The Galapagos Islands are an amazing place. We saw plenty of wildlife and were surprised at how great the beaches are. Still, visiting ‘on the cheap’ wasn’t all smooth sailing.
There’s such a thing as a permit to get a permit. National parks cost money, but $20 for a form to apply for a permit that costs $100? Yup, that’s a thing. Oh, and there’s a another permit for Isabela island.
Are you there yet? Nope. Travelling in the Galapagos can feel a bit like Frodo’s journey into Mordor. Getting from the mainland to your hotel may involve a couple of planes, a couple of buses, a boat or two and a taxi. But the volcanoes are lovely.
Don’t lick your ice-cream before it’s paid for. Hardly anyone on the islands seems to have change, but you’re expected to. And if you don’t have change you’re expected to find it. Or you can do as David did and give back your ice-cream cone to the cashier who didn’t have change for a $10.
Be prepared to check yourself out. Checking out of a hotel at 5:30 to catch a 6am ferry is never a good plan, but it’s an especially bad idea in the Galapagos where you may have to walk the hotel staff through what a hotel bill is and how to use a credit card machine. Oh, and be prepared to explain (in Spanish) why it’s not OK to charge an extra 12% to pay with a card.