Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands are situated in the Pacific Ocean roughly 1000 km from the continent of South America. As a outcome, cruise ships are a well-liked way to discover the 19 islands and scores of tiny islets in the Galápagos archipelago. But what if you do not want to or cannot commit your holiday on a boat simply because of motion sickness or other issues. Luckily, it is attainable to practical experience the Galápagos on your personal. This do-it-your self (DIY) luxury land-primarily based Galapagos Islands guide will assistance you program your adventure in a single of the most amazing locations on earth.
Having to Galápagos Islands
Most guests fly to the Galápagos Islands from either Quito or Guayaquil on the mainland of Ecuador. From these cities, there are day-to-day flights to the Galápagos Islands. The two key airports in the Galápagos are San Cristobal Airport (SCY) on San Cristobal Island and Seymour Airport (GPS) on Baltra Island. Travellers to Santa Cruz Island land at the Seymour Airport on Baltra Island and ride a passenger ferry to Santa Cruz.
Galápagos Transit Manage Card
Guests to Galápagos call for a Transit Manage Card, so let enough time to obtain the card (USD 20 money per individual) at Quito or Guayaquil Airport. The line-ups can be extended. Thus, program to arrive at the airport 3 hours ahead of your flight to Galápagos.
Galápagos National Park Entrance Charge
Guests will have to obtain a Galápagos National Park Entrance Charge immediately after landing on San Cristobal or Baltra Island. The charge depends on your age and nationality. Most vacationers more than the age of 12 spend USD 100 money and youngsters spend USD 50 money.
Stop by San Cristobal Island
From mainland Ecuador, fly to San Cristobal Island from either Quito or Guayaquil. We flew from Quito to San Cristobal on LATAM airlines. Extra airlines serving this route include things like Avianca and TAME.
San Cristobal is the fifth biggest island in the Galápagos and has the second highest population. The town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal is the capital of the Galápagos Islands.
Exactly where to Keep on San Cristobal Island
On San Cristobal Island, we stayed at the Golden Bay Hotel and Spa. This waterfront hotel has 21 guest rooms, a little outside pool, and onsite restaurant, Muyu, specializing in farm, forest, & sea to table cuisine. The hotel’s place is great. A colony of Galápagos sea lions present non-quit entertainment – pups splash in tide pools, mothers rest on the beach, and intrepid sea lions shuffle along the boardwalk.
What to Do on San Cristobal Island
Several exciting locations on San Cristobal Island are accessible by means of a brief taxi ride or scenic stroll from the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Las Tijeretas Lookout and Cove
Stroll to scenic Las Tijeretas from the Golden Bay Hotel and Spa or elsewhere in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The stroll requires 45 minutes to an hour. You will pass Playa Mann, a little sandy beach, on the way to Las Tijeretas.
A stone path leads to Tijeretas Hill, also identified as Frigate Bird Hill, exactly where you will uncover a lookout point. From right here continue downhill to Las Tijeretas Bay, a little cove exactly where you can swim and snorkel from a platform on the rocky shore.
Positioned much less than three km from the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, La Loberia is a amazing spot to see iguanas, sea lions, crabs, and other creatures.
Comply with a trail from the road to an expansive sandy beach. Right after exploring the beach, continue along the coastal path and appear for iguanas amongst the black rocks.
Put on sunscreen and pack snacks and water simply because there are not any solutions at La Loberia.
Consuming and Drinking on San Cristobal Island
There are various locations to consume and drink in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. We dined at Muyu at the Golden Bay Hotel or overlooking the water at a single of the cafes on Darwin Ave. If you appreciate beer, attempt the neighborhood Endemica Galápagos blond ale.
Stop by Santa Cruz Island
Air travelers from the mainland to Santa Cruz Island arrive at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island. You can fly on either LATAM, Avianca, or TAME Airlines. It is a brief boat ride across Itabaca Channel to get from Baltra Airport to Santa Cruz, the most inhabited island in the Galápagos.
We flew to Santa Cruz Island from San Cristobal Island on Emetebe Airlines. This Galápagos-primarily based airline is the only carrier giving direct service in between the islands.
Right after clearing customs and paying the Galápagos Park entrance charge at the airport, travellers board shuttle buses for a brief ride to the dock on Itabaca channel. From right here, a little ferry transports passengers and their luggage to Santa Cruz Island. On the other side of Itabaca Channel, buses and taxis transport travellers to Puerto Ayora, the biggest town in the Galápagos. The transfer approach requires a single hour or much less.
Exactly where to Keep on Santa Cruz Island
For the ultimate eco-luxury practical experience, remain at Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz Island. Guests at Pikaia Lodge appreciate guided land-primarily based tours and access to a fleet of yachts for day-trips to other Galápagos Islands. Study much more about the exclusive Pikaia Lodge practical experience right here.
Ikala Galápagos Hotel is a new house situated close to the harbour in Puerto Ayora, the biggest town in the Galápagos Islands. Right after 5 days at Pikaia Lodge, we spent 3 days at Ikala Galápagos Hotel. We enjoyed the added time on Santa Cruz Island and the attentive service at Ikala Galápagos Hotel.
What to Do on Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island provides quite a few alternatives for sightseeing on a DIY land-primarily based Galápagos holiday.
Las Salinas and Las Grietas
From the public dock in Puerto Ayora, hop in a water taxi for a brief trip across the bay. From right here, adhere to the path and boardwalk to the Finch Bay Hotel exactly where you can quit for a drink and snack at the hotel restaurant and bar.
Continue along the path to Las Salinas (salt marshes) exactly where salt is harvested and sold along with cold drinks and snacks at a nearby concession stand. This salt is utilized to prepare the dry-salted fish usually served in the Galápagos.
Subsequent quit is Las Grietas exactly where you can swim and snorkel in a spectacular water-filled crack in the volcanic rock. Even if you do not want to swim, it is a stunning spot.
Laguna de las Ninfas
The tranquil Las Ninfas lagoon is surrounded by mangroves and is a brief stroll from the Puerto Ayora harbour. At Laguna de las Ninfas, you can appear for fish from the boardwalk suspended more than the water.
One particular of the advantages of staying at Ikala Hotel in Puerto Ayora is the proximity to spots like Laguna de las Ninfas – we visited the lagoon a handful of occasions.
Charles Darwin Investigation Station
Discover about the Galápagos tortoise breeding initiative, scientific applications, and conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Investigation Station.
Puerto Ayora Harbor
Stroll along the Puerto Ayora harbour and watch the pelicans, chat with Miguicho, a fellow who has committed his life to eliminating cigarette butts and tobacco from the atmosphere, and soak up the neighborhood vibe in the biggest town in the Galápagos.
Spectacular Tortuga Bay is accessible by means of boat or two.five km trail from Puerto Ayora. At Tortuga Bay you can stroll amongst the ancient cacti developing on the rocks, watch iguanas race along the sand, and snorkel close to the mangrove forest. There are two components to Tortuga Bay and only a single is appropriate for swimming and snorkeling.
Los Gemelos Sinkholes
The two Los Gemelos sinkholes appear like significant volcanic craters. There is a sinkhole on every single side of the road surrounded by trees and shrubs which includes the Galápagos pepper plant.
El Chato Tortoise Reserve
Wander amongst the giant Galápagos tortoise at El Chato Tortoise Reserve. An exhibit delivers information and facts on the Galápagos tortoise and you can attempt on a tortoise shell to get a sense of their massive size.
If you stop by El Chato Tortoise Reserve, you can venture inside the nearby lava tunnels.
Exactly where to Consume and Drink on Santa Cruz Island
Restaurants are plentiful in the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. In addition, you can obtain snacks and drinks at a supermarket across from the boat pier.
Travel Suggestions – DIY Land-Primarily based Galápagos Islands Getaway
- If you have the solution, commit a handful of days in Quito ahead of flying to Galápagos. Keep in Quito’s walkable Old Town simply because it is regarded as to be the very best-preserved historic centre in Latin America. You can study much more about what to do and exactly where to remain in Quito right here.
- Carry sufficient money to obtain the Transit Manage Card and spend the Galápagos National Park Entrance Charge.
- A private guide is essential to access to some of the suggested sights on Santa Cruz Island in this DIY land-primarily based Galápagos Islands guide. Guests at Pikaia Lodge have a private guide for the duration of their remain at the eco-resort. If you remain at Ikala Hotel, front desk employees will assistance you organize a guide or tour.
- We spent ten days on our land-based Galápagos Islands holiday. We could have stayed longer. The Galápagos Islands are a fascinating location.
Prior to you depart on your Galápagos Islands holiday, you could appreciate reading about how to deal with airport safety like a pro. Additionally, if you are flying to Galápagos Islands with youngsters, these tips on flying with kids will assistance you get there with a smile on your face.