Every island is different – they are volcanic and some are very old and green and established while others are little but stones and boulders. In addition, the wildlife differs from island to island – so you’ve find different species of iguana on different islands.
So, if you decide against a cruise, there are several things to consider:
- how much, and what variety, of wildlife are you hoping to see, and how are you hoping to see it (walking is strictly controlled – I don’t think there are any islands where you can wander where you like. This keeps the environment as unpolluted as possible, even by our smells and footprints!).
- do you want a beach? If so, it makes sense to think about a beach-front hotel.
- how much are you hoping to do other than look at the wildlife? If you just want to sit and read and look about, then one of the less populated islands will suit you. But if you need shops and people around, then you probably need to look at Puerto Ayora.
The bigger cruise ships can do considerable damage to the environment. But the smaller ones – much less so. I went on the Beagle (honest!) – 13 berths, plus crew. Smaller boats can also go much closer to the shore. I loved it – but if you are at all unsteady you might be better on land. You need to be able to scramble in and out of small boats, even more if you snorkel.
Having said that – I’m going back to Ecuador next year but am not going back to the Galapagos. Why? Because it was so unrepeatably wonderful.
My wife and I are interested in spending more time on the islands and taking our time to independently see the islands instead of the usual cruises. Which islands would people recommend, what are highlights and accommodation recommendations would be appreciated.