Galapagos: Odds & Ends – Dec 4th-14th

Like Belize, we thought we would note some items of interest regarding the Galapagos Islands that didn’t make it into the previous blog posts:
• The Galápagos Islands are a national park. They are comprised of 13 islands, 45,000 km² of ocean, and are 960 km from the Ecuador mainland.

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• 97% of the Galapagos Islands are protected as national park land. Much effort in terms of education and research is dedicated to the preservation of the archipelago.

• Many residents are employed by the Galapagos National Park and youth education is emphasized.

• Flight attendants spray disinfectant in the airplanes’ overhead bins 15 minutes before landing. Passengers disembarking at the airport are required to walk across a disinfectant mat. This is an attempt to prevent foreign organisms from entering the national park.

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Disinfectant spray prior to landing

• Documents and travel maps state that you must have a naturalist guide in order to visit the Galapagos National Park. They also state that a travel agency must arrange this for you. This, however, is just not true.

• There are no international flights to the Galapagos islands.

• The currency is the US dollar and almost everything is paid for in cash. This includes hotels, restaurants, excursions, cruises booked from the islands… Some places do accept visa but you are charged an additional 24%. Many people, both locals and tourists, are carrying around thousands of dollars in cash, but there doesn’t seem to be any crime or concern about crime.

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Trying to get enough cash for our cruise.

• In the highlands of Santa Cruz, giant tortoises are found wandering freely in their natural habitat. Cool!

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• Sea lions really are lazing about on the park benches. We saw this on the islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, and Isabella. These are the only three islands that have park benches as they are the only three inhabited islands other than Floreana which has a population of 150.

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• Bikes are adapted to carry an extra small passenger. Even bicycles adapt!

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• Streets of Puerto Ayora are lined with storefronts selling tours and cruises. There are hundreds!

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• Last minute cruises can be purchased from these storefronts. We decided on a four-day luxury yacht and paid 35% of what other passengers paid.

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• Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin research station, but this is the only island of the 13 that Charles Darwin did not go ashore.

• The Galapagos Islands/Galapagos National Park is so large with most of it isolated. Without a doubt, one leaves feeling there is so much more to explore. We certainly did our best to see as much as possible in the 10 days we were there… and we certainly have the pictures and video footage to prove it… and we only kept the best!

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One thought on “Galapagos: Odds & Ends – Dec 4th-14th

  1. That’s a pretty fancy boat! Ahhhhh… the life of the rich!

    The photo of all the money on the bed looks a bit like you are some kind of “criminals”.

    Cameron and I were at the same place in the highlands. A really nice guy took us in his taxi up there for a private tour. He was really knowledgeable and we were the only people there at the time so it was awesome. The tortoises were a high point for me.

    Like

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