The Galapagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador in South America, are a bucket list destination. From the clear turquoise water and white sand beaches to the huge variety of unique animals and happy, ecologically protected wildlife, the Galapagos Islands are a magical place to visit. We spent 9 incredible days exploring the Galapagos Islands on a budget and it was by FAR the highlight of our trip to South America. But there were definitely some surprises along the way. Like for starters, the Galapagos Islands aren’t tropical. At all. In fact, from island to island, the geography completely changes: Isla Isabela has palm trees and sandy beaches, but Santa Cruz is actually covered in desert and cactus and volcanic rock. The geological variation is part of what make the islands SO interesting – and surprising! Now that we’ve had some time to reflect, we’ve created an essential Galapagos Packing List to help you plan your trip.
We spent a month backpacking through Ecuador, and we LOVED exploring this small but incredibly diverse, insanely beautiful country. From the high altitude metropolitan city of Quito, to the animal refuge of the Galapagos Islands, to the adventure town of Banos, to the high mountain regions of the Andes, to the Amazon Rainforest – and that’s just like, a really short summary highlight reel – there are so many incredible places to go in Ecuador! Plus, Ecuador is home to all of our favorite things: really good chocolate, llamas, stunning mountains, alpacas, volcanoes, llamas & alpacas, and sea lions. What more could you want?!! From swimming with sea lions to hiking in the Andes to sleeping in a hobbit hole at the foot of a volcano to white water rafting to swimming in giant natural thermal baths at the foot of a waterfall, this itinerary is chock full of amazing things to do in Ecuador that we really, really, really want to go back and do again.
From the creepy clown trash cans (seriously, Ecuador, WTF?) to Cheese Soup to friendly llamas to the Galapagos Islands, we had a fantastic time during our month backpacking in Ecuador! Here are 30 things no one told us about before we visited Ecuador….
Think you need to book an expensive cruise to see the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador? Think again! We have a complete guide to the Galapagos Islands by land. Backpack your way through Santa Cruz, Isabela Island, and San Cristobal!
Isla Isabela is the largest island in The Galapagos. However, much like Hawaii, it is not the main island. There isn’t much civilization on this seahorse shaped piece of land, but there are plenty of critters, as well as awesome geological phenomena…if you’re into that. But what kind of freakin’ nerd would be? (Me…absolutely me.)
The Galapagos Islands are our favorite place by far on our South American adventure. From the relaxed island vibes and cozy coastal towns, to the plethora of sea lions, marine iguanas, and frigate birds at every turn, the Galapagos felt like the perfect place to take a break from our grungy backpacker lifestyle and have a real vacation.