THINGS TO DO ON A GALÁPAGOS LAND BASED HOLIDAY
OUR TOP ACTIVITIES IN GALÁPAGOS
Gliding into glistening coves, shallow lagoons and amongst the mangroves, close to the beach at El Garrapatero, for example, can be absolutely enthralling and lead you to experiences that cruise ship passengers could only dream about. From blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and sea lions around the coastal bays of San Cristóbal, to the lava formed channels of Punta Estrada and Divine Bay, where manta rays, sea turtles and white-tipped sharks swim below, kayaking in the Galápagos is simply sublime.
Although a land based vacation on the Galápagos does involve a certain amount of time on dry land there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t take the plunge, with snorkelling summoning up some serious sensory scenes just below the surface. Oblivious sea turtles, playful sea lion pups and harmless hammerheads, parrot fish and manta rays add to the surreal experience of underwater lava tunnels and sunlight pierced coves as you don mask, flippers and disappear into a world of wonders.
The longer you stay on dry land the more chances you'll have to assist local communities and help to conserve the natural environment, which is why conservation volunteering projects are an ideal way to experience islands like San Cristóbal whilst living alongside and working with local people. Clearing non-indigenous foliage, replanting native species and taking part in educational presentations, run in local schools, are just some of the ways you can volunteer on dry land as well as having plenty of free time to really get to know your chosen island. Volunteer placements normally last two to three weeks, with work carried out on Monday-Friday, leaving weekends free to explore and have fun far from the madding cruise ship crowds.
Meeting local people
Juan Zambonino was born and raised in Galápagos. He now leads land based tours of the islands with our supplier, Intrepid Travel, and explains why meeting local people is one of the most important things to do on a Galápagos land based vacation: “Land based visitors really, really support the local economy because everything stays here. But most people don't know about the local culture. They don't do the land based tour because they don't think anyone lives here – but there are 30,000 people! So when they come here they mainly take the boats because they think: flora and fauna and that's it. But I would recommend a land based tour to everyone. You see things when you are on the boat – but the good thing about the land based tour is that you are in touch with the people.”