PHOTO: The Galapagos Islands. (photo courtesy of Latin Trails)
Continuing with our series of the frequent questions about Galapagos, here is the second part.
1. Can I go to Galapagos for 1 or 2 day´s trip?
No, it’s not possible if you want to do a Full Day to Galapagos because of flight connectivity. Flights in average land in Galapagos between 9:00 am - 1:30 pm and the latest return flight depart at 2:00 pm approx. In the case of two days’ trip, the passenger will only be able to visit one of the ranch or breeding centers, and of course the hotel accommodation, but no more than that. We recommend our customers, to stay in Galapagos at least 4 days and 3 nights. In this way, they can either take a short cruise, i.e. the Galapagos Seaman Journey, or do some daily excursions on a hotel based tour (Island Hopping).
2. Can I change the itinerary followed by the cruise?
No, you can´t. The Galapagos Islands is a National Park, and due to the number of vessels authorized to offer tourism services, they have a tight scheduled to follow. They are authorized to be on a specific island on a specific day during specific hour´s frame. If the vessel changes its schedule, it has to be authorized by the National Park Authority, if not has to face a very expensive fine.
3. Can I hire a local person as a guide once I arrive at the island?
No, you can’t. In the archipelago, only certified guides are authorized to work as guides. Many of them are originally from the islands, which had studied and specialized as a naturalist guide, with at least English as a second language. However, many guides speak more than 3 languages, such as German, French or even Russian additional to Spanish and English.
4. Are ATM´s available in Galapagos Islands? Can I withdraw money from them?
Even in Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz Island, and in San Cristobal Islands you can find some ATM´s that you can use. But, be aware that sometimes they don´t have a connection, and also international credit or debit cards sometimes cannot withdraw. We have been informed that the many UK and Australian cards cannot withdraw from the Galapagos Island ATM´s. Thus, we recommend bringing money.
5. Can I drink tap water in the Galapagos Islands? Is it safe?
No, you can´t. It is not safe. All the tap water in Santa Cruz, Isabela or Fernandina, for example, is only desalinated but not purified. As soon as you land there, the guide normally will recommend you to even brush your teeth with bottled water. On the other hand, San Cristobal Island is only that has a drinking water treatment plant, yet is better to avoid it.
READ MORE Frequent Questions About the Galapagos Islands, Part One
6. Can I smoke in the Galapagos Islands or the cruises?
As a National Park, it is completely prohibited to smoke in the national park areas. It is allowed only on the inhabitant areas of the archipelagos, like the town or the specified areas indicated in hotels, depending on their policies.
7. Can I bring my own food to the islands?
The archipelago has restrictions for bringing food to the islands. Avoid, any seed or fresh fruits. You can bring a limited amount of processed food such as cookies, candy bars, a limited amount of soft drinks, but everything will be checked through X-Rays and the personal of the Galapagos National Park Authority at the Airport in Quito or Guayaquil as well as your land to the island.
8. Can I travel to Galapagos Islands with my pet (dog or cat)?
No, you can´t. It is completely prohibited to introduce foreign animals from the continent because it will affect the fragile ecosystem of the archipelago. Nonetheless, you can find domestic pets in Galapagos that were introduced before the regulations, but nowadays these animals are registered and controlled by the owner and the national park authority.
These are just our selection of the 8 common questions about what you can or you can´t do in the Galapagos Island. You can use it as a tool for getting accurate information before traveling to Galapagos. Finally, as a plus this is another question that we normally receive from international travelers, and it´s:
What local food should I try in Galapagos Island?
The Galapagos Island is famous for its lobster, and if you are traveling after mid-June you will be able to try it. The restriction of consumption, commercialization, and fishing of this crustacean is between January 16 to June 16 for 2017. If you´re able, you can eat it grilled, or with special sauces like the coconut sauce called “Encocado”. Additional to lobster, you can try the local fish called “Brujo” (Sorcerer), or a wide range of seafood and shellfish. Many of them are very fresh and prepared after your request, grilled, with garlic, spicy, or with coconut. To know more about the culinary options in Galapagos, check out our post of the Best cuisine for foodies if you travel to Galapagos.
If you like this article, don´t forget to comment it and share it. Ah! And wait for the next two group of questions. If you need further information or assistance regarding Galapagos or Ecuador, don´t hesitate to contact us by email to email@example.com or by skype at ecuadorboutiquetravel