug has hit again and I am READY!

    1. Traveling is one of the best things in life! I adore traveling. Glad to know you’re going to be traveling more this year. Any specific places you want to visit this year?

      1. MOST DEFINITELY Africa! 😉 Otherwise, maybe South America. I have never been south of Texas!

  6. alberttrotter says: Reply

    your article refreshed my memories Galápagos tour,..how nicely you described the accommodation details..good job.i just want to add some more important facts about Galápagos:

    Ecuador uses the dollar
    Ecuador uses the same outlets and voltage as the U.S., meaning no need for a convertor/adaptor
    They charge an absurd amount of interest in credit card purchases so try to pay cash
    There are ATMs on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal but none on Isabela island (try to bring cash because sometimes the machines are empty)
    Wifi is virtually non-existent so expect to be “disconnected” during your time there. Some hotels have wifi but in my experience it never worked in the room and only in the lobby. If more than a few people were on at the same time or didn’t work. When it did work it was slower than dial up internet and I couldn’t watch any video of any type, couldn’t view Snapchat, etc. It was ok for sending WhatsApp messages
    It’s hot AF (the islands are located right around the equator after all) so re-apply sunscreen every few hours. I got burnt bad and I re-applied about 5 times a day
    Bring bug spray or repellent bracelets (I got eaten alive)
    Don’t feed or touch the animals…just don’t (please practice responsible tourism)
    They charge 22% credit card fees to book tours

    1. Hi! I appreciate your kind words, I´m glad you enjoyed reading the accommodation details about Galápagos. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your SUPER VALUABLE input on Galápagos. The info you provided is absolutely true and fantastic. I did struggle with wifi while staying on the islands but locals said that it was kind of on purpose. They want people to disconnect and truly experience the islands´ unique wildlife and scenery. Thankfully, when I was in Galápagos, for some strange reason, mosquitoes didn´t attack me. I had packed lots of insect repellent because I had been warned about it, but I guess that for once in my life, mosquitoes didn´t fancy my blood, lol. I think I got lucky. And the sun…Oh, my! I ended up with really weird tan lines even though I did reapply sunscreen religiously. As for not feeding or touching the animals, totally with you on that. During my tour, a woman got too close to one of the sea-lions (upon arrival you are told you cannot get within 3 meters of the animal), both the tour guide and I yelled at her and she stopped and turned around but there´s always someone trying to touch them (sadly). Thanks so much for stopping by and for your awesome comment! Cheers!

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