Where are the Galapagos Islands? What’s the Best Way to Get Around this Ecuadorian National Park During Your Next Vacation?
Considering a trip to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands? Great idea.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site will impress your senses at every turn. Its 19 islands and over 120 islets are rich in geographic and cultural history. Not to mention, its beaches are stunning.
But let’s start with the basics.
First, where are the Galapagos Islands?
The islands are a part of the South American country, Ecuador. They are located about 1,000km off the country’s mainland coast along the equator in the vast Pacific Ocean.
To get to the islands you must fly out of either Ecuador’s most populated city, Guayaquil, or capital, Quito. If you’re flying from Quito you’ll still have a quick Guayaquil layover.
Several carries can get you to Galapagos, including Ecuador’s national airline TAME, or LAN. Round trip tickets range from $150.00 to $550.00 per person round trip depending on the time of year and how far in advance you book.
You’ll arrive at the archipelago’s main airport on Baltra Island. The Galapagos Islands were designated a national park in 1959, so if you don’t have Ecuadorian citizenship you’ll pay a $100.00 park entrance fee before leaving the airport. Your Latin Tour guide, or taxi if you’re traveling independently, will pick you up at the airport and drive you to nearby Santa Cruz Island, the most populated of all the islands.
This takes us to our second point – now that you’re surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Galapagos, how do you get around?
From Santa Cruz you can travel back and forth to the 3 other inhabited islands – San Cristobal, Isabela and Floreana – on a ferry that leaves once in the early morning and once in the afternoon. A one-way ride between Santa Cruz and each of the other islands takes about 2 hours and costs approximately $30. Ground taxis are available on these main islands.
You can hire a boat to take you from Santa Cruz to a handful of other uninhabited islands, such as Seymour and Bartolome, and a 5-seater prop plane can fly you to San Cristobal for about $150 each way.
Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands National Park is over 7 million hectares, surrounding by an expansive 133,000km2 marine reserve, making it one of the world’s largest marine reserves.
In order to protect its endemic sea and land life, most of the park’s 127 islets and their particular ports are accessible only by all-inclusive cruises.
Let Latin Trails take you in luxury to the park’s most out of the way islands and islets that even the most seasoned and determined independent traveler can’t get to. Whether you chose one of our 3 or 11-day tours, Latin Trails will save you time, money and hassle.
What makes us distinct is that we offer an array of cruise options and cabins to fit your needs. We can take you on a 3-day guided tour, which includes the Punta Suarez high cliffs on the southernmost island of Espanola, or on a Latin Trails exclusive 5-day luxury snorkeling tour around San Cristobal.
If you only have a day, we can whisk you away in luxury to Pitt Point, one of the few places in Galapagos to witness the three species of boobies.
Independent travel in the Galapagos Islands National Park is doable, but it takes time and a good deal of coordinating. Given that the islands are a national park, it’s simply impossible to get to certain (and spectacular) ports solo.
So, where are the Galapagos Islands? On your ‘next vacation’ list.
You can check out this amazing itinerary to know more about the places you can visit on a short cruise journey here