Travel || The Galápagos Islands
Finally I have photos of our trip to The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. This trip was a feast for the eyes and soul. It was incredible to visit such an important place and get so close to the wild animals in such a spectacular backdrop. It was amazing for the kids. The Galapagos are is an archipelago of volcanic islands in the Pacific ocean off the coast of Ecuador of which they are a part. These islands are well known because it is where Charles Darwin made observations which contributed to his theory of evolution. We had been planning this trip with my college roommate and her family for some years. We were just waiting for our kids to be old enough to appreciate the experience. This added joy of sharing this trip with such good friends made the trip extra special. We reminisced about those unforgettable college years non-stop. Nothing like getting together with your old roommate which I'm lucky to count as one of my best friends!
Some photos were taken with my Nikon D5100 and others are iPhone photos. I'm sure you will be able to tell which are which. I will have some travel tips at the bottom.
My pom-pom hat is an easy DIY I came up with here almost two years ago. I always get so many compliments on it on Instagram and real life and it's so easy to make. I wear it all the time, take it with me on trips and the hat still looks brand new. Make it, your friends will all be jelly!
Ten Tips for traveling to the Galapagos Islands
1 || When traveling to the Galapagos you will likely fly there from one of Ecuador's main cities like Guayaquil or Quito. You will need to be at the airport at least 3 hours prior to your departure. There are multiple lines you must do because it is a very protected land so they check that you are not bringing in plants or fruits as they could easily become an environmental threat. There are also special taxes to pay. Arrive with plenty of time and be armed with patience.
2 || There are wonderful hotels in the islands but if you are going with a group of people make sure to check-out houses for rent. They could turn out to be less expensive than a hotel plus it is easier if you have kids. This was our case and we loved the house experience.
3|| Pack tons of sunscreen and a good hat! You are in the equator where the son is closest to the earth. You have to apply sunscreen every two hours and be religious about it. My friends introduced me to face sticks which is what surfers wear on their nose and face and they are miraculous. It does not come off easily and protects from the sun really well. My husband would have benefited from a hat like this.
4 || Rashguards are your best friend. We spent so much time out in the sun between the excursions, boat rides, swimming and snorkeling that I'm not sure what would have happened if we didn't wear our rashguards. Wearing them meant you could relax and enjoy the moment without stressing over the sun. Our favorite are the Cabana Life's striped ones with the zipper at the neck. They come in all kinds of colors. Little Miss A and I are big fans.
5 || Bring your own snorkel gear. You will be so much happier exploring those beautiful turquoise waters knowing your snorkel has not been in anyone else's mouth!
6 || Pack a water bottle for everyone in your family. All we did was drink water and it was convenient to have our own bottles we could refill.
7 || Consider bringing an underwater camera. The snorkeling was amazing. We saw so many beautiful fish I wish we had brought an underwater camera.
8 || Wear sneakers for all the excursions. Sneakers were key. Many of the excursions have a walking component in not-so-easy terrain. These walks would not have been fun in crocs or flip-flops. We wore sneakers with socks and were so happy we did.
9 || Read ahead. The guides are very knowledgeable, but it was nice to know the main facts about the islands and animals beforehand. This way when the guide talks more information will stick because it won't be the first time you are hearing it. There is much to learn about the animals, their habits and the evolution of their species and behaviors as well as of the formation of the islands. There are great books out there.
10 || If traveling with kids they should be at least 7 years old. And maybe even 8. The terrain is tough. In the excursions we did there was not an ounce of shade in the islands and there was plenty of walking (ie two hours in the hot sun). It may be too much for younger children.
Let me know if you have any specific questions. I would be glad to help.
[ all photos by AC ]