Galapagos – Frequently Asked Questions
Galapagos – Frequently Asked Questions
DestinationTips for VisitorsTravel TipsHow to Visit & Plan a Trip to the Galapagos
What makes the Galapagos so special?
With some of the most unique wildlife in the world and the presence of islands so young that they’re still forming, the Galapagos truly is a timeless spectacle to behold. The absence of predators has led to fearless fauna that permits up close and personal observation. The almost minimal presence of humans – 97% of the archipelago is a highly controlled National Park – has led to a pristine cluster of islands. Add to this the fact that it’s the conceptual birthplace for Darwin’s theory of evolution and an equatorial crossroads for many other explorers, and voilà – you have a monumental suitcase of wonders, both historical and physical, waiting for you when you arrive at the enchanted isles.
How do I know if Galapagos is the right destination for me?
Galapagos is a great destination for almost everyone. Nature lovers will appreciate a transformative experience with wildlife and a first-hand view of how islands form. It is a great place for honeymooners or families to escape from everyday life and find quality time. If you’re looking for a conventional beach destination, top shopping, and traditional entertainment options, this is probably not for you.
How much of a nature lover do you need to be to enjoy the Galapagos?
The Galapagos Islands are a perfect destination for everyone who wants to be amazed. Even if wildlife watching is not your main reason for coming, you will still be impressed by the incredible landscapes, savoury Ecuadorian cuisine, local hospitality and wide range of activities.
Is it family friendly?
Yes. The Galapagos is an awesome learning experience for all age groups, though age restrictions do apply on some cruise vessels.
Is it accessible for people with disabilities?
It really depends on the type of disability and the extent to which this disability would affect the person’s visit. People with serious mobility issues will find that Galapagos has incredibly rugged terrain with no access ramps at visitor sites. Wheelchairs would be subjected to regular exposure to salt water, which could damage them. The only tour operator currently offering specialized services for wheelchair-bound guests is Ecuador for All.
Do I need to use a wetsuit?
During the hot season, warmer water currents will make it possible to swim without a wetsuit. If you are planning to go for a long swim or snorkelling you might want to consider wearing one because you will be moving less. During the dry season, the water gets cooler due to colder currents and some guests prefer to wear a wetsuit more often.
I have special dietary requirements. Can they be met?
When requested in advance, most special dietary requirements can be arranged. Multi-guided ships tend to have a larger kitchen staff than single-guided ships as a result of which they are more likely to be able to accommodate special requests.
I have special religious requirements. Can they be met?
No ship in Galapagos offers a religious service of any denomination. In land-based options, there is almost always a town nearby with a church, but only Christian denominations are present. Please contact your destination expert to inquire about specific requirements.
Is there any kind of age restriction for visitors?
Children below the age of 6 need special permission from their parents or guardians to board a Galapagos cruise. Children under the age of 18 that are travelling that come accompanied by just one parent/legal guardian must have a minor consent form signed by the other parent or, in the case of a legal guardian, both parents. The drinking age in Ecuador is 18 years old.
I´m travelling in a group with people of many ages. What's the best way for us to travel?
The best option would be to go with a multi-guided cruise vessel or a land-based tour. On either of these two options, multiple activities will be available simultaneously, which means the more active in the group can be out and about while those who prefer a more relaxed journey can take in the views calmly.
What is the food like on board an expedition cruise?
Our Le Cordon Bleu-certified gastronomic director has carefully designed the buffets and menus on board all of our cruise ships. These are inspired by both local and international flavours. Varied meals comprised of all the food groups will be served through the day. This also includes fresh produce, fruits and proteins that are acquired from the best providers available.
- Umbrella (for sun protection during island hikes)
- Waterproof Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
- Flashlight/head lamp
- Water bottle
- Dry bags (to keep things from getting wet)
- Snorkel and mask (if you wish to use your own instead of the boats’)
- Windbreaker jacket
- Light sweater
- Extra memory cards
- Extra batteries
Will I need binoculars? What kind of binoculars is best for Galapagos wildlife viewing?
Our naturalist guides always have a pair of binoculars that they will pass around when there is something interesting to see. Do feel free to bring your own if you are really into wildlife viewing.
What shoes do I need to bring?
A good pair of walking shoes, ideally with a good level of traction and grip on the bottom.
What additional photographic equipment should I bring on my trip?
Batteries, weatherproof camera bags, and extra memory cards will come in handy. Waterproof housings will be necessary if you wish to take your camera underwater. Tripods are handy too if you want to take pictures of the night sky.
Are there any restrictions on photographing or filming the islands?
Flash photography is not permitted when taking photos of wildlife. Professional photography and videos recorded for commercial purposes must be authorized by the Galapagos National Park. Drones can only be used with a special permit.
Can I SCUBA dive in Galapagos? Can I get my diving certification or a license upgrade in Galapagos?
Galapagos is considered one of the world’s top SCUBA diving destinations. However, guests should be aware of National Park Rules that define two different options for diving: live-aboard or land-based day cruises. As of 2017, there are only 9 live-aboard ships exclusively dedicated to SCUBA in the archipelago. Other types of cruise ships cannot, by regulation, provide this service. There are diving outfitters in San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabela islands. Galapagos is a great place to get your certification or upgrade your current license level, but check which outfitters offer this service. This could also make for a fabulous extension to your cruise.
Will I need my own snorkelling gear?
Snorkelling gear will be provided to you on board all of our cruises so that you can enjoy the aquatic beauty throughout the Galapagos. If you have your own snorkelling gear however, definitely feel free to bring it along.
Can I fish in the Galapagos?
No. Sports fishing is prohibited inside the Marine Reserve. Local fishermen are allowed to fish, however.
Can you recommend at least three-four good books for reading prior to this trip?
Of course! Check out this blog on our Top 7 Galapagos Books.
Is it easy to purchase media thumb drives/digital memory?
Yes. We sell these on our ships and you can find them on the inhabited islands.
Your Galapagos Travel Expert Since 1969