8 things you need to know before going to the Galapagos The Galapagos is a perfect location to enjoy wildlife as this is one of the few places on Earth where the wildlife shows no fear of humans, meaning you can observe it from just a few meters away. Before going to this magical island, here is the information you should now: How many islands are there? The archipelago has 13 major islands. Five of them are inhabited by humans. Moreover, there are over 100 small islets or rocks in addition to the bigger islands. All of the islands are volcanic and were formed 4 million years ago by lava. Some of the volcanoes are still active to this day. Most people who visit the Galapagos Islands only get to go on one or two of the islands, and cruise around some of the others without actually mooring there. What is the best time to go? One of the good things with the Galapagos is that you can visit it all year long, so you can start planning your trip at any time with Ecuatraveling! The best time to go to the Galapagos will depend on what you hope to see and do there. You can check our article about When is the best time to visit the Galapagos to have more information: Best time to visit the Galapagos How to go to the Galapagos? You need to get to mainland Ecuador by flying into either the city of Quito or Guayaquil. Most Galapagos flights are either early in the morning or in the evening. The best way to arrive at the Galapagos is to fly into Baltra Island before taking a bus and ferry ride to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, the most popular tourist hub. Another option is to fly into the capital of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, but most cruises start in Santa Cruz. You can book your flights through domestic airlines such as LAN or TAME. What do you need to pay before entering the Galapagos? Once at the Quito or Guayaquil airport, passengers must buy a US$20 Transit Control Card at the INGALA counter that will be used when entering and leaving the islands. This control card can only be purchased in cash at the airport. At the Galapagos airport, you need to pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$100.00 payable only in cash. You also need to take into account that there are requirements to enter the Galapagos: Requirements for the Galapagos What activity can you do? • Wildlife watching. One thing the Galápagos Islands are famous for is their variety of wildlife. This includes a number of species endemic to the islands such as the Galápagos fur sea or the Galápagos sea lion. • Diving. Scuba diving in the Galapagos is on almost every divers bucket list You may be able to catch a glimpse of one of the unique marine iguanas or spot some yellow-bellied sea snakes. Sea lions and dolphins are playful while huge sea turtles glide by with ease. • Snorkeling. No matter where you’re snorkeling, you’ll probably be swimming alongside sea lions and Pacific sea turtles. • Hiking. You can hike in different places in the Galapagos such as the Volcano Sierra Negra or the Volcano Chico that are located in Isabela Island. • Kayaking. You can rent kayaks without a guide at Tortuga Bay in Santa Cruz. • Surfing. Rent boards in towns such as those in Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. • Go on a cruise: Galapagos Island cruises range from four to eight days. It will allow you to have a better overview of the Galapagos. You will make the most of the islands due to the itinerary of your boat. In general, a cruise goes around two or three islands. Here is a list of good cruise: ISABELA II: For a unique experience. ODYSSEY: For a great cruise. DARWIN: For budget travelers. Last minutes deals: It is definitely possible to find last minute deals to the Galápagos Islands. These deals can get you a Galápagos Islands cruise with a sometimes 60% discount from the original price. It only requires some flexibility. You may need to wait for a few days for the cruise to leave. You need to remember that the flight ticket is not included in the cruise. The prices for last-minute cruises range from $750 to $1,600 (depending on the length of the cruise and the quality of the vessel). Also, the lower price also means less comfort on the boat, not the greatest meals, and possibly a less interesting itinerary. Atm & Credit Card: You need to take into account that there are very few ATMs on the islands. Santa Cruz Island is your best bet to get money (there are two ATMs), or San Cristóbal Island (one ATM). To be safe, I’d take a good amount of money before entering to the Galapagos Islands. 10 Packing essential: Waterproof cameraSwimsuitRefillable water bottle SunscreenHat or CapSunglass Motion sickness medication for boat toursWindbreakerA long-sleeved shirt with UPFCash What are you waiting to book your ticket to the Galapagos? If you still have some questions or you want to book a last minutes cruise, you can contact Ecuatraveling. Written by Clémence Aubry.