Honestly, everybody should visit the Galapagos islands ones in a lifetime. The group of islands is situated in the pacific ocean next to the coast of Ecuador mainland. The islands are part of Ecuador and you have to take a flight from Quito or Guayaquil to visit the paradise on earth, the Galapagos islands. The wildlife is spectacular and the water is crystal clear. There is nothing more you could wish for.
We took a flight from Cusco to Guayaquil, where we stayed overnight in the hostel Casa Romero (perfect choice!). For the taxi from the airport of Guayaquil to the hostel we payed 5 USD (USD is the currency of Ecuador). The next day we took the flight to Baltra, the main airport of the Galapagos islands. At the airport in Guayaquil we had a baggage control (compulsory), there you have to pay 20 USD per person and when you arrive in Baltra you have to pay 100 USD per person for the park entrance fee of the Galagagos Islands. It is every cent worth it and one plus is that you receive a beautiful stamp in your passport. And at this moment the adventure in the paradise began. We booked the first night on the main island Santa Cruz in Puerto Ayora. To go there, you can take a free bus from the airport to the port which is a 10 minute bus ride. Then you have to take a watertaxi for 1 USD per person and after is a bus waiting (costs as well 1 USD per person). The whole distance takes about 1.5 hour.
Ones we arrived in Puerto Ayora we decided to visit the famous and beautiful Playa Tortuga Bay (for free). You reach this beach only by walking, which takes about 1 hour oneway. The beach you will cross before, you will see many iguanas hanging on the beach and surfers are trying to catch the waves. A bit further you will arrive to the beach Tortuga Bay, where you can swim with baby sharks. Honestly, first we were afraid but they do not attack you at all.
You should visit the port of Puerto Ayora, there you can observe sea lions and pelicans and if you are lucky you can see little sharks and mantas swimming in the sea.
You can visit the famous Charles Darwin research station in Puerto Ayora (for free).
Take a taxi to visit the hugh turtles on Santa Cruz (30 USD per person). You can observe as many hugh turtles in the nature as you like. They are cute and unique on Galapagos islands. To watch the turtles you have to pay 3 USD more per person.
MUST DO: Day trip to Pinzon to snorkel with turtles, sharks, sea lions and a lot of different kinds of fishes. This was an amazing and breathtaking snorkling trip ! You will be so close to the wild animals. This trip cots 130 USD and includes snacks and the lunch.
If you like to eat a little bit cheaper for lunch (normally USD 5 for a soup and main course), you can eat at the places named “kiosks” or ask in the restaurant what is the lunch menu of the day.
We decided to visit another island named Isabela. In every tour agency you can book a ferry to go to Isabela, which costs you 30 USD per person and takes about two hours. When you are at the port, first you have to take a watertaxi which takes you to the main boat (50 cents per person). Same when you arrive in Isabela, there is a watertaxi waiting (costs 1 USD per person). Ones you arrive in Isabela you have to pay a port rate of 10 USD per person. Just be aware, that you have enough money by cash with you, on Isabela you want find a ATM or a restaurant where yo can pay by card.
One day we rented a bicycle and to explore a small part of the island. There are so many spots which you can visit for free. Ask them at the bicycle rental station, they will show you the way. For 3 hours and two bikes we payed 15 USD.
The next day we visited los tuneles (120 USD per person with lunch and snacks included). A awesome tour where you can snorkle with hugh sea turtles, sharks, sea horse and mantas. We saw also 7 meters mantas. It was so special to see sharks swimming so close to us.
You will also make a short walk to see the blue footed booby bird. As the name of the bird, the blue footed booby has blue feets.
Supermarkets are expensive, even more on Isabela. It is better to buy some food as rice, noodles and cooking oil on the mainland of Ecuador and take it with you to the Galagagos islands. And if you decide going for example to Isabela, take some eggs and yoghurt with you. You wont find them on the island or if yes, it is extremly expensive. Furthermore there are just ATM’s on Santa Cruz. If you like to change the island, be sure that you have enough money with you.
Another option is to book a Cruise (4 / 7 / 11 / 14 days). We recommend to book a flight to Baltra and to book a last minute tour on Santa Cruz. The cruises are much cheaper than booking them in advance. And it is always important to compare some tour operators and to ask them what kind of service is included in the price.
You will note, that everything is very expensive on the Galapagos islands. But this is a place where they protect the environment and the wildlife very well, so you have the chance to explore a beautiful landscape, nature and wildlife. There are living specious of animals you will nowhere else find in the world.
We stayed six nights and seven days on the Galagapos islands, but the next time we would stay longer. It is the paradise on earth, really. The wildlife, the beautiful beaches, the crystal clear water and the nice weather makes this destination a must do for everybody.
Bye bye Galapagos!