The Galapagos archipelago is without a doubt a living museum of evolutionary change. The islands appeared from lava eruptions that came from the bottom of the ocean and can rise to as much as 2,600ft. The lava, from more than 2,000 craters, has continuously altered the landscape and currently the archipelago consist of 13 large islands, 6 minor ones and 40 islets. It’s amazing to think that Darwin only spent 22 days of his 5 year voyage here, yet those few days helped lay the foundations of modern day evolution...... awe-inspiring! Therefore it comes as no surprise that UNESCO declared the Islands a World National Heritage (1978) and a Natural Biosphere site (1985).
And so for those world travellers amongst us, a few things to bear in mind should you decide to visit...
All air transport to the islands operates from Guayaquil or Quito on the mainland. Based on accounts from our fellow travellers, I’d recommend that you transit through and continue out to the islands rather than spend time in either city....as well cities are just cities as far as I’m concerned. So unless you’ve travelled all this way with a desire to shake that booty and go clubbing down town...keep heading west!
Then there is a USD $10 visitor control card charge payable at the airport followed by a USD $100 national park entrance charge for international visitors payable upon arrival. Be sure the dollars you have are acceptable as some older series notes ($20, 50 and 100 denominations) may be refused due to counterfeit issues.
Weather wise, December to May is sunny and warm with the rainy season beginning in January. June to November is colder and drier! Did i say colder...what I meant to say was a few degrees cooler! Whilst a rain jacket is advisable for a trip to the highlands (craters) adding a fleece to your suitcase would be sheer madness!
Go local! In the past we’ve been guilty of using mainstream travel service providers but despite the convenience and savings, the benefits aren’t often shared with the local community. So this time we decided to use a small local travel company (Galapagos Alternatives). It’s a small operation which was set up by a local (Javier) and his now wife Jill - who is from USA. She was a visitor to the islands many years ago and fell in love with the place and also with Javier. Galapagos Alternative uses local guides and the service has been impeccable! Without a doubt we’ve managed to see everything and get a real taste of the islands this way! We have seen other tourists sent off with their boxed packed lunches each day but we have been treated to lunches on local farms and Ceviche (a local delicacy) on the beach. Big thumbs up!
Anyway the time of plenty boobies is almost over! With us departing for Lima tomorrow odds are that internet access will be sketchy for a while. So unless you receive a ransom demand from a red headed woolly monkey with an Irish accent please assume all is well. Until next time, Adios Amigos!