Saturday 23 February 2013

Travel Preparation for Galapagos Islands

Fernandina Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
You’re traveling to the Galapagos Islands! Be prepared because the Galapagos Islands are unique and special – unlike any other place on Earth.

This post provides you with some of the practical information every traveler to the Galapagos Islands should know: the weather, what to pack, our currency, and other general information that will help you prepare to make your trip as seamless as possible.


The Galapagos Islands are Unique - Prepare Yourself For a Once In a Lifetime Experience


With the exception of hotel and ship board amenities and delicious food, you are leaving big city life behind. You will travel to places where things are not the same as they are back at home. Here, things are understated, not fancy. They are designed for relaxation and enjoyment.  Nature, not materiality, is the focus of your time in the Galapagos Islands.  Our culture differs from yours in many ways.  Be prepared for some trade offs.  For example, in exchange for maintaining our environment (land, sea and air) in as pristine a way as possible and for protecting our plant, animal and marine life, we limit land use, energy and water consumption and even the number of people and boats. If you find that your hotel room is a little smaller than expected, remember the land use limitations that bind us.  And also, remember that it is because of these regulations that you will marvel at sea lions lounging not only on the beaches, but also on Main Street, Blue Footed Boobies dive bombing into the Pacific Ocean and stunning pure blue skies. 

Let me give you a few facts to keep in mind during your stay here.
  • You will be in a National Park where everything is regulated and overseen.  See my post on these regulations here.
  • You will be expected to comply with these rules at all times, where ever you are.
  • All flora and fauna is protected. 
  • The amount of land one may own is limited, building sizes are restricted. 
  • Water and electricity are rationed.  You are likely to be asked to be aware of conservation during your stay here.
  • Until just a few years ago, there was no internet here.  Though the large cities now have internet service, and even wifi, prepare for it to be erratic.  Our communications systems and technology are not as sophisticated as they are back home.
  • Because we are a distant set of islands, everything is expensive as it has to be flown or shipped here.
  • Hotels and boats must comply with very strict regulations.  Remember, this is not New York City!
  • Most hotels try to give you a sense of our customs and the ambiance of the Galapagos Islands so as to immerse you in our culture.
  • Throughout Ecuador you will see dogs, roosters and chickens seemingly on their own.  The National Park Service is working on this, but don't let it be a surprise.
Enjoy your stay in the Galapagos Islands.  When you are here, we want you to experience and become a part of the wonderful Paradise we call our home.  But most of all, allow yourself the luxury of experiencing our culture and special "quirks" and trends.  Your stay will be most enjoyable if you "go with the flow."

The Weather                                                                                                         

Galapagos Hawk, Typical galapagos Island weather
Blue Sky, Beautiful Clouds
Typical Galapagos Island Weather
You may experience vastly different climates during your visit. While we are located on the equator, often it is not as hot as you might expect it to be. Sometimes the temperatures are unpredictable. In the higher altitudes on the mainland, particularly Quito, it may be 50º F.  At the same time, it may be 100º F in the Galapagos Islands. Plan for both extremes. It is coldest with the heaviest seas in the summer months of June, July and August.  It is warmest with the calmest seas in January, February and March. This is all due to the currents that run throughout the Pacific Ocean. To learn about the currents and how they effect our weather see my earlier post.
Wednesday 13 February 2013

No Two Galapagos Iguanas the Same - A Photographic Review

Galapagos Island IguanaIguanas are one of the most ubiquitous and interesting characters in the Galapagos Islands. In reading my earlier post, you will have learned that they are the only ones who forage on both the land and in the sea.

But, here’s another very interesting fact: the iguanas on each and every island are different. They have adapted to their environments in coloration and size based on the available food sources as well as the lava rock on which they rest and camouflage themselves. Here, through photographs, are examples of the colors and differences of the iguanas on many of the Galapagos Islands.


Iguana and Lava Lizard, Espinosa Point, Fernandina
Iguana and Lava Lizard, Espinosa Point, Fernandina
Resting Iguana, Urbina Bay, Fernandina
Resting Iguana, Urbina Bay, Fernandina

Marine Iguanas Basking in Fernandina Sunshine
Marine Iguanas Basking in Fernandina Sunshine