Jan 16, 2020
How to travel to the Galapagos Islands and where to stay
Located roughly 600 miles from the Ecuador coastline, Galapagos Islands are a series of archipelagos shrouded in myth, mystery and otherworldly charm.
When Charles Darwin steered his vessel the Beagle II and spend 19 days in that biodiverse ecosystem he came out awestruck and with a theory blossoming in his head. He introduced the Galapagos Islands - a haven that up to that point had only been visited by pirates and swashbucklers - to the world by way of a little known book called On the Origin of Species.
Ever since that start-studded entry into the limelight, the Galapagos Islands has inched its way into most intrepid explorers and wanderlust aficionado’s bucket list.
The Galapagos Island became Ecuador’s first national park, and in 1978 it was named a
UNESCO World Heritage site. Nowadays, more than 275,000 folks visit the Galápagos yearly.
How To Get to The Galapagos Islands
There are two ways to get to the Galapagos Island, by plane or by sea. Most planes and boats reach the island from ports and airstrips in Ecuador. You can book cruises straight from the mainland but most tour companies ship you off to the islands by plane and then pick you up by catamarans in one of the main ports of the Galapagos.
The first thing every would-be traveler should know: the Galapagos region is vast. It’s not just one island but a series of volcanic islands each with their own ecosystem and diverse fauna and
flora. Some, if not all tangent islands, are uninhabited. Yes, reaching the place might be easy - from Ecuador (Mariscal Sucre International in Quito or Jose Joaquin de Olmedo In- ternational Airport in Guayaquil) - but once there, you have to run back and forth between different tour companies setting up day trips to the various destinations outside of the main island hubs (Baltra Island or San Cristobal).
As such, taking that fact into consideration, that where the airplane leaves you off from the mainland is really nothing more than a jumping-off point to the madness that is the Galapagos Island, there are a few things to consider when venturing through the maze. You can leapfrog from one island to the other, one trip at a time, or hire a cruise service to visit them all.
Cruise or Hotel?
Factors to Consider:
Cost: A trip to the Galapagos can be quite expensive. Land-based vacations - using many price point restaurants and hotels on San Cristobal Island, Santa Cruz and, the more rugged, Isabela and Floreana Islands - is by far the cheapest way to travel to this place.
Some of the most trust-worthy hotels in the area are:
Golden Bay Galapagos Angermeyer Waterfront Inn Pikaia Lodge
Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel
Cruises: Live-aboard a boat is by far the simplest and most time-efficient way to travel through the Galapagos. Even the most bare-bones boat will cost you more than a land-based vacation, but it really is the fastest way to visit this wonderland. If you set up shop in a hotel, you’ll spend a great deal of your time getting from point A to B and back to point A; from your hotel to the boat, out to that day’s destination, back to your hotel. Small cruise ships and boats allow you the freedom to wake up every morning in a new and exciting destination. A Galapagos Island Cruise offers different itineraries and services depending on the route and vessel.
Destinations: most islands offer day trips, but they can’t reach some of the outskirts places that cruises - that can travel overnight and a great distance - can. You can only cast a small net from a Galapagos vacation based off hotel travel.
The bottom line is that it depends on YOUR bottom line. Living in a vessel is really the most exciting and efficient way to visit the archipelago. It allows you to visit distant destinations that land-based explorations don’t. Travellers staying in hotels are limited to only the five islands that can be reached in one day.