A Galapagos Islands visit promises to be an unforgettable experience. From observing unique wildlife like the giant tortoises and marine iguanas, to snorkelling and discovering local history, there is so much to see and do. But a visit to the Galapagos isn’t a beach vacation and a great trip here should involve some thorough planning. During your Galapagos Islands visit, you’ll benefit from some local information and helpful tips. In this article, we help you plan the perfect Galapagos Islands visit by offering some important tips and tricks. 

A visit to the Galapagos Islands

Planning a visit to the Galapagos Islands? You’re in for a once in a lifetime adventure! With unique wildlife, beautiful landscapes, and a rare opportunity to witness the very ecosystem that Charles Darwin studied, the Galapagos Islands offer a chance to connect with nature and explore unspoiled environments.

Visitors can hike, snorkel, and scuba dive to observe marine life up close, or take tours led by knowledgeable guides to learn more about the islands’ history and conservation efforts. While regulations and conservation efforts mean that travelers may have limited access to certain areas or activities, there is still plenty of opportunity to experience the natural beauty and wonder that make the Galapagos a globally renowned destination.

Pre-trip information for your Galapagos Islands trip

In this article, we offer some helpful pre-trip information for your Galapagos Island visit, and help you make the most of your upcoming adventure.

1. When should I visit the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands can be visited year-round. However, arguably the best time to go is from December to May when the weather is warm and dry, and there is an abundance of wildlife. During this time, visitors can also enjoy water activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, or diving, as water temperatures are warmer.

From June to November, temperatures are cooler, and there is a higher chance of rain. Having said this, during these months bird-watching is at its best, as many bird species are mating and nesting.

Whilst it would be great to provide one simple answer, ultimately, the best time for a Galapagos Islands visit depends on a traveler’s interests and preferences.

Looking for some more in-depth information about what the months of year bring on the islands and the weather in the Galapagos? Find out more here. 

2. Which Galapagos Islands should I visit?

The islands you should visit during a trip to the Galapagos Islands, depend on your interests and preferences. During a visit, it is quite common for visitors to either take a cruise, or to plan their own land based trips – visiting two to four islands.

The Galapagos Islands are situated roughly 1,000 km from mainland Ecuador and encompass 127 islands, islets, and rocks, including 19 large land areas. Of the 19 major islands in the archipelago, only four are fully uninhabited, making them an attractive destination for tourists seeking a remote and serene getaway.

Whilst cruise passengers can visit a larger number of islands, land based explorers can visit five (those which can be reached within a day). Having said this, it is safe to say that land-based travellers very rarely feel limited by this choice!

Some of the most frequently visited islands in the Galapagos are; Santa Cruz, Isabela Island, San Cristobal, Sante Fe and Floreana. Find out more about these islands and their pull factors for tourists here. 

3. Can I visit the Galapagos Islands without a tour?

Yes, you can visit the Galapagos Islands without a tour. In fact, it’s a very popular choice and many people prefer to do it because they don’t like to be on someone else’s schedule (for example on a tightly packed cruise schedule). Depending on your travel style, you’ll be able to choose which option suits you best.

Tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands may opt to explore the region without a cruise for various reasons. Some choose this option to save money, others to connect with the local community and support sustainability efforts, while some prefer exploring freely and avoid sea sickness or being confined to a boat.

Find out more about the reasons for a land based Galapagos Island visit here.

4. How much time should I allow for my trip?

Those planning a land based trip to the Galapagos Islands should allow at least seven days for their visit. However, more time is always recommended. A trip of seven days will leave enough time for exploration of two islands and plenty of time for travel in between.

5. What should I pack for my Galapagos adventure?

A trip to the Galapagos isn’t a beach holiday. When packing, travelers should keep in mind that they will need to bring more than just swimwear, sunscreen, and summer attire. This doesn’t necessarily mean having to check-in extra luggage or pack heavy bags. However, there are several essential items visitors should consider bringing to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip in this unique destination.

Packing for the weather, as well as taking care of your safety, health – and very importantly – the local environment is key to a successful trip. Click here to find out what you should bring on your Galapagos Islands visit. 

6. Where should I stay during my Galapagos Islands visit?

Planning a visit to the largest Galapagos Island – Isabela Island? You’ll need a great place to stay.

Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge is an ecologically-friendly lodge located near Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. The beautiful ecolodge offers guests a chance to experience the natural beauty of the islands while staying in comfortable rooms and suites. The lodge is located near several popular attractions, including Las Tintoreras, a great spot for snorkeling with sea lions and tropical fish.

During your stay, friendly hosts Manany and Wilson will offer lots of helpful advice for your stay, including where to eat and what to see. Most importantly, the hosts will help you reduce your environmental impact on the islands, thanks to their sustainability initiatives and passionate attitude.

To book your room at Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge, click here. 

apartment balcon outside