Galapagos Islands Solo Travel Guide
Rising from the Pacific, 1,000km (621mi) off the coast of mainland Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago where three tectonic plates and three significant ocean currents meet. Hardly any spots boast such a concentration of biodiversity and powerful nature, generally untouched by human activity – a definitive offbeat destination for Galapagos Islands Solo Travel guide with a thirst for experience.
What’s the vibe?
Landscapes range from jet-black lava fields and cacti-dotted scrubland to shrub-like Scalesia forests and grassy highlands. Mangroves line a large part of the coast, while submerged is the absolute best snorkeling and scuba diving spots in the world, overflowing with marine life. You’ll find individuals warm and welcoming, the towns laid-back and prepared for guests.
A Galapagos Islands Solo Travel trip overview
Aim to spend something like five days here. You’ll fly into San Cristóbal or Seymour Airport and take a ferry across to Santa Cruz. Both have more than adequate accommodation, restaurants, and associations with different islands. Fancy staying someplace more remote? Isabela Island and Floreana Island are spectacular.
Consider road trips to uninhabited islands, like Bartolomé – for its awesome rock formations – Española, which is home to the highest concentration of endemic species in the Galápagos and Santa Fé, a cactus forest with a huge ocean lion population.
Where to remain in the Galápagos Islands as a solo traveler
There’s a varied choice here – from boutique hotels and luxurious eco-hotels to comfortable hostels and B&Bs. On a careful budget? La Fortaleza de Haro and Hostal North Seymour fit the bill in Santa Cruz, while family-run Hostal Terito and Casa Playa Mann are go-to options in San Cristóbal. At Galápagos Magic Camp, you can sleep in a safari tent or treehouse in a nature reserve populated with giant turtles. Searching for something more upscale? Try Pikaia Lodge (Santa Cruz), Finch Bay Galápagos Hotel (Santa Cruz) or Scalesia Lodge (Isabela).
What to do in the Galapagos Islands Solo Travel
Exploring is all about interfacing with nature. Every one of the islands has its unique draw – however, covering them across the board trip would be incomprehensible. Here is our pick of the top activities while traveling Galapagos Islands Solo Travel.
Take to the water
Nearly 3,000 marine species live around the Galápagos, including numerous endemics. Underwater animals include marine iguanas, penguins, ocean lions, ocean turtles, and manta rays. Kicker Rock, Pinnacle Rock, Darwin’s Arch, and Shark Point are among the best scuba diving and snorkeling spots in the Galápagos. If you’d prefer to stay over the waves, notwithstanding, have a go at kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.
Explore by walking
Bring walking boots – walking is the most ideal way to appreciate geological features while spotting wildlife. The trails from Playa Mann to Frigatebird Hill (San Cristóbal) and from Puerto Ayora to Tortuga Bay (Santa Cruz) are two of the most accessible, both with nearby swimming spots. Different features include wandering through Santa Fé’s cactus forest, climbing to the summit of Bartolomé Island, and traversing Sullivan Bay’s lava fields on Santiago Island.
Kick back near the ocean
What other place on earth could you chill an oceanside close to marine iguanas, sea lions, and penguins? In the Galápagos, it’s the norm. Tortuga Bay and El Garrapatero rank among the most wonderful sea shores in Santa Cruz, while Playa Mann, Punta Carola and Puerto Chino are prime sunbathing spots in San Cristóbal. Gardner Bay, on Española Island, is a slice of paradise. Stop by the rust-red ocean side on Rabida Island and you’ll feel as though you’ve shown up on Mars.
Eat and drink the Galápagos Islands
There’s a heavy seafood emphasis here in the Galápagos. Ceviche and encebollado (fish-and-onion soup) are specialties. Additionally, pay special attention to langostino encocado (lobster cooked with coconut milk) and Arroz Marinero (a fish and rice dish like paella). Vegetarian? You’ll adore Arroz con mantras – a generous lentil stew.
In San Cristóbal, El Descanso Marinero and Rosita’s serve generous local food at sensible costs, while Almar and Isla Grill offer a likewise authentic but more refined dining experience disregarding the ocean in Santa Cruz. St Nick Cruz Brewery and 1835 Coffee Lab are go-to places for craft beer and extraordinary espresso.
Remain safe, remain cheerful
Crime is essentially non-existent here. However, recollect not to get excessively near bluff edges, to apply a lot of sun cream, and to regard the personal space of creatures like marine and land iguanas (which, although flaky and now and again terrifying looking, are harmless to people).
Getting around in the Galapagos Islands Solo Travel
Taxis are not difficult to get in Puerto Ayora and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, and you’re probably not going to pay more than $5-$10 (£3.68-£7.36) for a ride. Cycling is fun, yet figures on uphill slogs and unpaved streets. A few remote areas are out of reach via land – you’ll have to take a water taxi.
Santa Cruz is the main ferry hub with associations with San Cristóbal and Isabela; both withdraw two times a day to day and require close to two hours. It’s likewise possible to fly – which cuts the journey down to 30 minutes – yet costs extensively more.
Except if you’re on a cruise, you’ll have to require coordinated road trips from Santa Cruz or San Cristóbal to get to uninhabited islands.
Conclusion: The Galapagos Islands Solo Travel Guide
If you’re visiting an uninhabited island, give close consideration to your guide and follow the Galápagos National Park guidelines. These include no glimmer photography, sticking to assigned walking trails, and not contacting or feeding any creatures.