Local traditions and culture in Galápagos Islands

  • Me holding the postcard that I will deliver
    Me holding the postcard that I will...
    by kathymof
  • The postoffice today
    The postoffice today
    by kathymof
  • Local Welcoming Committee for Galapagos
    Local Welcoming Committee for Galapagos
    by kathymof

Most Viewed Local Customs in Galápagos Islands

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    Greetings

    by kathymof Written Jul 26, 2008

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    We were greeted by a very local greeting committee when we arrived at the pier on Baltra. They actually paid no attention to us or the dingies picking us up. They were comfortably asleep in the shade and perfectly happy.

    Local Welcoming Committee for Galapagos

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    odd that no one eats crabs

    by richiecdisc Updated Apr 2, 2008

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    With all the good sized crabs running around Puerto Ayora, we thought it odd that no restaurants offered them to eat. We asked one of our guides and he said that while it's not offically allowed that locals did eat them. Of course, this was all off the record. They certainly didn't seem endangered but I guess if people eat them when they aren't allowed that it could become a problem is it was!

    At any rate, it's fun watching the scurry around the lava rocks with the greatest of ease.

    the agile crabs of the Galapagos what's for dinner? Not crab I hope.
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    the locals really know where to eat

    by richiecdisc Written Apr 1, 2008

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    One great thing about Puerto Ayora is just walking around town. It's not only a scenic little touristy seaside town, it is teaming with wildlife. You'll see crabs and marine iguanas scurrying all over the rocks down by the water and if you head down by the fishing boats, you can see the local bird lining up for a free meal too.

    waiting for lunch in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz
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    tipping

    by McBare Written Aug 20, 2006

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    Whatever you do, come prepared to tip, tip, tip anyone who is providing any level of service. This is generally no big deal as people survive on tips, however, if you have booked an expensive boat trip - be warned that some Naturalists will expect some big tipping. DON'T feel trapped by this. You have paid a large amount already and they get a good wage from the tour companies. Tip if you feel the service is good and tip appropriately - by this I mean be mindful of all the people on the boat who have provided you with a good service and share the booty around. If you tip what the Naturalist expects you to provide, then you are setting up a difficult situation for future travellers. Tipping can be a difficult subject to talk about for everyone - so tip those who deserve it.

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    Manners ...

    by SanguiniA Written Feb 12, 2006

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    Well, the manners of some of the inhabitants may be a bit shocking to some .... not only do they not use any handkerchiefs ... but if you stand exactly in front of them you can get showered by some sticky stuff because the sea lions sneeze often. So do a favour to yourself and be a bit careful, especially if your reflexes aren't too good :-)

    Yukk ....

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    Church

    by lloymi Written Mar 18, 2005

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    If you are in Puerto Ayora over the weekend you should visit a church. There are several! Each Sunday of course the largest church in town-Catholic, there is also a Mormon church which usually has a couple of U.S. missionaries there, as well as a pentacostal church. I met many people from these churches and they would love to have guests! Specifically, I would recomend the Seventh-day Adventist Church just up the main road from the bank, where I spent my year. They are very friendly people, and have a nice, small homey church. Main services are on Saturday mornings, and evenings, but they also have Sunday and Wednesday night studies. It is a good way to practice spanish too!

    Iglesia Adventista

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    The local currency? The "greenback"

    by Quero Updated Dec 8, 2004

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    Don't worry about taking any kind of cash to the Galapagos other than US dollars. That's the official currency. Bring enough to pay your park fee, offer tips to your guide and the boat crew, buy souvenirs, snacks to take aboard the boat, etc.

    You can use credit cards in a few places in the Galapagos, but don't count on it. It's best just to have cash. If you do find youself making a large enough purchase that you exhaust your stock of greenbacks and need to pay with plastic, keep in mind that American Express just won't cut it here.

    There is an ATM machine in Puerto Ayora that works--or should I say is *supposed* to work--with the Cirrus system. (One boatmate of mine tried to get some cash, but she was unsuccessful; I doubt she was the only one.)

    (And no, that's not all my money.... this is a stock photo from somewhere, LOL.)

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    Park fees are expensive

    by Quero Written Nov 30, 2004

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    As soon as you arrive in the Galapagos, you will wait in a long, long line to have your passport stamped (yes, even if it was stamped in Quito or wherever you entered the country). You will also need to pay the park fee.

    IMPORTANT: You MUST pay your park fee in cash, and in US dollars. The fee is $100.

    Here's a sketch of passengers waiting in line at Galapagos arrivals.

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    Flamingos

    by windsorgirl Written Dec 19, 2003

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    You can see flamingos on Isla Rabida and Isla Sante Fe. The characteristic pink colouration of the Galapagos Flamingo is maintained by their diet of bright pink shrimp larvae and other pink marine insects.

    Flamingos
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    The Great Frigate Birds

    by windsorgirl Written Dec 19, 2003

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    The Great Frigate birds can be found in colonies on Isla Seymour Norte. They are not the friendliest birds in the animal kingdom in that they rely on other birds, like boobies and gulls to catch fish and then the Frigates steal their fish away. Another interesting fact about the frigate birds is that the males have these floppy red pouches beneath their beaks that they can inflate to incredible proportions to attract a female.

    Male Frigate Bird
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    The Waved Albatross

    by windsorgirl Written Dec 19, 2003

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    Considered to be the rarest bird of the Galapagos Islands is also the largest. The Waved Albatross has a wing span of 2.5m, making it an expert flyer but less than graceful while on land. These birds spend most of their time flying to different locales in the South Pacific, but return exclusively to Isla Espanola every year from April to December to hatch and rear their young. This mating pair did not leave their nest while we were visiting, but apparantly, their take offs and landings are quite hilarious to watch.

    Nesting Waved Albatross Pair
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    Marine, Land and Hybrid Iguanas

    by windsorgirl Written Dec 18, 2003

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    There are 2 species of land iguanas on the Galapagos, they can reach up to 1m in length.

    The marine iguanas are very unique in that they are they only aquatic iguana in the world. They have evolved to eat green algae that grows underwater. They can swim to a depth of 20m and stay underwater for an hour at a time. They are also able to expunge excess absorbed salt out of their noses.

    And, as you may guess, the hybrid Iguana is what you get when a male marine iguana mates with a female land iguana. They are very rare to spot and are identified by thier unusual stripes. Our group was lucky to see one on Isla South Plaza.

    Land Iguana
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    Sea Turtles

    by windsorgirl Written Dec 18, 2003

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    There are 4 species of Marine Turtles that have been spotted on the Galapagos Islands. I only observed one while snorkelling one day, but one morning we came across these turtle tracks in the sand. The females come up from the water at night and dig a deep hole into which they lay hundreds of eggs and leave them there to incubate in the hot sun.

    Sea Turtle Tracks
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    Blue Footed Boobies

    by windsorgirl Written Dec 18, 2003

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    The Blue Footed Boobies were by far my favourite animals from the Galapagos. We came across hundreds of them, most at very close range. We were only allowed to walk on very narrow pathways on the islands and often, the boobies would nest right in the middle of our path, so we would literally have to step over them to get by.

    They are very skilled hunters and extremely entertaining to watch. You will see them soaring a hundred feet in the air and they will suddenly dive from that distance nose first into the water, resembling a kamikaze pilot. After a few moments you will see them pop up from the water like a piece of toast from the toaster, usually with a fish in their beak. It was always fun to watch them from the deck of the boat.

    They also really do have these intensely blue webbed feet, like the colour of sky. You can also see a trace of blue on their upper beak.

    And, lastly, if you are lucky, you will be able to witness the male's comical mating dance. He will show off his lovely blue feet to his girl by picking them up one at a time and then he will usually pick up a stick in his mouth and wave it around for her to see. Where else on earth can you be so close to see such an interesting act of nature?

    The Courtship Dance of the Male Blue Footed Booby
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    No longer king of the hill

    by lenoreva Updated Apr 1, 2003

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    It is quite sad, but when the dominate male sea-lion can no longer dominate (i.e. another sea-lion can beat him up), he separates himself from the group and waits to die. This poor sea lion wouldn't eat anything and moaned at us when we passed (on Plazas Island.

    dying sea lion
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Galápagos Islands Hotels

  • Finch Bay Eco Hotel

    Barrio Punta Estrada S/N, Puerto Ayora, 00000, Ecuador

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge

    Puerto Villamil, Isabela Galapagos Islands, , Ecuador

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

  • Hostal Casa de Laura

    Before coming to San Cristóbal I had read in my guidebook about Hostal Casa de Laura and it seemed...

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