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Preguntas Frecuentes

In this section you have answers to the most frequently asked questions for your trip to the Galapagos

You may have heard that people visit the Galapagos Islands, but do you know where they go? The Galapagos Islands or the Colón Archipelago, is a Province of Ecuador, located 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west of the Ecuadorian coast. It depends directly on Ecuador.

Both Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands have been officially «dollarized.» US dollars and traveler’s checks are accepted on the islands. The most commonly accepted credit cards are MasterCard and Visa, while American Express is rarely used.

The only bank that operates on the islands is El Banco del Pacifico.
The Pacific Bank in Puerto Ayora:
This bank can change your traveler’s checks with a 5% commission (it doesn’t make sense, we know!) The bank is open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. . Personal checks are not accepted.

Yes there are ATMs and they work 24 hours.

It is possible to take your children to visit the Galapagos Islands if you wish. Most cruise ships accept children and even offer reduced fares for them. Children require additional supervision during excursions on the islands and in the water. Some ships have restrictions for children and others organize special family outings for families with children.

The islands are located on the equator, so the weather is hot most of the year. From June to December it is the coldest and driest season. January through May is the warmest season with the most rain.

The boats use 110-volt/60-cycle current, with standard North American electrical outlets, as do all hotels in the Galapagos. In the yachts there is also usually 220 V. 60 Hz.

Everyone must pay a fee of US$100 to enter the Galapagos Islands, even students. The only discounts are granted to members of the Andean Community (Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia) who have to pay a 50 dollar fee.

The entrance fee to the park is distributed as follows: 40% for the Galapagos National Park; 20% for the municipalities of Galapagos; 10% for the Government of the Province of Galapagos; 10% for the Galapagos National Institute (INGALA); 5% for the Galapagos Marine Reserve; 5% for the Inspection and Quarantine System of the Province of Galapagos; 5% for INEFAN (National Park Services); 5% for the National Army. In short, these fees are earmarked for the protection and preservation of the islands.

Check with the local embassy or consulate whether or not you need a visa to enter Ecuador. The passport is essential, so make sure you have all your papers in order before traveling. It is advisable to photocopy all important documents (passport, travel insurance, credit cards, etc.) and keep the copies in a safe place, separate from the originals.

To enter Ecuador you only need a valid passport, citizens of the US, Canada and most European countries do not need a visa unless they intend to stay for more than 90 days. Check with local immigration authorities or the Ecuadorian consulate before sailing to determine whether or not a visa is required. Your return plane ticket from the islands will also be necessary.

There are 19 islands in total, there are thirteen major islands with a surface area greater than 10 km2: Isabela, Santa Cruz, Fernandina, San Salvador (Santiago), San Cristóbal, Floreana (Santa María), Marchena, Española, Pinta, Baltra, Santa Fé , Pinzón and Genovesa. Also, there are 6 smaller islands with a surface between 1 and 10 km2: Rábida, North Seymour, Wolf, Tortuga, Bartolomé and Darwin. In addition, there are 107 islets and rocks, not all of them with names.

The largest island is Isabela with 4,588 km2.

There are 10 volcanoes in the archipelago

Wolf (1,707m) – Isabela.

Cerro Azul (1,640m) – Isabela.

Darwin Volcano (1,326m) – Isabela.

Alcedo (1,128m) – Isabela.

Sierra Negra (1,124m) – Isabela.

Ecuador (808m) – Isabela.

Santiago (909m) – Santiago.

La Cumbre (Fernandina volcano, 1476m) – Fernandina.

Marchena (343.5m) – Marchena.

Pinta (777m)- Pinta

The islands have about 25,000 inhabitants. The inhabited islands are San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Floreana, Isabela, Baltra.

The capital is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristóbal Island. It has 6672 inhabitants.

They were discovered by chance on March 10, 1535 by the Bishop of Panama Fray Tomás de Berlanga. He was sailing from Panama to Peru to settle disputes between Diego de Almagro and Francisco Pizarro when his ship lost its way.

In 1978 it was declared a natural heritage of humanity. In 2001 the marine reserve was also declared a World Heritage Site. The marine reserve has 133,000 km2 where about 3,500 species live.

The name «enchanted islands» appears for the first time on a map from 1589. The name refers to the mists around the islands and the ocean currents that prevented navigation to the archipelago at certain times. Today they are called that because of their spectacular flora and fauna.

«Galapago» means tortoise. The archipelago is known for its giant tortoise species.

In total there are 176 tourist places to visit:
85 you can visit via land, they are terrestrial places.
91 can be visited by boat, maritime places.
Tourist places are for example:
Charles Darwin Scientific Station in Santa Cruz: station for biological research and giant tortoise hatchery.
Tortuga Bay in Santa Cruz: sea turtles nest here. You can see marine iguanas and sea lions, among others.
Ranchos de Santa Cruz: observe giant tortoises.
Cerro Dragón (Santa Cruz): observe marine iguanas.
Los Túneles in Isabela: place to dive.
Wall of Tears (Isabela): wall built by prisoners.
Tagus Cove (Isabela): it was a pirate refuge, you can see
penguins and other birds.
Sleeping Lion in San Cristóbal: place to dive.
La Lobería in San Cristóbal: observe sea lions.
North Seymour Island Trail: observe birds and iguanas.
La Escalera Natural Viewpoint in Bartolomé: snorkeling, observing
Gardner Bay in Española: diving, sea lions, sea turtles.
Punta Espinoza in Fernandina: snorkeling, watching sea turtles, manta rays, marine iguanas.
Sullivan Bay in Santiago: important for geological researchers.
Puerto Egas – James Bay: snorkeling, diving.
Devil’s Crown in Floreana: diving, see dolphins and sharks.
Post Office (Mail Bay) in Floreana: place used by whale hunters to send letters to their families.

It is a unique place where you can observe the evolution and change of species to adapt to specific habitats. Because they are very isolated and have less biodiversity than larger islands or continents, evolution can be better observed because there is a greater need to adapt.

It is because there are endemic species that do not exist in other parts of the world. Many of these are species that arrived from other parts of South America and had to adapt to their new habitats. In addition, 95 percent of the archipelago’s biodiversity is native.

There are flights from Quito and Guayaquil to Baltra (Seymour Airport) and San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Airport in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno).

Be knowledgeable about wildlife such as Sea Lions, Sharks and more.
Have enough protection from the sun.
Please be guided and keep safety in mind when swimming, snorkeling.
Stay hydrated and minimize alcohol consumption.
Get travel insurance that covers emergencies before you travel as there are limited medical facilities on the Galapagos Island.
Strictly adhere to the guidelines and regulations set forth by local authorities.

Galapagos is known for having incredible places to visit, each corner of this archipelago has something special to show you. However, these are the most popular places that you should not miss during your trip to the Galapagos.

Santa Cruz is an excellent starting point for visiting the Galapagos. On the island you can see huge turtles in their natural habitat in one of the farms in the mountains like Rancho Manzanillo, without forgetting the beautiful beaches of Bahía Tortuga, Bachas and Garrapatero.

North Seymour is the best island to see blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds.

Bartholomew is popular for its Pinnacle Rock and its beautiful scenery.

Fernandina is one of the most remote islands in the Galapagos, where you can find species that are not found on other islands, such as the flightless cormorant.

Floreana is known primarily for its 19th-century Post Office Bay, still in operation.

There are some other activities that you can find and do in the Galapagos Islands ranging from climbing, diving, snorkeling, hiking in the mountains, swimming.