Ted’s Travels – The land of the Giant Tortoises
Discovered by the Spanish in 1535 and named after the giant tortoises “Galapago”, the Galapagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago located about 1,000 kilometres of the Ecuadorian coast in the Pacific Ocean.
Did you know that there are 19 islands and more than 40 islets and rocks?
The Galapagos National Park strictly controls the number of visitors allowed to visit the islands each year; the total number of people visiting over a year is close to 75,000. Because of this control, there is no waiting in queues to land and very rarely lots of people are spotted in the same site.
The traditional way to visit them is taking a cruise ship, there are plenty of options starting from 3 nights and 4 days and up to 15 days. The boats range from deluxe down to tourist class, and carry from 16 to up to 100 passengers.
In recent years, we have seen the development of ‘island hoping’ for those clients who do not want a cruise; these can be from 3 nights up to 10 nights with lots of guided day tours and activities on land and short boat rides between the four main islands with accommodation. Your clients can stay in the town of Puerto Ayora in deluxe hotel and just do walks and short boat excursions.
I think the best thing that has happened in recent times is the new “Safari Camp” located in a high hill overlooking the ocean. It is a family oriented place to experience the wonders of the Enchanted Islands.
What waits for your clients in the Galapagos? I’ve been three times already and each time I marvel at natural wonders of the place, to me it’s an open zoo where we must walk around and get out of the way of the fauna. They can spot iguanas, turtles, giant Tortoise, penguins, cormorants, albatross, frigatebirds, and my favourite: the blue and red footed boobie birds. Your clients will also see flamingos, sea lions and of course lots of finches… and then there is the flora!
But how and when is the best time to visit the island? The common seasons are from December to May when the weather is warmer. Any time is a good time to visit the islands but if you have a bird watching client wanting to spot specific birds get in touch with us and we will advise you of the best time to visit. My tip would be to suggest to your client a cruise plus stay at the Safari Camp before or after the cruise, they will love you for the suggestion!
Call us to get more tips and arrange your bookings.
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au