Galápagos - common misconceptions and the facts

Posted by Marianne Salmans

“For many, the Galápagos Archipelago is a dream destination and often a once in a lifetime journey. Make sure it will be the experience of a lifetime!”

There are some misconceptions about the Galápagos Archipelago that you probably have heard before. We have highlighted the three most common ones.

The Galápagos Archipelago is remote and difficult to reach.

Located approximately 1,000 kilometers from the coast of Ecuador, it certainly is remote. Thanks to this isolation, flora and fauna have developed over the course of millions of years that cannot be found anywhere else on earth.

Nowadays it is no longer difficult to reach. From Amsterdam, Paris and Madrid you fly directly to Quito or Guayaquil in approximately 12 hours. There are daily flights from these cities to two different airports in the Archipelago, a flight of approximately 2 hours.

The number of visitors is limited by the Ecuadorian government and therefore it is difficult to gain access.

It is not the case that the Ecuadorian government allows a limited number of entrances. What does regulate the number of visitors are the number of available cruise ships and hotel rooms.

In the Galápagos Islands, around 65 ships are licensed to carry out expedition cruises. The majority of ships has a capacity of 16 passengers and only a few the maximum permitted number of 100 guests. New licenses are not issued, which means that the number of visitors traveling on an expedition cruise has been stable for years. The other limitation is that hotels may offer a maximum of 35 rooms. Nevertheless, the number of travelers visiting the Archipelago with an overnight stay in hotels has risen explosively in recent years and the government of Ecuador is currently seeking ways to limit this type of tourism.

Planning your Galápagos adventure well in advance is wise, if not necessary. The most beautiful ships and locations on the islands are certainly fully booked quickly in high season. Would you like to book a last-minute trip? Contact Aves Travels. Our extensive network on the Galápagos Islands often offers opportunities to still put together a great and responsible holiday.

Galapagos Islands is an expensive destination

Admittedly so, the Galápagos Archipelago is not a budget destination. There are blogs and providers who want to make you believe that you can have a great vacation for €1,500 or less. If anywhere the adage applies “you get what you pay for” then that is here.

Budget journeys for that amount are often 4 days or less, the first and last day of which is spent traveling to the destination. The accommodation offered is in a small place and you visit publicly accessible sites. With perhaps one or two boat trips to an island nearby, your “adventure” is over. Remember that you are visiting an important, protected nature area. This type of “backpack tourism” puts enormous pressure on the conservation of the islands and its unique wildlife. For most people, the Galápagos Archipelago is a dream destination and often a once in a lifetime journey. Make sure it will be the experience of a lifetime and travel responsibly!

Our advice is to go on a cruise of at least 8 days. Only then will you experience the serenity, diversity and adventure of this unique place on earth. The ships meet the strictest environmental requirements. Expedition cruises are for the most part all-inclusive: overnight stays in your own cabin, all excellent meals and snacks, activities, snorkeling equipment, the best guides, transfers between airport and ship with a crew that is ready for you day and night.

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