The Galápagos Islands are a truly unique place on Earth. Charles Darwin studied varied and unique species there to develop his theories. Their location and features have made them a cent point for many tumultuous periods in human history, including becoming a haven for pirates and a base of operations for U.S forces.
As a tourism spot, it offers a range of unique experiences that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. But to fully enjoy a Galápagos vacation, there are a number of important considerations you’ll want to consider before you travel. Good preparation will help you make the most out of your vacation and do your part to keep the Galápagos pristine for other people to enjoy.
Do lather on the sunscreen! Seriously, do this often. Don’t forget that the equator crosses through the island chain. Protect yourself from the sun, especially if you’re in or near the water. The risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, almost doubles for people with a history of sunburn, and people with darker complexions are just as susceptible to those risks.
Do check health warnings for a list of vaccinations and precautions you should take. Zika is currently noted as a risk in Ecuador and the Galápagos by the CDC. So in addition to keeping your hepatitis vaccines up to date, you’ll want to do a lot of preparation for keeping pesky mosquitos away.
Do check out some educational content! Take some time off the beach to check out educational tours that will help you and your family learn about Charles Darwin’s research, as well as the ecological, geological, and human diversity of the region. The rich history and unique natural circumstances make a trip to the Galápagos Islands an opportunity for unique education experiences.
Don’t get caught without insurance coverage in an emergency. Think about adding temporary travel medical insurance to your travel budget, especially if you’re visiting a remote location like the Galápagos. If you end up needing complex medical care, you may need to be evacuated by air ambulance. Medical travel can be very pricey, but the right temporary plan could help cover you for a good deal of the costs, if you need to be flown back to your home country for medical treatment.
Don’t touch the animals! Much of the wildlife in the Galápagos is completely unconcerned with human presence, but that doesn’t mean you should bother them. For your own safety and theirs, it’s best to keep your hands away from local creatures.
Don’t travel without tour guides into restricted/conservation areas. A vast majority of the island chain is carefully controlled. In fact, tourism is tracked and limited to keep the ecosystem stable. On that note, pay some extra respect to the flora and fauna. Don’t litter, and don’t take things home with you unless they’re from a gift shop.
There is a lot of historical and natural significance to the islands. It’s a lot to get excited about. But don’t get so carried away that you forget to give your surroundings the reverence and respect they deserve. Enjoy yourself thoroughly, and do your part to make sure that other people can, too!