Galápagos Islands (Shutterstock)
Advice 04 December

10 essential tips you need to know before visiting the Galápagos Islands as chosen by you

We asked for your top tips for travelling to one of the world’s greatest lands for wildlife and you certainly delivered! Take a read of your need-to know-advice, including visiting on a budget...

1: Take a diving course before you go

Learn to dive before you arrive (Shutterstock)

Learn to dive before you arrive (Shutterstock)

"Take a diving course before you go so you don't miss out on the marine life while you're there. That way you'll be able to maximise your time on the islands rather than learn stuff that can be learnt at home."

– Mariella Sammut

2: Pack plenty of memory cards

Photographing iguanas on the Galápagos Islands (Shutterstock)

Photographing iguanas on the Galápagos Islands (Shutterstock)

"The Galápagos are a photographers dream, so make sure you take lots of memory cards for your camera. It’s also worth buying a cheap or second hand waterproof camera to get pictures of the sea lions and fish underwater."

– Sheila Sharp

3: Opt for a small ship cruise...

Skip queuing to get onto the islands, by opting for a small cruise tour (Shutterstock)

Skip queuing to get onto the islands, by opting for a small cruise tour (Shutterstock)

"We did our homework to make sure we saw the best places to visit by going in a small group of six couples and visiting the Galápagos Islands in a small cruiser with a local guide and crew. This meant we could get in close to the islands and see sunrise on them before anybody else. Magical!"

 – Paul Townson

4: ... or book a boat trip the day before for half the price

Visit Guayaquil to hop on board a last-minute cruise (Shutterstock)

Visit Guayaquil to hop on board a last-minute cruise (Shutterstock)

"You can get cheap last minute spaces on a boat in Guayaquil. We paid around half the full price by just turning up and booking onto a boat that left the next day."

– Michelle Sutton

5: Boobies will be in abundance

Blue-footed booby (Shutterstock)

Blue-footed booby (Shutterstock)

"It's the one place in the world you could wear an 'I love boobies' t-shirt and not be stared at in askance. Seriously though, the wildlife on the island is spectacular and my favourite picks are the blue-footed boobies, the penguins and scuba diving with large turtles. There's a chance to spot hammerhead sharks as well."

– Mingyu Lin

6: Pack sturdy footwear and plenty of sun cream

Sturdy sandals are a must (Shutterstock)

Sturdy sandals are a must (Shutterstock)

"A pair of open-toed sturdy sandals and a pair of robust tennis shoes are a must! Be prepared for walking and balancing on volcanic rock – the point of the vacation is to be somewhere where there are no sidewalks or escalators. The intensity of the sun cannot be overemphasised and you cannot wear enough sunscreen. I snorkelled mostly in long-sleeved tee-shirts and scrub pants for sufficient protection."

– Stefan Ingram

7: Take it slow and keep your eyes peeled

Iguana (Shutterstock)

Iguana (Shutterstock)

"Darwin called them 'imps of darkness' and described them as ‘disgusting’ and ‘clumsy’, but marine iguanas are amazing creatures. Their colour varies depending on their subspecies and the time of year. Tortuga Bay is a great place to spot marine iguanas. If you're lucky, you can observe them being cleaned of ticks by brightly-coloured crabs in an amazing example of natural symbiosis. You might also see lava lizards running over the iguanas in their hunt for insects to eat. It's just incredible to see so many diverse animals living together.

One crucial tip for the Galápagos Islands is to look out for reduced speed limits if you're driving to protect all these amazing creatures."

– Leah Holroyd

8: Get active on an island-hopping adventure

Hike your way to the best viewpoints on the Galápagos Islands (Shutterstock)

Hike your way to the best viewpoints on the Galápagos Islands (Shutterstock)

"I stayed for a week on Santa Cruz Island visiting some beautiful secluded beaches – Playa El Garrapatero was stunning. I'd recommend walking down to Puerto Ayora to watch the sea lions lounging about at the fish market and on the pier.

I decided to take the plunge and booked a last-minute boat to tour the eastern islands for eight nights and it was the best decision I have ever made. Each day was jam-packed seeing a different island by hiking, kayaking, snorkelling and taking dinghy rides to see the wildlife up-close in their natural habitat.

I saw red/blue-footed boobies, the waved albatross, frigate birds, land iguanas, sea lions, rays, white-tipped sharks and more. Touring around the islands in this way was an absolute highlight and was 100% worth the money."

– Jennifer Hammond

9: You can explore the Galápagos on a budget

Enquire at information centres (Shutterstock)

Enquire at information centres (Shutterstock)

"You don’t need to go on a cruise to Galápagos. Fly from Quito or Guayaquil to Santa Rosa. From there, there are lots of day trips going to different islands.

You can stay at a cheap hostel or in a local guesthouse. The owner where I stayed had an ex-partner who was a birder and I managed to go out for the day spotting these amazing birds."

– Anne Dickinson

10: Prepare to be amazed

Seal of the Galápagos Islands (Shutterstock)

Seal of the Galápagos Islands (Shutterstock)

“Ecuador is full of different landscapes and climates. The real treasure is the Galápagos. Words cannot describe how awed I was to see such an abundance of life in paradise. So, come prepared: bring your hiking boots, history books, and don’t forget your swimsuit."

– Fatema Lookmanjee