Galapagos postcard stamps are expensive -- $2.00 each. We mailed our postcards in the Galapagos in the middle of July and so far, 2 months later, none of the postcards have made it to the U S. I doubt they ever will. Mail your cards after you return from the islands.
TAME airlines selling tickets to flights that do not exist and then trying to say it is your fault because you didn't confirm. Well, I did confirm (TWICE) and they did sell me a ticket for a flight that did not run the time of year I was flying. It was purchased just a few days before I flew so not sure when it was decided it didn't run that time of year!
Unique Suggestions: Never say no. If you make enough of a fuss you will get what you paid (dearly) for in the first place: the flight home.
Fun Alternatives: Fly AeroGal.
Don't know if this is still a major problem there, but the most heared of comment of tourists was the lack of possibilities to get to their dear savings. The only possibility (apart from travelcheques) was VISA, but the few places that offer this service (some local shops and local travelagencies) charged 20 % commission. This was a problem bout 4 years ago, but knowing the local customs, chances are they are not too bothered changin this.
Unique Suggestions: Well, if you're out of money, 20 % should be a bearable cost for not starving. But better take enough travelcheques or inform with a mainland travelagency. (Take min 250 € per week, excl flight and boattrip)
........cost of living is higher on the islands, and they are just trying to earn it like the rest of us. There are some generic souveniers you can find in Quito or Guayaquil but if you look you can find some nice handmade "recuerdos" by the local galapagueNos.
Just a warning for planning......the airplane tickets usually are around $300 for tourists, but there is also a $100 dollar "park entrance fee" as you land at the airport. (It is definitely still worth it though!!)
The Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz (The main Island) is often included as 1 DAY on some tours. This is a rort. The Charles Darwin Centre is free and is accessible by foot from the centre of town. Its quite small and to tell you the truth it was the only boring place i visited in the Galapagos Islands
BOOK YOUR TOUR FROM GALAPAGOS it´s cheaper...than Quito and Guayaquil. This was a recomendation provided by a VT member K1W1 and its very true. I saved about US$150 by booking my tour from Porto Ayura
Unique Suggestions: By all means visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre, it is very zoo like though...all you really see is baby turtles, and George the 150 year old Bachelor Turtle
The other turtles are in enclosures which you can walk around inside.
Fun Alternatives: Go on a highland tour.
This should cost you US$25 but we talked them down to US$20. They drive you in a truck to the centre of the Island on Santa Cruise where there are many giant turtles walking freely in fields and in the forest. You also walk through a giant lava tunnel which is fun
The '7 day' tour of the islands often includes a day in the Puerto Ayora. This will be charged at the same rate as the other days but you will spend the day visiting the Charles Darwin Centre which is free and visiting a turtle farm. There's no denying that the turtles are awesome, but you will see many around the islands and in the Darwin Centre. Ask to leave the tour for this day and save yourself a few dollars.
The photo is one I took at the turtle farm just out of Puerto Ajora.
Fun Alternatives: Book your tour and join it at Puerto Ayora, not at Isla Baltra. By doing this you will sail around the Northern then Southern islands (3 days each) then finish back in Puerto Ayora. Once back in port you can leave the tour and take in the Charles Darwin centre at your own pace, and it's free!
This is a trap that you dont want to get in!!
Common names : Galapagos shark, Grey reef whaler.
Diet : Small bottom-dwelling fish, squid and octopus.
Reproduction : Viviparous : Females give birth to up to 16 live young per litter.
Size : Maximum 3.7 metres Average female 2.7 metres Average male 2.3 metres
Distribution : Found in shallow to deep waters mainly around oceanic islands in tropical waters. Prefers clear water, coral reefs and rocky beds.
Danger to man : Dangerous. Has killed at least one swimmer. Very likely to attack if a food stimulus is present.
Economic Importance : None.
Other Comments : Another of the requiem (Carcharhinidae) sharks that will display a threat posture before it attacks. The juveniles are known to collect in shallow nursery grounds, avoiding the threat of cannibalism from the adults.
But not to Worried, never found any attack in Galapagos, to much food for them so really why would they want to eat us!! WACK i know i would not!
REGALOS. No compres souvenir´s en Galápagos si vas a regresar de tu viaje por Quito.En Puerto Ayora esta lleno de tiendas de regalos y recuerdos, camisetas, ropa apropiada para tours en las islas, postales, libros hermosos de las islas, figuras de animales en madera tallada, ropa típica ecuatoriana, mapas, posters, etc,etc.
Muy a mi pesar ya que muchos dueños de comercios son amigos míos tengo que decir que son unos ladrones. Te recomiendo que salvo las compras imprescindibles para tu estancia en la propia isla como pueden ser unos pantalones cortos o gafas de sol, no compres nada mas.
Todo lo que se vende en Galápagos de regalo esta comprado por los comerciantes en Quito, TODO pero TODO lo que veas en Galápagos lo veras en Quito casi a mitad de precio, recuerdo en mi primer viaje que compres 5 camisetas en Galápagos a 20 $, las cuales las vi después en Quito a 10$.
Os preguntareis que Quito es muy grande como para correr el riesgo de que en un solo día podáis localizar todas las compras no???... pues es muy fácil, todo esta en la AVENIDA AMAZONAS, es la vía mas comercial de Quito y donde os pasareis la mayor parte del tiempo en Quito, la calle mide unos 2 kilómetros y esta repleta de tiendas de regalos, incluso, en el tema de las camisetas encontrareis tiendas de las propias marcas de camisetas de Galápagos, es decir la tienda de los que fabrican los regalos. Os recomiendo mirar en Quito artículos de cuero, a partir de 30$ podréis hacer regalos estupendos como puede ser un maletín de cuero informal con mas de 5 interiores y un acabado estupendo. Si vas a estar mas días en Ecuador te recomiendo acercarte a Cotacachi u Otavalo... los precios son del siglo pasado.
Por ultimo no os olvidéis de regatear, los ecuatorianos están enamorados de Estadounidenses y Japoneses que no regatean pero la realidad es que en la tienda mas lujosa de la Avenida Amazonas podrás conseguir un descuento medio de un 30 % si regateas así que no os de vergüenza alguno, yo he visto regatear hasta unos playeros en un comercio estilo El Corte Ingles. Os imagináis esto en vuestro País??
Definitely do NOT buy souvenirs on the Islands. Since all flights from the Galapagos go through Guayaquil or Quito, you will be able to find everything you need there at 1/3 or 1/2 the price. No, I am not joking. With the amount of money you pay for services and the trip itself, save some money by shopping at the markets in the big cities.
Puerto Villamil, Isabela Galapagos Islands, , Ecuador
Good for: Solo
Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands, Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
Good for: Business
Charles Darwin St, San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Ecuador
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo