Island Essentials | What to pack for the Galapagos Islands
Even though the Galapagos Islands are distributed on both sides of the Equator line, the bathing suit and a pair of flip flops are by far not enough to spend a few days in Charles Darwin’s paradise. If you’re planning a vacation in the Archipelago and you can’t wait to visit as much as possible, walk among giant tortoises or snorkel with tropical fish and sea lions while above you fly blue-footed boobies or frigate birds, don’t forget the following:
The most common advice you’ll receive from the locals in Galapagos is to apply sunscreen as often as possible. Keep in mind that a product with a higher SPF offer slightly more protection, so choose wisely depending on how sensitive your skin is. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours, even if it’s rainy or cloudy.
2. Trekking clothes
Located on the equator, the climate in Galapagos is mostly dry and warm. If you visit several islands by taking day trips, be prepared to walk a lot in the sun. You should always have in your backpack a pair of trekking clothes (long pants and a jacket). Don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat and a pair of sandals or boots with non-slip soles, especially if you’re going to visit islands like Bartolome or North Seymour.
3. Snorkeling equipment
Snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands is an unforgettable experience, as you’ll have the opportunity to encounter many curious and playful sea lions, sharks, rays, sea turtles and colorful tropical fish that often swim together in large groups. Regardless the itinerary, a one day tour in the Archipelago usually includes a guided hike and a few snorkeling stops. The vast majority of the boat tours provide standard snorkels, face masks and fins for you to use free of charge. However, if you want to bring your own gear, a 22mm thick neoprene wetsuit is perfect to enable you to stay out in the water for as long as you want, a pair of snorkeling shoes will protect your feet from corals or sharp rocks and a full-face mask will help you breathe easier in the water.
4. Waterproof backpack
Having a waterproof backpack is really important to keep your items safe when you go kayaking or in case of bad weather. The more compartmentalized it is, the more safely you can pack fragile items such as glasses, phone, or camera. And if swimming is not your strength, a quality backpack can be used as a flotation device.
The beauty of the Archipelago consists of its many unique species of flora and fauna. So, whether you visit North Seymour Island during the whale mating season, Bartolome Island when the first colony of Galapagos penguins migrates, or Floreana Island where the largest flamingo colony in the Archipelago lives, binoculars are a must-have in the Galapagos.
Tips&Tricks: Since most animals in the Archipelago are not scared of humans, a binocular with 10×42 specifications is enough. The first figure represents the magnification and the second the size of the lens. The larger the lens, the greater the visibility when the light is dimmer.
Although it’s a year-round destination, the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands is from December to May. Depending on the month and season, each island is different and has something unique to offer. The Archipelago has a hot, tropical climate and experiences two distinctive seasons: a warm (also known as rainy) season from December to May and a dry season from June to November. With March and April being the hottest and wettest months, sporadic heavy rain showers are usually expected at coastal regions and beaches.
- Vacuum bags should never miss from your luggage, since most of them will reduce the amount of storage space needed by 50%. Depending on how long your trip is, you can efficiently organize your wardrobe by day or city;
- A travel iron with double voltage, designed for travelling around the world;
- Luggage scales, TSA-approved locks and tag support, necessary to ensure the safety of your luggage and backpack when your trip includes several flights;
- SPF sunscreen, medication for stomach, allergies and mild colds;
- Socket adapter;
- External battery.