By Charles Cumella
Q. What makes Galapagos Islands a good travel destination?
Galapagos Islands is an archipelago of 19 islands. It is a spectacular paradise of sight, sound, and activity. Each island offers something special, from plush white sands to exotic birds to deep lava tunnels. It is marvelous.
There’s an other-worldliness about these islands. It’s the unofficial animal kingdom of South America, and its placidity is challenged only by the peculiar call of the blue-footed booby, the screech of a hawk, or the crashing waves as sea lions cut through shimmering azure waters. The Galapagos Islands capture a unique melange of native and modern, and there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Q. Any essentials that one needs to carry when they are travelling to the Galapagos Islands?
Passengers should always carry a camera, sunblock, sunglasses, low boots are always essential while doing the hikes around the islands, and of course, the disposition to explore and have a great time.
Q. Which are the most surreal places to visit when in Galapagos Islands?
The most surreal places to visit on the islands would have to be: • Española Island: This island is located on the south-eastern part of the archipelago. It has an overwhelming amount of wildlife, such as the Waved Albatross and a large group of Galapagos tortoises, which represent a success story for the conservation efforts on the islands. It also has a beautiful coastline lined with amazing cliffs.
• Fernandina Island: One of the newest islands in the archipelago, it is located on the Western side of Isabela. It is also the most volcanically active island and has amazing volcanic landscapes that will impress even the most experienced travellers. This island is also home to a large colony of Galapagos penguin and has a special sub-species of Marine Iguana which does not reside at low elevations.
• Genovesa Island: This one of the Northernmost islands, and is also referred to as the “Bird Island” due to its great variety of bird species, including the Nazca, Red Footed and Blue Footed Boobie, Great Frigatebirds, among others; all in all, a birder’s paradise.
Q. Can you tell us a little about the life of the locals?
Local life on the islands is a relaxing one, human beings always interacting with the wildlife that surrounds them has made up a different dynamic; people and animals coexisting greatly on the archipelago. The lifeblood of the islands, of course, is fishing, this can only be done in specific areas, and the islands have some of the best fresh fish in the world!
Q. What are the local delicacies/drinks which one must try and where in Galapagos Islands?
Galapagos always has a wide array of seafood, fish, lobster, etc. But there is one specific restaurant that uses only local ingredients for their meals, and this is the ANKER restaurant. They like to understand the ecosystem, local community and the products from the island to develop their culinary experience. They invite you to experience and taste Galápagos through their tasting menu.
Q. Where should one go to get the best of the Nightlife in Galapagos Islands?
The best nightlife on the islands must be in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz, It may not be the capital city of the islands (the capital is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal), but it has the highest density of young people and restaurants and bars to accommodate anyone.
Q. What are things which one must buy when in Galapagos Islands?
Like in every city in Ecuador, there are many artisans and they dedicate their lives to making handicrafts and trinkets that will make for great souvenirs. There are also many articles of clothing that will help tell everyone back home that you were on the enchanted islands.
Q. Which is the most romantic places to visit in the Galapagos Islands?
The most romantic spots on the islands are:
• Las Grietas, volcanic crevices formed millions of years ago, that has a beautiful panoramic view of Academy Bay.
• Concha Perla, located on Isabela, it is a beautiful turquoise portion of water where many people do snorkelling, but you can also enjoy a romantic walk through a path surrounded by trees.
• Alemanes beach, located on Santa Cruz, very close to Puerto Ayora. It is a secluded beach that has a beautiful view of the bay at sunset, perfect for picnics.
Q. What are the local festivals which one must visit when in Galapagos Islands?
One of the most frequent events on the Galapagos Islands happens in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. Every Friday at Pelican Bay there is a cultural festival with local food and typical dance shows. Since Galapagos inhabitants are from all over Ecuador, the food, music and dance represent a mixture of the traditions present across the country.
On Sundays, a traditional barbecue is offered at the Guayabillos farm in the Highlands of Santa Cruz. Every local will recommend this place for Sunday’s lunch.
Now, there’s a festival that only happens between the last two weeks of November in Santa Cruz, the Santa Rosa’s Festival in which a local queen is chosen to represent the small town in the Highlands of Santa Cruz. During this festivity, you can find all sorts of local food and also toreros. This election is very important because the selected queen will be competing against the other small town queens of Santa Cruz in February during the island’s queen election that happens during Carnival.
Q. The things guidebooks will not tell anyone about the Galapagos Islands?
Life on the Galapagos is very distinct to anywhere else on the planet, the people there love the islands and are very focused on keeping everything as pristine as possible and live their life as pleasantly as possible.
Q. According to you what is the best thing about the Galapagos Islands?
The best thing on the Galapagos is the rest and relaxation you can have while exploring fantastic locales and appreciating nature in a way that isn’t possible anywhere else in the world.