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Please be aware that the Galapagos Islands are a National Park where you have to keep certain rules in mind. Therefore, we also can only act in the way that the National Park allows. Furthermore, the infrastructure is not as good as on the mainland. There are only the 4 islands that are inhabited and only here you can find hotels. Santa Cruz offers the best infrastructure in general and also concerning hotels. This island is a good spot to go on day excursions to other islands. On Isabela there are some hotels, two of them first class hotels. This island has a nice long beach where you can relax and offers a variety of excursions on the same island but as it is rarely inhabited you do not have a good infrastructure according to restaurants and shops. San Cristobal has only tourist class hotels but offers a wider range of restaurants and shops as Isabela. From here you can do some excursions like to the highland and Leon Dormido. On Floreana you have only two hotels and this island is only accessible by boat when it is chartered or in a day excursion from Santa Cruz. The famous Post Office Bay is only accessible with one of the cruise ships.
All other islands you can only visit with one of the cruise ships or during one of the daily excursions from Santa Cruz to the nearest small islands like Santa Fe, North Seymour, South Plazas and Bartolome. The boats, which can visit these islands in a day excursion, need a permission of the National Park. Only few boats have this permission; therefore, the spaces are limited. There are other boats that can only cruise between the inhabited islands but they cannot go to every place on the way.
As the islands are so far away from the mainland and it is a National Park they have to import everything from the mainland. You will not always have a wide variety on food when you are staying on the islands especially on the Isabela and Floreana. Of course they are in the ocean but there is a limit of what they can fish and what they can fish in which season. Therefore, you will not have fish or seafood available every day as you might think.
Please keep this information in mind when you reserve a trip. Galapagos is expensive but has not the facilities to offer a real luxury trip. What make the Galapagos Islands special are the nature and its animals!
Usually a visit to the Galapagos Islands is not recommendable for small children due to the national park rules. Most ships do not allow children less than 7 years.
On the Galápagos Islands exist two seasons, which differ from the hot-dry and humid-colder mountain regions. From January to June (in which short heavy rain showers can occur) hot air temperatures rule (ca. 30 degrees Celsius). In the dry season from July to December the temperatures are a bit lower. The water temperature reaches up to 20 degrees Celsius. So a wet suit for snorkeling is recommended. The currents are rougher in this time so you will need anti-sickness pills.
Galapagos Islands National Park Entrance Fees:
The Galapagos Islands feature an amazing diversity of animals, many endemic, which are unusually tame due to lack of predation and many years of protection. This protection must continue to preserve the uniqueness of Galapagos for future generations.
On the mainland before doing the check-in you will need to get the migration card which shall control the illegal migration to the Galapagos. This card costs USD 10.- per person and has to be paid in cash. For this card we need the following information:
Upon arrival to the islands, a park officer will collect a National Park fee of USD 100.- per person(Cash only, no traveller’s checks.) In the past, they accepted student cards to give a discount, but now they don't. The only ones exempt from this important fee are the residents of the islands, residents of Ecuador, or those in the pacto-Andino (and they still have to pay USD 50.-). Do not loose your park tax receipt; boat captains need to record it. A 50% reduction on the National Park fee is available to children under 12.
The entrance fee helps fund the maintenance of the parks and other national projects.
The park entrance fee is distributed as follows:
In total, these fees assist in the protection and preservation of the Islands.
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