Getting to the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands offer some wonderful vacations for those looking to get away from it all. With its pristine natural environment and spectacular wildlife, this tiny island chain is over four and a half million years old and is home to a fantastic array of birds, mammals, fish and reptiles such as the Giant tortoise, Darwin’s finch and the Galapagos land iguana. If you want an up close and personal vacation where nature takes the center stage, then the Galapagos is definitely the place to be!
A province of Ecuador and a national park, these islands have also been declared a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO for their amazing species of endemic wildlife and for its significant role in the formation of Charles Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’. However, while the Galapagos offers many marvelous holiday opportunities, it is also an expensive vacation destination with round trip fares here costing over US$ 350 to US$ 400 per person from the mainland of Equador to the Galapagos Islands.
The best way to get to the Galapagos is to land in Quito, the capital of Equador or in Guayaquil and then catch a domestic flight to the islands via the government-run TAME Airlines. TAME offers two daily flights to the Isla Baltra Airport via Guayaquil and flies to the Isla San Cristobal Airport three times a week. The Isla Baltra Airport is the main hub of air traffic in the Galapagos, while the Isla San Cristobal Airport offers an alternate traveling route for those wishing to escape the crowds.
Round trip flights from Guayaquil to Isla Baltra cost US$344 and last up to an hour and a half; while round trip fares from Quito cost US$ 389 and take four hours. However, this is due to the plane stopping over in Guayaquil. A good way to get a travel discount when flying to the Galapagos is during the low season. Ecuadorian and Galapagos nationals flying from Guayaquil to the islands only pay half fare tickets, therefore if you have an Ecuadorian resident visa or some sort of work permit, you maybe able to avail some flight discounts.
Another way to get to the Galapagos is via a military logistic flight that occasionally carries passengers to the islands. But do keep in mind that preference is given to Ecuadorian nationals first. A private airline AeroGal also flies to the Galapagos via Quito and Guayaquil to Isla San Cristobal Airport twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When traveling here do not forget to make an advance booking for your ticket, as most flights to the Galapagos are booked solid during the high season.