Useful Information: The Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands: Why You’ll Love It
Take the ultimate family adventure to The Galápagos Islands, an extraordinarily preserved archipelago 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador that lies right on the equator. This eco-system offers one of the most unique, magical and unforgettable wildlife experiences on earth.
Naturalist Charles Darwin first visited these volcanic islands over five weeks in 1835 on a sailing ship called the Beagle. He noticed that the finches on each island had slightly different beaks. Years later these observations were key to forming his theory of evolution.
Witness a place where birds and animals have no fear of humans, from breeding boobies and flightless cormorants to marine iguanas and giant tortoises, the fearlessness of the animal life here is astounding.
Ninety-seven percent of the Galápagos archipelago (some 54,000 square miles) is an Ecuadorean national park and human habitation is restricted to one of the 14 larger islands. Most visitors live on boats, such as the ones detailed in our hand-picked family holidays to the Galápagos.
The Galápagos Islands: Why The Kids Will Love It
There is nowhere else on earth quite like The Galápagos Islands and a family holiday here truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
These islands and waters surrounding them are full of life. See fur seals and flightless cormorants, black marine iguanas and giant mantra rays, penguins, frigate birds, blue footed boobies and much, much more. Of all the Galápagos’ famously approachable wildlife the sea lions are the only ones that pay you much attention. Don’t be surprised if one comes up to say hello when you are snorkelling!
Our partner agent are parents of young children themselves and they understand what makes an exceptional family adventure holiday. They also understand the care and attention that is needed to create a holiday that is not only inspirational, but that will be remembered for a lifetime. A Galápagos family holiday can be enjoyed at whatever age, however the older children are the more they will get out of it. The trips include a lot of snorkelling and so it’s best if the children are confident swimmers.
When To Go
The Galapagos Islands are a great year-round destination for a Galapagos cruise and there really is no “off-season” as opposed to many other wildlife sanctuaries around the world. However, the high season for tourism tends to be from mid-December to January and from June to August, which coincides with the general holidays and vacation months around the world.
The climate in the Galápagos is subtropical and is regulated by the warm Nino Current and the cold Humbolt Current.
- January to May: from low 80°F (27°C) to low 90°F (32°C) (possible rain)
- June to September: low 60°F (15°C) to high 70°F (21°C) (possible rain)
- October to December: 70°F (21°C) to 80° (27°C) (dry season)
December to May: The time period between December and May is considered the “warm season.” During this warmer season, the Galápagos’ climate is more tropical with daily rain and cloudier skies. Also, the ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkelling.
June to December: From June to December the southern trade winds bring the colder Humbolt current north to the Galápagos. This means that the water is cooler, and a layer of high atmosphere mist pervades the island skies. In effect, the highlands of the larger islands are kept green and lush, while the sea level islands and shorelines have very little rainfall thus; June to December is generally called the “dry season”.
Capital: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital and lies at the southern tip of San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island.
Time: GMT – 06:00
Language: Spanish is the official language.
Voltage: 120 v
Flight time from the UK: Flight time from the UK to Ecuador is roughly 12 hours. From here you must catch a flight to the Galápagos Islands takes just over 3 hours (if flying from Quito as all planes go via Guayaquil).
Visas: Visitors from the United States, Canada and most European countries traveling to Ecuador for tourism, business or to study do not require a visa unless they expect to stay in Ecuador for more than 90 days in one calendar year. Please remember that visa situations do change and it’s worth contacting your nearest Ecuadorian consulate prior to travel.
Health & Vaccinations: Visitors travelling to Ecuador and The Galápagos Islands should be up-to-date with all routine vaccines. Other recommended vaccines include Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Make sure to check with your doctor prior to travel.All visitors should have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. Based on where you are going and how long you are staying your doctor may advise the following vaccinations: Hepatitis B, Malaria, Rabies and Yellow Fever.
Getting There: To get to the Galápagos Islands you must first travel to Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador.
There are flights to Ecuador from London Heathrow via Madrid on British Airways. You may find cheaper deals on the same route with Iberia and Lan Chile S.A. Low-cost flights to Ecuador are offered from London City with a stop-over in Amsterdam on KLM, and on Continental from Heathrow via Houston. Flight time is roughly 12 hours.
From Ecuador, the two major airlines flying to the Galápagos Islands are TAME and Aerogal. TAME operates two morning flights daily from Quito via Guayaquil to both the Isla Baltra airport and the San Cristóbal airport. AeroGal has three flights daily from Quito to Isla Baltra and San Cristóbal via Guayaquil. All return flights are in the early afternoons of the same days.
Some flights go to the small islet of Baltra, just off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, others go to San Cristobal Island. Which flight you need depends on where your cruise starts.
Usually each yacht has reserved spaces on a particular flight so that all the guests arrive together from the mainland – for guests travelling with our partner operator, your flights to The Galapagos are booked for you.
Money: The official currency of Ecuador and The Galápagos Islands is the US Dollar.
Safety: That Galápagos Islands are safe, the only thing you need to worry about is possible seasickness and sunburn – make sure to pack accordingly!
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Family Holidays in The Galápagos Islands
Follow in Darwin’s footsteps and take the ultimate family adventure to The Galápagos Islands. This extraordinarily preserved archipelago lies 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador right on the equator and offers one of the most unique, magical and unforgettable wildlife experiences on earth. Witness a place where birds and animals have no fear of humans, from blue footed boobies and flightless cormorants to marine iguanas and giant tortoises. This is truly the ultimate family wildlife adventure