Galapagos. Enchanted Islands. Even low cost!

Today, to know Galapagos. We host and we know in this post Giulia and her blog Viaggiare Low Cost. A true alone backpackers that explores the world. We go with her in a distant archipelago. Dream of many and reality of some who are lucky enough to go there. I’m talking of Galapagos Isles. Giulia didn’t only visit, but lived in Galapagos, as you can see on its social channels. We will discover with her the isles in a different way of expensive cruises, with attention at low cost.

” Think about twenty-five piles of ash, dumped here and there in a field on the outskirts of the city. Imagine that some are huge as mountains and the sea that the field is away, thus the exact idea of Encantadas, or the Enchanted Islands. An archipelago of extinct volcanoes, rather than islands, more or less as it would appear the world after a conflagration punitive.” H. Melville

The writer of Mobi Dick has defined the Galapagos in this way, this still mysterious archipelago which is located 1,000 kilometers from the Ecuadorian coast now one of the most desirable destinations in South America.

The archipelago consists of 17 islands, only 4 inhabited, UNESCO site and unique place in the world where the interaction man / nature follows the rules profoundly different from that to which we are accustomed, the Galapagos are considered an elite destination and one that is said to visit once in a lifetime.

The reasons are numerous, and go far beyond the legends about Darwin’s theory of evolution or the giant turtles.

The islands are mainly volcanic, the last eruption occurred in Isabela island in 2011. The flora largely endemic and the fauna varied and specific to each individual island that makes up the entire archipelago.

Travelling to the Galapagos is a kind of journey into the land of the dinosaurs that are not limited to giant turtles, such as the common imaginary wants.

They are called the islands of Darwin, although Darwin in his theory of evolution, just mention, because here has only spent 5 weeks. They are then identified as the islands of turtles, when in truth the many endemic species are more and habitat is impossible to find in the world.

We are talking about a small archipelago with particular shape, position and history. An archipelago where the lack of fresh water has created many difficulties for men to live and thus remain untouched until 100 years ago. The Galapagos aren’t only giant turtles and sea lions, are the islands that must be lived with an eye to their particular biodiversity and ecosystem that has remained virtually unchanged where each island has its own characteristics, no matter when it is small.

The beauty of these places is that there are animals and plants that can only be found in some islands and not in others, then in its biodiversity. If Seymour Island will enjoy the beautiful magnificent frigates and blue-footed boobies nest, in Plazas Island colonies of yellow land iguanas are intermingled with Opuntia cactus and plants Sesuvium. If Leon Dormido (or Kicker Rock) you snorkel among different species of sharks including the hammer at Bartolomé you will do with the penguins. If you want to be enchanted by hundreds of sea lions swim or roll around on the beach or walk undisturbed for sidewalks then you should go to San Cristobal.

The barren terrain of the islands and the non-intervention of man over the centuries has meant that in each island were grown in different species of animals and plants that still remain in their uniqueness that makes the unique archipelago and where every little thing seem worth it to be photographed.

The Galapagos is really so expensive?

The archipelago of the Galapagos is National Park for 97%, this means that only 3% is inhabited. To discover the protected areas are needed specific tours with a lot of naturalist guides authorized by the park.

This is one of the reasons why a trip to the islands may seem extremely expensive compared to other South American destinations. But the fact that this archipelago is more expensive than the same continent doesn’t mean that it’s inaccessible or impractical.

Unlike the common beliefs in fact you’re not obliged to spend $ 3000 for a week of travel, as you aren’t forced to take part in the same way to a cruise.

For the past 10 years have started to develop alternative travel options to cruise ships, in particular the so-called land tours and islands hopping, travel itineraries that allow you to sleep on the different islands inhabited islands, Santa Cruz, San Cristobal , Isabela and Floreana, taking part in tours daily. The savings in this case is not indifferent and the travel experience different but equally complete.

Why travel in an alternative way to the Galapagos?

The reasons are numerous and range from several arguments. In the first place, what is probably the most interesting, the cost. Cruise ships cost at least $ 200 per day, the total is easily done: 7days $ 1400. You must add the flight, about $ 400 round trip, and the entrance fee to the National Park which currently is $ 100 for foreigners but that seems to be raised in the coming years to $ 200. A seven-day land tour all-inclusive cost $ 400 or even $ 500 less.

The routes? Pretty much the same, although it must be said that some of the islands actually can only be visited by cruise ship, take Espanola Island. Besides the cost, a travel itinerary alternative allows more flexibility than the cruise that follows a prescribed route and isn’t meeting the needs of the individual and to his tastes. For example, if you have special interests, fauna or flora, snorkeling rather than landscapes, a land tour can be changed at will until you’re happy with the result and the route is just what you’d expect.

A land tour also actively contributes to the local economy, in fact you’re sleeping in the hotel which are owned by local, you’re eating in local restaurants, you having time of shopping and spend your money in the circuit. Finally, last but not least, you have more free time and this can be arranged as you like. Cruise in fact mean lack of freedom, you are literally unable to walk slowly in the village,you don’t able to spend evenings in a bar simply by interacting with local and otherwise. This doesn’t mean that the cruise isn’t worth it, of course, depends on the experience of travel that you prefer, but if the choice of the cruise only falls because you believe that there aren’t alternatives, it’s good to know that there are alternatives and are also valid.

When to go to the Galapagos? The Galapagos there isn’t high or low season, although the seasons divide in: fresh and hot with no rain and rainy (in my experience actually even during the rains rarely happen to have more days of rain). From December to May the temperatures are rising, there is often the sun and rare showers. Similarly, the water is warm enough not to need  diving suit to snorkel. From June to December, the sky is usually overcast and the temperatures drop significantly as well as that of the water where it is necessary to soak the suit. In fact, every month is ideal to go to the islands, no risk of cyclones or travel experience ruined due to bad weather. The islands offer a tourism can 365 days a year.

How to get to the Galapagos? The Galapagos can be reached exclusively by air from Quito or Guayaquil. The airlines serving the archipelago are: AeroGal, Lan and Tame. For foreign tourists the cost of A/R flight is around $ 400 per person, a site that is worth keeping an eye on Kayak.com is that sometimes you can find deals flight from Guayaquil to Baltra with Aerogal (about $ 360 per person round trip).

I thank Julia for her guest post and for these very useful information and, if after his words and his photos you don’t felt still the urge to go … I add more pictures. It will be impossible to resist the urge!

South Plaza Island – Darwin Center. Impressive giant turtles and very interesting discovery of an ecosystem so unique and delicate.

Cruz Island. Walking … brown pelicans and be carefully to avoid stepping on the many red crabs!

Cruz Island. Seals lounging everywhere undisturbed.


Santa Cruz Island. The sandy beach very “populated”.

Isola Espagnola. Sea lions and lizards in sleepy relaxation.

Isola Espanola – Punta Suarez.

Isola Floreana. To lose to admire the pink flamingos take flight at sunset in an indescribable spectacle.

 

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