Fantasy Vacation: Galapagos Islands

Let’s go see some boobies! No, not those kinds of boobies – these kinds of boobies:

Blue footed boobies!

Yep, for the dream trip, I’m putting together ideas for the Galapagos Island! First a few factoids.

The islands have a population of slightly over 25,000, way more than I would have guessed.  This mostly consists of Mestizos operating tours (population significantly increased in the 1980s).  There is a pirate-y history to the islands as well. The islands were originally named after associates of buchaneer Ambrose Cowley, who first charted the islands. They have now been given Spanish names by the Ecuadorean government who owns the islands. The Galapagos Archipelago consists of 15 main islands, 3 small islands, and 107 rocks and islets. Some are still forming, others are slowly disappearing as the archipeligo sits on top of a hotspot. There are two airports serving the islands: one on Balta, the other on San Cristobel.

We can pretend to be Dr. Stephen Maturin and little Blakeney scavanging for Darwin's finches! How grand!

Since this is the first fantasy-vacation, I’ll let you know in advance that I firmly believe vacations should last at least 10 days, if not more. The ideal vacation is 3 weeks – long enough that you really get to relax, but just at the point where you’re getting homesick. Thus, trips will be 14 days standard. I’ve also included  bit of Ecuador in this trip, because, hello colonial architecture 🙂

My itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Ecuador, check out Old Town, Parque Alameda, and the Monestary of San Francisco. Fancy dinner with wine and seafood, overnight at Casa Gangotena.

Day 2 – 11: morning flight to Guayaquil, from where we begin an amazing 10-day tour with National Geographic. Highlights include:

  • swimming with penguins on Isla Bartolome
  • a visit with “Lonesome George”, the last surviving Pinta Island tortoise, at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Isla Santa Cruz
  • snorkel with sea lions on Isla Floreana, and visit Post Office Bay
  • so much animal observation I cannot catalogue it all.

Day 12: Take an $8 bus to the colonial city of Cuenca, another UNESCO heritage site. Stay overnight at the Hotel Santa Lucia.

Day 13: Fly back to Quito, stay overnight again at Casa Gangotena.

Day 14: Fly home.

If National Geographic is out of your reach (it is pretty steeply priced!), Galapagos offers lots of other adventure tours and land-based tour options as well.  If you’re a sailor (*cough*brotherinlaw*cough*), you can charter a boat for 8 days for up to 10 passangers for around $2225 per person (not including airfare and some incidentals of course).  If you’re h2o-inclined, you can take a diving tour with Galapagos Underwater (looks sketchy, but highly rated from Trip Advisor). Other options can be found by contacting Galapagos Alternative, who can help make a more DIY trip more hassle-free.
Here are some more photos to make you swoon. I was swooning putting it together!

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-W-
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One Comment to “Fantasy Vacation: Galapagos Islands”

  1. I’m ready to go..let’s go…are you ready? come on! let’s do this!..wait, who’ll watch the dogs?

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