The Galapagos Islands are a popular tourist destination for a reason – and indeed, for many reasons. Hundreds of thousands of people visit every year to take in everything from its wonderful climate, stunning natural wonders, and delicious food, to the friendliness of its people.

    The name itself is iconic and conjures up a wealth of automatic associations, and so the chances are that you’re already onboard and that you don’t need much more convincing. Still, in case you need a little further coercion, here are just a few of the things you need to know before you travel to the Galapagos Islands.

    Visiting the Galapagos Islands

    1. Pack light

    Packing the essentials is one thing, but there’s also such a thing as being over prepared. That’s why you’ll want to try to pack light and to take only what you know you’re going to need, because it’ll allow you to bring more back with you. There will be plenty of opportunities to pick up gifts and souvenirs, whether you’re shopping for yourself or your family, and you’ll also have the pleasure of knowing that you’re supporting local craftsmen and the islands’ economies.

    2. See the wildlife

    Going to the Galapagos Islands without seeing the local wildlife is like going to New York City and not visiting Central Park, Times Square or Broadway. The Galapagos Islands are known for their wildlife, and for their huge Galapagos Tortoises, in particular. You can even pay a little visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about them and to support the continuous breeding of this majestic creature.

    3. Take a cruise

    Some people have the unfair idea that cruises are only for the wealthy, and while that might have been the case fifty years ago, these days, cruises are affordable for even the most budget-conscious traveler. Whether you’re travelling alone or whether you’re with family members or friends, taking a cruise to the Galapagos Islands can be a great way to see both the island and its wildlife, at the same time.

    4. Go diving

    If seeing the wildlife above ground isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of opportunities to see the aquatic wildlife in the beautiful waters around the islands. From snorkeling to diving with whale sharks, there’s something for everyone. The water’s clear to a depth of over 20 meters, and when the weather’s good you’ll see some of the most stunning views in the world.

    5. Visit the wall of tears

    Based on Isabela Island, The Wall of Tears is a relic of the post World War II era and was built just after the Second World War, when the island was home to a prison. To keep the convicts busy and to serve as a punishment, they were instructed to build this 100-yard-long, 20-foot-high wall out of lava from the islands’ volcanoes.

    6. Visit the lava tunnels

    Building on from the last point, the Galapagos Islands are known for their volcanoes and the lava flows that they left behind. One thing that’s particularly worth looking into is the lava tunnels on Santa Cruz Island. It’s one of those rare places in the world where just standing there will fill you with a sense of perspective.

    7. Do some water sports

    We’ve already touched upon diving and snorkeling, but those aren’t the only water-based options that are available to you. For example, why not have a go at sea kayaking? You don’t need previous experience to be able to pick it up, as long as you go with a qualified instructor, and you can also go swimming or surfing if that’s more to your liking. You can hire pangas and dinghies, too.

    8. Go shopping

    We told you that you’d want to save some space in your luggage so that you could take a few goodies back with you! One of the best things about shopping in the Galapagos Islands is that you’re much more likely to find independent craftspeople and small, family-owned businesses, than you are to find huge multinational companies.

    9. Engage a local tour guide

    Hiring a local tour guide is a fantastic way to get a true look at what life is like on the Galapagos Islands. They’ll be able to take you to the tourist hotspots if you want them to, but they’ll also be able to take you off the beaten path and to the places that most visitors to the islands never get to experience.

    Conclusion

    Now that you know just a few of the things you might want to do during your trip to the Galapagos Islands, you’re ready to start planning your visit. You’ll want to be sure that your passports are all in order and to book as much as you can, as early as you can, to make sure that you take advantage of any savings that are on offer for booking up front. Happy travels!