What are the Galapagos Islands famous for?
The Galapagos Islands are famous for their unique biodiversity and their importance in Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. These islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, about 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The archipelago is composed of 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands and 107 rocks and islets. The Galapagos Islands are famous for their unique flora and fauna, with many species that are found nowhere else in the world. Giant Galapagos tortoises, marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, blue-footed boobies and Galapagos albatrosses are just a few of the islands' iconic animal species. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835 and studied the diversity of animal and plant species. His observations on the differences between the birds and turtles of the different islands played a key role in the development of his theory of evolution by natural selection. The Galapagos Islands are therefore of great importance in the history of biology and science in general. The Galapagos Islands are also famous for their natural beauty and conservation. The islands were declared a national park in 1959 and in 1978, UNESCO designated the Galapagos Islands as a World Heritage Site. The islands are protected and efforts are being made to protect their unique flora and fauna.
What are the INGALA, TTC and TCT taxes?
The INGALA tax is a tourist tax that is applied to visitors to the Galapagos Islands. It is managed by the National Institute of Galapagos (INGALA), a governmental organization which is responsible for protecting and preserving the unique natural environment of the Galapagos Islands. By paying the INGALA tax, visitors contribute to the preservation of this unique ecosystem and help ensure that the Galapagos Islands remain a sustainable tourist destination for future generations. You will then be given the Transit Control Card (TCC) or TCT. It allows the Ecuadorian authorities to control and regulate the number of visitors to the islands. It is used to ensure compliance with regulations and laws regarding environmental conservation, wildlife protection, and sustainable development. To obtain a TCT, visitors must pay a fee, which varies depending on their nationality and the length of their stay on the Galapagos Islands. Visitors must fill out an online form and pay the fee online prior to their trip, or pay the fee upon arrival at the Galapagos Islands airport.
How do I get to Galapagos?
Visitors must fly to the Galapagos from the cities of Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador mainland. It is impossible to get to the Galapagos by boat / ferry from the mainland.
What type of cruise should I book?
The choice of cruise category for the Galapagos Islands depends on your personal preferences, your budget and the length of your stay. There are several cruise categories available for you, ranging from economy to luxury boats: -Budget: These cruises offer basic cabins and simple amenities on board. They may be less intimate than other categories, but they are generally more affordable. - Mid-range: These cruises offer a higher level of comfort than economy cruises, with larger cabins and more modern amenities. - First-Class: These cruises offer a higher level of comfort, with first-class cabins, modern amenities and high-end services. - Luxury: These cruises offer the highest level of comfort and service, with deluxe staterooms, state-of-the-art amenities, premium services and superior cuisine.
Which itinerary do you recommend?
All of the Galapagos Islands offer a certain interest depending on whether you are attracted to marine wildlife, land wildlife or the diverse landscapes. Whichever itinerary you choose, you will have a unique experience with many animals at your fingertips! Galapeos particularly likes the itineraries along the western route of the archipelago, which include a visit to the islands of Fernandina and Isabela. They are among the islands that offer the best swimming times and the most pristine landscapes of the archipelago! However, if you want to see as many islands as possible, the central part of the archipelago offers an unequalled density of small islands.
How to deal with seasickness?
Here are some tips on how to deal with seasickness: - Avoid fatty and heavy foods before and during the trip. Choose light, easily digestible foods instead. - Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can make symptoms worse. - Avoid reading, using a computer or looking at a screen, as this can increase the feeling of nausea. - Try to get as much rest as possible, as fatigue can make seasickness symptoms worse. - If you are able to do so, take a seasickness medication before the trip. There are many over-the-counter medications that can help relieve the symptoms of seasickness.
What vaccinations are recommended to travel to the Galapagos?
There are no specific vaccines for the Galapagos as such. Recommended vaccines will depend on your health, age, vaccination history and length of stay in the islands. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following vaccines: - Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory if you are coming from a country where yellow fever is endemic. - Vaccination against hepatitis A and B. - Vaccination against typhoid. - Vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) for travelers born after 1956, unless they can prove that they have already had the disease or have been vaccinated. It is recommended to consult your doctor or travel health professional before traveling to discuss which vaccines are most appropriate for you.
Is travel insurance necessary?
Yes, it is highly recommended to have a travel insurance for your trip to the Galapagos. Even though the Galapagos Islands are considered one of the safest places in Ecuador, it is important to protect yourself against unforeseen and high medical expenses in the event of a medical emergency, accident, theft or lost luggage. Indeed, medical care can be expensive in the Galapagos and most travel insurance companies cover medical expenses, medical evacuation and repatriation in case of emergency. In addition, traveling to the Galapagos often involves booking and prepayment fees for flights, hotels, cruises and tours, which may be non-refundable in the event of a cancellation or change in schedule. Travel insurance can help cover these expenses and minimize financial losses in the case of an unforeseen event. It is important to read the terms and conditions of your travel insurance to ensure that it covers all the activities you plan to do in the Galapagos, such as scuba diving or hiking. In addition, it is always a good idea to contact your insurance company to see if they cover emergency expenses in remote areas like the Galapagos and if they offer 24/7 emergency assistance.
How much luggage is allowed to travel to the Galapagos (and what weight)?
Airlines that fly to the Galapagos Islands have strict weight and baggage limits to ensure the safety of the passengers and the aircraft. Weight and baggage limits may vary by airline, but in general, travelers are allowed to carry one piece of checked luggage weighing up to 20 kg (44 pounds) and one piece of hand luggage weighing up to 8 kg (17 pounds) in the cabin. Excess baggage allowances can be purchased. Expect to pay at least $5 per extra kilo.
What is the electricity voltage used in Galapagos? What adapter should I bring?
The voltage in the Galapagos is 110 volts AC, which is the same as the voltage used in the United States. However, most electrical outlets in the Galapagos are different from those in the United States and Canada, and use either type A or type B outlets, with two flat pins. If you are coming from a country that uses a different voltage, it is important to bring a travel adapter for Galapagos outlets. A universal adapter that fits different electrical outlets may be a good option.
Do I need a visa to visit Galapagos?
No, if you are a citizen of most countries in South America, Central America, North America and Europe, you do not need a visa to visit the Galapagos for a tourist stay of less than 90 days. Check with the Ecuadorian embassy in your country for specific requirements.
When is the best time to visit the Galapagos?
The best time to visit the Galapagos Islands depends on your climate and activity preferences. The Galapagos Islands are located on the equator and have a subtropical climate with two main seasons: a cool, dry season from June to November, and a warm, wet season from December to May. If you wish to observe the Galapagos giant tortoises laying their eggs, the period from December to March is ideal. The rainy season also brings denser vegetation and more active marine life, which is ideal for scuba diving. However, if you prefer cooler temperatures and more land-based activities such as hiking, the dry season from June to November may be preferable. Conditions are cooler and drier, making land-based activities more enjoyable.
What is the recommended length of stay in the Galapagos Islands?
The recommended length of stay in the Galapagos will depend on your interests and budget, but in general, a minimum stay of 5 to 8 days is ideal to explore the islands and discover their natural diversity. If you have less time, a 4 to 5 day stay may be sufficient to explore one or two of the main islands. However, keep in mind that the islands are very far apart and travel can take time!
Is it necessary to book a tour or can you explore the islands yourself?
It is mandatory to take a licensed guide to visit the Galapagos Islands. It is not possible to explore the islands by yourself without a guide.
The Galapagos National Park has strict rules in place to protect the islands' fragile ecosystem, and one of these rules states that visitors must be accompanied by a licensed guide. Guides are trained to ensure the safety of visitors while making sure that visitors follow environmental conservation rules.
It is also important to note that certain areas of the islands are closed to visitors in order to preserve endemic species and their natural habitat. Licensed guides are trained to know which areas are open and what rules to follow. The guides are local experts who can help you better understand the wildlife of the archipelago while respecting the fragile environment of the islands.
Are the Galapagos suitable for children?
Yes, the Galapagos can be an exciting and educational destination for children. The islands offer a variety of activities that will appeal to children of all ages, including wildlife viewing, snorkeling, hiking, swimming and more.
Kids can marvel at giant tortoises, marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, sea lions and a multitude of bird species. Children can also learn about the islands' fragile ecosystem and the importance of nature conservation.
However, it is important to note that the tours and activities can sometimes be long and tiring, and children may need rest and free time to relax. It is also important to take precautions to ensure the safety of children during activities such as snorkeling and hiking. The Galapagos can provide an unforgettable experience for children, but it is important to take precautions to ensure their safety and comfort.
Is it safe to visit the Galapagos?
Yes, the Galapagos is a safe destination for visitors and its safety is a priority for the local authorities. However, as with any tourist destination, it is important to take basic precautions to ensure your safety and health. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when visiting the Galapagos: - Follow your guide's instructions and follow safety rules when doing activities such as snorkeling and hiking. - Protect yourself from the sun by wearing protective clothing, a hat and sunscreen. - Drink water regularly to avoid dehydration. - Avoid drinking tap water and prefer bottled water. - Be careful when using public transportation and be sure to take official cabs. By following these basic precautions, you will be able to enjoy your visit to the Galapagos safely.
What camera or photo equipment should I bring to the Galapagos?
When visiting the Galapagos Islands, it is advisable to bring good quality photo equipment to capture the most incredible moments you will experience. Here are some suggestions for camera equipment you might want to bring along: - A digital SLR or hybrid camera: These types of cameras offer better image quality than compact cameras or smartphones. They also offer more flexibility in terms of manual settings, which can be useful for wildlife or landscape photography. - Lenses: If you are using an interchangeable camera, you will need a versatile lens. A 24-70mm or 18-105mm lens would be a good choice for most shooting situations. If you plan to shoot wildlife, a lens with a long focal length such as a 70-300mm would be useful. - A tripod: A tripod can be useful for low-light shooting or long exposures. It can also be useful for shooting at slow shutter speeds to get sharper images. - Extra memory cards and batteries: It is recommended to carry several memory cards and extra batteries to avoid running out of memory or battery while traveling. - Protection: Be sure to pack a protective bag or case for your camera to protect it from dust, sand and water.
Is there electricity on board the cruise ships?
Yes, most cruise ships in the Galapagos Islands have an electricity source to power the electrical equipment on board. This includes electrical outlets for charging electronic devices such as cell phones, cameras and laptops. However, it is important to note that boats typically run on electric generators which can be noisy, so the electricity may be turned off overnight to minimize noise and save energy.
It is also important to check with the cruise operator before your trip to see what type of electrical outlets are available on board. Electrical outlets in the Galapagos are often of the American type (two flat prongs), thus it may be necessary to bring an adapter if your appliances have a different electrical outlet.
Finally, it is important to follow conservation and sustainability rules on board Galapagos cruise ships. Turn off lights and electrical appliances when not in use, and follow the crew's instructions to minimize your impact on the environment.
What is the time difference in the Galapagos?
The Galapagos Islands are in the Ecuadorian time zone (Ecuadorian Standard Time - EST), which is minus 5 hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-5). It is important to check the local time in Galapagos before you leave to plan your trip and adjust your clock accordingly.
What language(s) is spoken in Galapagos?
The official language of the Galapagos Islands is Spanish, which is spoken by the majority of the local population. However, due to the tourist nature of the region, English is also commonly used by tour guides, hotel and restaurant employees, and international travelers. It is also possible to find speakers of indigenous languages such as Quechua or Shuar, although this is less common.
If you are visiting the Galapagos as a tourist, it is likely that you will be able to communicate in English in most tourist locations, but a few words or phrases in Spanish may be useful for interacting with locals and further immersing yourself in the culture of the region!
What is the tipping policy in Galapagos?
The tipping policy in Galapagos varies depending on the company or tour operator you are traveling with. However, tips are not usually included in the cost of travel, so it is common to tip based on your satisfaction at the end of the trip.
Tipping tour guides, boat captains, crew members, cab drivers and luggage porters is recommended. The amount of tips may vary depending on the quality of service, but in general, a tip of 5% to 15% of the total cost of the trip is considered reasonable. It is important to note that tips are a way to show your appreciation for the service, and should not be considered an obligation or an expectation. If you are not satisfied with the service you received, you are not required to tip.
Is it possible to pay with a credit card on board?
It is possible to pay with a credit card on board, but it depends on the cruise companies and their payment policies. Many cruise companies accept international credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.
However, it is important to note that some cruise companies may charge additional fees for credit card payments, or may not accept credit cards for certain services or purchases on board.
It is recommended to check your cruise company's payment policies prior to departure to determine which payment methods are accepted and if any additional fees apply. It is also recommended to inform your bank of your trip and ensure that you have sufficient credit available on your card to cover travel and other expenses on board.
Are fins, mask and snorkel included on board?
Fins, masks and snorkels are often included on Galapagos cruises, but this may vary depending on the boat you choose.
Some boats may offer them for rent for an additional fee. It is recommended to check the cruise company’s policies before booking your trip to see if snorkeling equipment is included or not, and if any additional fees apply. You can find this information on our website under each boat's description.
Is there an ATM in Galapagos?
There are a few ATMs in Galapagos, but they are relatively few in number and are not present in all the towns or islands of the archipelago. The most common ATMs are located in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, which is the most populated city in the archipelago, and in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island.
However, it is important to note that ATMs may be out of order or empty, especially during peak tourist periods. It is therefore recommended to withdraw cash before leaving the mainland or make sure you have other means of payment such as credit cards or traveler's checks.
Is there Wi-Fi on board?
Galapagos cruise companies generally offer Wi-Fi on board their ships, but the quality of the connection may vary depending on the distance between islands and the quality of the signal in the area.
It is important to note that Wi-Fi on board the boats may be limited or intermittent due to the remote nature of the islands and the technology available. In addition, some cruise companies may charge additional fees for the use of onboard Wi-Fi.
Therefore, it is recommended to check before you leave for onboard Wi-Fi policies, possible costs and any limitations. You will find this information on our website under the description of each boat.