The seas can be quite rough and the islands are quite some distance apart.....10 to 17 hours most nights. If you are prone to sea sickness , it might be best to pick a 4 night cruise. The shorter cruises stick to the closer islands and you will see almost as much..Related to:
- National/State Park
- Sailing and Boating
The Dreaded Curtain of Bubbles....
When chasing the vaunted whaleshark through strong currents you will invariable be blowing air at an ungodly rate. (you can actually see the pressure gauge indicator plummeting....) Thats OK and all, but should another group also be in the water chasing the same whale, you just may find yourself blinded by a curtain of air bubbles from below...
Don't touch the animals
Galapagos is home to many unique, endemic animals, most of which are fearless due to the lack of natural predators. It is critical for their survival that you don't feed or touch the animals . The baby sea lions look so cudly, but if we get too close and our scent rubs of , they will not be recognized by their mother and they will be abandoned and die!!
The birds too get so close , and are fearless. Gaurd their trust don't feed or give water. Remember you go home they stay and survive on their own!!
Take care!!Related to:
Unusual Combo of Ailments....
Living on a boat for eight days can make your legs do funny things once you are again on dry land. They seems not to want to walk straight, and i could still feel the imaginary rocking in my head even 3-4 days after we we off the boat.
Combine that with the thin air of Quito (elevation 8500 ft) and your head starts feeling dizzy from the lack of Oxygen. So, a dive in the Galapagos followed by a rest day in Quito, will invariably lead to that rare combination of Sea Sick Legs and Altitude Sick Head.... (Cant say I have ever quite felt anything like that.....)
The only cure I few cold beers and maybe a bowl of Ceviche, I guess...
To beer or not to beer....
There is an inherent problem when the dive schedule calls for 5 dives a day, and the boat has an open (i.e. free) bar.... This situation will invariably lead to conflicting choices.... (ive or drink ??? dive or drink ???? what should I do ????)
One case in point was a night dive that I really wanted to do, but all my mates were already in the bar boozing it up having a grand old tyne.... After much angst, I decided to do the dive.. (which was actually rather fun, chasing bat fish around on the sandy bottom......) And my boozing friends actually showed me a bit of kindness, as upon surfacing the first sight I saw was a bottle of cold beer being handed down to me...... Cheers to that....
I wouldn't normally consider Moray Eels much of a danger. Sure they look kinda scary, but unless you do something stupid to provoke them they won't bother you.
Diving here often involves clinging to a rocky shore while watching the hammerheads and/or whale sharks, ( especially at Wolf and Darwin Islands) And the rock are just thick with big moray eels. With the strong current and surge throwing you around, it seemed to me pretty easy to get accidentally tangled up with one...
There were a couple times that I almost accidentally kicked one from being tossed around in the surging water... I guess just watch were you put your extremities....
Beware of the sealion bulls
When snorkelling or just walking along the beach, watch out for the bulls. They're easy to spot as they are huge. They will attack if they think you are a threat to their territory. The marine life in general though, are very relaxed and will let you come quite close for those all-important photos.
Another warning against Galapagos Options
The travel agency called GalapagosOptions were the most incompetent group of people I have ever worked with before on anything!
Here are the basics of what they did wrong.
1. They caused a 2 day delay in our being able to leave for the Galapagos because they did not give us the correct documents we needed to travel with. We had to spend 6 hours the first day trying to sort out their 1st mistake.
Dayanna told us the problem was sorted out and we now had a new booking. All she had done was put us on a stand by list and we spent 5 hours in the airport the next day waiting to get an actual booking
2. we were left stranded 3 out of the 4 times someone was supposed to meet us. So, we had to find our own way.
3. Their website includes a great deal of false information. Including the following:
*It says the hotels have airconditioning. Only 1 of the 3 does.
*It says that there are 2 options for the day in San Cristobal. It does not mention that if you go on the highland trip, it is included in the price. If you go on the snorkeling trip, they will charge you $45 extra dollars.
*The website includes Santa Fe in the islands you visit, but all it is is that the water taxi between Santa Cruz and San Cristobal passes by the island at high speeds, so you can see it as you zoom by.
4. One time, their contact on Santa Cruz hadn't bought our boat tickets like he was supposed to. He said he didn't have any money. So, we had to go get on the phone to talk to the travel agency we ended up wasting another hour of our time trying to get that sorted out.
5. We ended up having to pay for something once because they hadn't gotten around to it yet and we were out of time. They promised to pay us back, but still have not done so.
After having gone to the islands, I realize I could have done everything they did fairly easily on my own. hRelated to:
- National/State Park
- Budget Travel
Playful Sea Lions but watch for the Bulls
Sea lions are very friendly and playful when you are snorkeling and diving. Adults and juveniles will swim along with you, nudge you and get right in your face. This is all fine and you can even play back with them. We were however warned NOT to touch the bulls if they are playing with us. It is okay if they touch you but they will bite if you touch them. The females and juveniles will not bite.Related to:
- National/State Park
Respect the Bull Sea Lions
While Galapagos Sea Lions are generally friendly creatures, the bulls can be territorial and aggressive, particularly during the breeding season. By paying attention, and giving these animals sufficient space, you shouldn't have any problems.Related to:
- National/State Park
Watch out for Marine Iguanas
Marine Iguanas generally pose no threat. The do, however, frequently discharge salt water from their noses, with a far-reaching spray. Salt water in a camera can cause problems, so be careful about getting within range of an iguana's spray.Related to:
- National/State Park
package tours - horse riding
If you are not expecting to ride a horse for 2 hours, then be warned that some boat packages will include a horse ride whether you've ridden before or not. A daunting experience if you hate horses or have never ridden. I personally love horses and enjoy riding - but this experience was difficult, dusty, and quite overwhelming as we weren't advised or expecting the experience. Check with your Naturalist and ask (or demand) another mode of transport if riding is not your thing. It was also quite sad to see some very old, skinny, tired horses being pushed through their paces in the middle of a hot day.Related to:
- Horse Riding
Everyone on our cruise came prepared for the sun, the Galapagos Islands straddle the equator and even if the temperatures aren't that hot, the sun is quite intense. We all dutifully slathered ourselves with sunblock every day before heading out. I missed a small spot on my back one morning, it was as red as a cherry and the rest of me would have been too had I not lotioned up before going out.
I brought SPF 50 sport waterproof sunblock, on the bottle it says good for 80 or 90 minutes so make sure to reapply frequently if in the water. A couple of the people on our boat had swim shirts (some companies have them listed as rash guards) and I think I will pick one up before heading to the next sunny location as I often worry about my back burning while snorkeling.
I've never been seasick in my life, I don't suffer from any kind of motion sickness, so I didn't really factor that into my decision on what kind of boat I would be taking. I'm not sure how big of a difference the size of the boat makes, none of the boats are the big 1,000 plus passenger cruise ships so I'm going to guess that whichever ship you pick, if you get seasick, that you may want to pack either tablets or find patches. They all appear to have some side effects, drowsiness with the tablets, blurred vision and dizziness with the patches. Our 1st aid kit had some seasickness medicine but if you have a real problem with it, don't leave it to chance because there is nowhere on the cruise, except for Santa Cruz, where we could buy anything.
On our cruise, the 1st night was extremely rough, almost everyone on our ship was sick, a couple of people stayed up on deck until we docked for the night. I was a little queasy but not sick. Another night we rolled until the wee hours of the morning, that night it was really hard to sleep. The other couple of nights they said would be bad, turned out to be just fine.
The thing that kills me is that I had brought the proper footwear with me, I had closed toe Tevas and I had tennis shoes and I wore it for most of the trip but I saw all these groups getting off their pangas (that's a dinghy) onto a wooden platform and thought that my Clark open toe sandals sandals would be just fine for a hike. Well, that's not where we went, we landed on a section of Santiago called Sullivan Bay that was almost 100% covered with lava and we were walking over unstable pieces and jumping over cracks. The 2nd thing that kills me is that I didn't trip while jumping over a crack or unstable pieces and I was being so careful, as far as I can tell I must have caught the toe of my sandal under my foot and the next thing I know I've got my husband holding my leg together and the two lovely Polish doctors on our cruise administering 1st aid...
Anyway, lava is not a surface to screw around with, it's kind of like falling on glass. Whatever I hit sliced my leg right open, it was a clean cut, just like being sliced with a knife but I suspect I will have a permanent souvenir of my trip on my trip to the Galapagos. 9 stitches in one place, double layered, and 3 in another spot, but it could have been a lot worse.
Galápagos Islands Hotels
Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands, Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
Good for: Business
Isla Isabela, , Puerto Villamil, Galapagos
Good for: Business
Puerto Villamil, Isabela Galapagos Islands, , Ecuador
Good for: Solo
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