Town & Country Travel Blog

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Gaga for the Galapagos

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By Heidi Creed

Few destinations so seamlessly combine relaxation, education and adventure  all in one trip the way the Galapagos Islands do. I recently had the pleasure of experiencing them with Silversea Cruises on their Silver Galapagos expedition ship.  In my opinion, the cruise experience seems to be the best possible way to experience the variety inherent to the destination, and Silversea does a first class job.

Let’s get the quick facts out of the way for perspective:

  • The Galapagos archipelago is made up of 61 islands and islets with 13 main islands, and roughly 25,000 residents inhabit only five islands
  • The islands are located about 600 miles from mainland Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, isolated near the equator.
  • The number of visitors allowed into the Galapagos National Park per year is restricted, and you must travel with a licensed guide.
  • Its claim to fame is Charles Darwin and modern evolutionary theory (if you’re into that stuff)
  • Whatever your age, profession or academic background, a visit here is a chance for some really cool wildlife encounters coupled with fascinating geological formations
  • Yes, you fly there and land at a real airport in Baltra on Isla Baltra islandimg_6227

 

What do you do in the Galapagos Islands?

Every island has its own unique ecology so your daily activities and sightings will depend on which island(s) you are visiting.  With Silversea we visited two islands each day; in the morning you might go for an easy to moderate hike or zodiac (small motorboat) tour then return to the ship for lunch while cruising to the next island where maybe a beach visit, kayak or snorkel excursion is offered.  All the while your well-educated naturalist guides will educate you on the geology and wildlife, making it a completely enriching experience.

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Is it strenuous? 

Guests always have options and the activities aren’t strenuous, however don’t count on a sleep-in or lounge around holiday.  It is a full immersion experience and the only way to make the most of it is to be able to get out there and do it!

When does the relaxing happen?

With views and pristine beaches like this…

…And meals like this, for example.  (But you don’t have to be a carnivore to enjoy a great meal aboard this ship!)…

Dinner on hot rocks at The Grill

Surf & turf dinner cooked at your table on sizzling hot rocks at The Grill restaurant al fresco dining – Silver Galapagos

 

…relaxing and enjoying is part of the full Galapagos experience!

What kind of wildlife will I see?

One of the most appealing things about the Galapagos is the close wildlife encounters a traveler experiences.  One might swim with sea turtles, sea lions and penguins (which we got to experience all of them almost as if they were on parade on one particular outing), walk right along side gigantic land tortoises, and see an array of birds that are found no where else.  Because not all species are found at all islands, cruising is a particularly good way to experience the diversity. You might find sea turtles or penguins at one island, flightless cormorants, albatross or flamingos at another.  Sea lions are abundant, and always fun!

 

 

When is the best time of year to go?

Since the Galapagos Islands are equatorial, the temperature doesn’t change too much and there really isn’t a “bad” time to go.  The peak season is from mid-June to mid-September when the temperature is most moderate.

What do I pack?

Think active meets beach, and don’t expect to look fashionable and glamorous on this trip.  You’ll want to bring light layers, including a windbreaker for the zodiac rides.  Lightweight trekking pants will come in handy, and water shoes such as Teva’s are essential for the occasional wet beach landing.

Who is this type of trip for?

  • Those looking for a multi-generation trip:  There is something for everyone to enjoy together on a trip to the Galapogos, as it is one destination where exploring, learning, and relaxing can co-exist in one vacation.
  • Photography:  Even amateurs will capture frame-worthy landscape and wildlife photos
  • Biologists and Geologists:  Between theories of evolution and stunning volcanic creations, those textbooks will finally come to life in this naturalist’s playground
  • Bucket list experience collectors:  Need we say more?

 

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In closing, how cute is this playful sea lion we hung out with while kayaking in a lagoon one morning?

 

We would love the opportunity to help you plan your dream trip to the Galapagos Islands.  The trip can certainly stand on its own, or it can pair nicely with Ecuador mainland and/or Peru extensions.  Please contact us at Town & Country Travel for more information: (805) 495-9888 or submit the form below and we will contact you.

 

3 comments on “Gaga for the Galapagos

  1. Georgia
    October 20, 2016

    Hi Heidi,
    Fantastic blog! We’d love to use it on our Silversea website. Please could you send me an email to discuss this further?

    Like

  2. townandcountrytravel
    October 20, 2016

    Hi Georgia,
    Thank you for the great feedback. I will email you to discuss further. Thanks!
    Heidi

    Like

  3. Luther creed
    October 21, 2016

    Glad you had a great time. On our bucket list. The bucket is getting closer!

    Like

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