Backpacking the Galapagos can be done
Backpacking the Galapagos is a must do especially for all the backpackers traveling through the Americas.
Many people ask me “How did you plan your trip to the Galapagos”. Everyone that I meet either wants to go to the Galapagos or is about to go and they have a ton of questions.
So I decided to write a blog about if for all of you out there about to start your adventure. The Galapagos was definitely one of the more challenging destinations that I’ve been to in order to plan ahead for. The next question that always seems to follow is “How much did you spend”.
I’ve traveled to many countries and like I had said this was one of the more difficult locations to figure out. When I travel to different countries I had seen something that had sparked an interest that I got excited about. Cambodia for instance, Angkor Watt. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful. I had to go. So I looked in tourist books and got an idea of the location and then researched what lies around it to see. All types of ruins all around it and in my opinion the further out into the jungle the better the ruins of other temples get. Also less people. Anyhow everything is closely located to the site that interested me and I can spend a few days there. I hire a drive for three days and I’m off. I find it cheaper to get around this way and by the end you’ve made a great friend.
but the Galapagos is different, each island is like a different country to me. Each one has several sites that are interesting and unique. The terrain in the Galapagos can change so drastically in a 15 minute drive. Beaches, diverse ocean landscapes, cliffs, lava tunnels, deserts, forests, lakes, mountains, volcanos, and caves, etc. On top of wanting to see landscapes there are all the amazing wildlife that is a must to sea, giant turtles, blue footed boobies, sea lions and penguins and more. Then you have the what’s in the sea, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, white tipped sharks, sea horses, whale sharks, etc.
So planning a trip and making sure that you get to see everything that you want is quite hard.
So do you take a cruise or backpack the Galapagos. Another hard decision to make because there are many things that you can’t do on a boat or cruise, but then again there’s a lot of places you can’t see on day trips that only a cruise can.
I was torn for months on what to do. Err I could wait to just get to the Galapagos because I felt all the research that I did just made me less sure of my plans.
We all have different ideas of what the Galapagos is to us and what we want to take from it.
I started with going to Barnes and Noble pretending to get work done but was to excited would do research for hours. There where only two books that I could find and at first I just looked at all the pretty pictures. This give me an idea to figure out all the places that I wanted to see and of course there were spread throughout all the different islands and in various spots of each island. I didn’t have an understanding of how to get to each one of the shit and figured I can just get there I’ll by a car or on tours. But I found out that only certain Cruises went to certain areas. The longer the cruise the better chance that you have at seeing more these places however the cruise ships go to all these little tiny islands and I noticed that They really avoid the mainland. The shorter cruises that were about three days long started around $1000 online and the longer cruises for seven days for about $3000- $4000 $USD. I’ve noticed online that everybody says that when she gets to the Galapagos that you can negotiate last minute deals. Err, well you don’t want to pay for something more expensive online if you know you can get a better deal so this became frustrating.
If you’re on a budget as much backpackers are because you’re traveling so many different countries all at once and they know that the Galapagos is a more expensive destination and possibly the most expensive then this is a crucial part.
After arriving at the Galapagos I realized this is a backpackers dream. I’ve read other sly comments that if you don’t have the money to do it right then you shouldn’t bother coming and save it for a later time. I totally disagree. First of all there are so many backpackers here. This is a place where backpackers can go and have an extraordinary time.
So what did I do and how did I plain it. That’s the question.
I picked out all the places I wanted to see I drew it all out on a map. I’m a person who likes to hike, swim and photograph my experiences. After picking all the destinations that I wanted to see I realize that the majority of the stuff that I wanted to do was on Isabella Island. I had to hike Volcano Sierra Negra, I wanted to walk around the rim which this volcanoes the second largest in the world. I knew that I wanted to explore Lava tunnels, see Penguins seals and blue footed boobies and a hammerhead shark. So I now had goals.
I looked in the several cruises but none of them would take me to Isabella. Isabella was the island that had a majority of the things that I wanted to do. I also wanted to go to Florena in order to see the post office. After doing many hours of research I came to the conclusion that that was not possible. It seems easy enough however you could only see the post office if you are on a cruise. D tours do not go there and if you’re on the island you do not have access to get there. I did read that they are trying to develop a tour but at the time that I went it was not provided.
I also found out that on Isabella you can’t get from one end of the island to the other with a car there are no roads. The volcano that I wanted to see has a road going to it from the only city on Isabella which is more like a town.
So knowing this I decided to pick up day tours on Santa Cruz and Isabella. The problem lied and the information that I was getting online.
I looked up snorkeling tours which started around $95-$100 online
Scuba diving tours $199 and up
And I couldn’t find any other day tours our other local things to do on the island.
I even downloaded some apps for Ecuador and Galapagos. I thought this was great because I finally found some tors on there however after inquiring on about 8 to 10 of them I never received any response. I’m guessing the apps are not linked and working.
I found out where the best places to scuba dive for and locations of the best snorkeling trips. I try to book online but after research everyone said to wait to you arrive on the island to get last minute deals. So I did this because when I try to book scuba diving trip there a 1 inch $220 and I knew it should be cheaper than that.
I’m a fan of having a place to stay when I get there so I Book 2 nights on Santa Cruz I’ll get to that experience later and it also booked three nights on Isabella. The other seven days I left open. If you arrive and look for hostels or hotels when you get here you can definitely barking and get better deals. I seen hostels as low as $10 a night per person. My girlfriend is Bouji and had to have AC which I would never complain against. I highly recommend it is awfully hot here. The first night when we arrived we booked online for $35 a night because we wanted a single room with our own bathroom and a double bed. But like I said when you are backpacking and you don’t mind staying in a dorm style room you can find a place for $10.
Once I got to the Galapagos everything changed. I was able to finally put everything together. Im going to break it down into each Island. Continue reading: