Ever wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands? Shelby is sharing her trip along with some tips for traveling there, must-dos while visiting, and some helpful things to pack!
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Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Shelby Clarke, I am married to my college sweetheart and we currently live in Central California. I am a blogger and creative at heart – I love food, photography and to write. My passion for writing and photography was truly inspired by this trip. I was able to meet people from all over the world, and spent 7 days with them on a boat. I currently work at home but I have big aspirations to change the world, and like most, I have too many interests but am passionate about all of them.
Tell us a little about your trip to the Galapagos Islands:
We visited the islands in 2010 with my in laws and my sister in law was in Ecuador that summer for her internship in Hospitality and Tourism. It was my first trip out of the USA, and I was really nervous. We had delays in our flights, and our plane to the Galapagos was returned to Ecuador due to an engine problem. No worries though – we got on a different plane and made it there in time to catch the boat. The Galapagos Tour was on a small cruise yacht which could hold 20 people + crew. We had briefings each evening on what we saw and where we were going next. Our Tour guides spoke perfect English and were very informative. We visited a total of 10 islands, some two a day. We deep sea snorkeled with sea lions and sea turtles, hiked with land iguanas and finch birds, watched albatrosses take off and watched boobie birds seduce their mates.
Is there a better time to visit the Galapagos Islands?:
I recommend visiting the islands in the Fall or Spring, the summer is full tourists. Although the weather is very consistent throughout the year because of the proximity to the equator, our late summer/early fall trip was perfect in weather and amount of tourists. We were practically the only boat on each island each day.
What was your favorite thing about your trip to the Galapagos Islands?:
I loved all the hiking. Being outdoors in nature just brings so much happiness to my soul and to have wildlife unafraid of you is an amazing experience. My all time favorite moment from our trip was on the last day before we left on the island of Espanola. Several people went out for a guided snorkel. We stayed behind to enjoy the quiet beach and sea lions then at one point I went in for a dip, and a baby sea lion followed me. He began popping up and rolling around me and trying to play catch. The other girls soon joined in and so did more sea lions. Now, we were told not to touch the wildlife, however, wildlife was allowed to touch us. These sea lions played around us for 15-20 minutes and it was the most magical experience I have ever had.
Is there anything specific that you’d recommend seeing or not seeing?:
See as much as you can, go to as many of the islands as possible they are all unique and be sure to visit the Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz
Do you have any advice for someone considering visiting the Galapagos Islands?:
I recommend a small boat tour. We only had 18 people, excluding the crew on our boat, and were able to get to know folks traveling with us. It was a very intimate experience.
Is there anything you wish you would have done when you were that that you didn’t do?:
I am pretty sure my husband wishes he could have gone scuba diving. This is totally not my thing, but I know he would have enjoyed doing that. He did every snorkling swim available to him while we were there. I also wish we would have spent more time on each island, so I guess I would stay longer.
Is there anything specific that you would recommend bringing with when visiting the Galapagos Islands?:
Bring a water proof camera, journal, and Keen Waterfront Sandals (great for wet entry on islands) and plenty of motion sickness pills or patches. Even if you think you don’t get sea sick, the Pacific Ocean will change your mind. Also, plan to layer your clothes – mornings and evenings were cool, but at the height of the day it was very warm.
If you could do it again, what would you change? Would you go again?:
I would go again, in a heart beat. Not sure I would change anything though, except maybe more dramamine.
Have an awesome story to share about one of your life’s greatest adventures? I’d love to hear it! Check out the initial post or email me at [email protected]