I did it, I went to the Galapagos islands.
After hearing nothing but positive raves about this unique destination, I decided to do more research and began to fall in love. So I made it happen. Despite not being a huge wildlife lover, the Galapagos boasted an array of stunning beaches, incredible landscapes and activities which would be heaven for someone such as myself. I booked my flight for $222 return from Quito (I met people who bought it for $170, even $150 return on the same dates as myself) and knew it was definitely happening.
Honestly, it is one of the most beautiful destinations I have ever had the privilege of visiting. It’s such a must-see destination for everyone, from avid nature lovers to laidback beach babes, it can fulfill your holiday destination dreams. It has stunning, dreamlike, white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, vibrant lush greenery, a myriad of wildlife, topped off with beautiful weather and clear skies – sounds like paradise, right? It was.
On Saturday (the day I arrived) , I booked a next-day day trip to Santa Fe island which included a stop at Playa Escondida (pictured below) and snorkelling around Santa Fe island. I loved it, it was my second time snorkelling after my first experience on Isla de La Plata aka Poor Man’s Galapagos (read about this getaway here). Despite snorkelling, for me, the highlight was chilling on the yacht at the end of the day and falling asleep with the warm sun on my back whilst being cooled down by the sea breeze, it was bliss.
Further Reading: Weekend in Puerto Lopez (Poor Man’s Galapagos)
Highlights from Santa Cruz island:
Santa Cruz, specifically Puerto Ayora, is the main hub for visitors to the Galapagos islands as it has the largest port village and it has daily ferries to all other accessible islands.
I stayed on Santa Cruz for 7 days in total, although I went to Isabela in the middle of my trip then returned to Santa Cruz for the last few days. I stayed at (Galapagos Best Homestay), a hostel a 15 minute walk away from the main port in Puerto Ayora, the main village town of Santa Cruz island and the largest on all of the Galapagos islands. It cost $17 per night (for a 3 bed female dorm), had cooking facilities, helpful hosts, hot water (scorching at times!) and good wifi connection.
Highlights from Isabela Island:
I stayed on Isabela island for 3 days. Whilst on Isabela, I had the privilege of relaxing on the famously, long (6km), gorgeous beach, saw many sea lions, did a short hike to Muro de Lagrimas, went to a tortoise reserve and, most importantly, embraced the island vibe.
Reflecting on it now, I wished I spent longer on Isabela as it is the largest island and hence it has so much to see, although I am super grateful for what I did see on that stunning island. I stayed at (Posada del Caminante), a hostel located close to the Puerto Villamil, the small port village where all ferries arrive. It cost $15 per night (for a 4 bed female dorm) , had cooking facilities, friendly hosts, hot water and good wifi connection.
As you’ll see from the photos below, double carbs (rice & chips) in a single meal are standard here on the Galapagos islands and also in mainland Ecuador, so you can always be sure you’ll be completely stuffed after a meal, you definitely get your money’s worth. On average, each ‘dinner’ meal was around $13. A combination of cooking at the hostel and eating out in the evenings worked well for me and I would recommend it if you would like go do the Galapagos on a budget.
Here is a very useful blogpost full of tips for organizing a budget-friendly trip to the Galapagos Islands which gave me ideas of activities to do whilst I was there:
I am so so grateful for this trip and even more excited to travel this summer in South and Central America, especially as I recently found out that there’s a desert in Colombia (Tatacoa desert) and the deepest canyon in the world is in Peru, Cola Canyon, even deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona! So many more exciting adventures ahead which I am so excited to share and document, so keep an eye out!
All my love,