What no one tells you about the Galapagos Islands
I can write so many good blogs about the Galapagos Islands, but what about the truth? Are these islands really paradise? To be honest they were a bit disappointing. Everyone told me it would be amazing, the most beautiful place I’d ever go to and that I would see animals everywhere. Well, to make sure you’ll go there with more accurate expectations, this is what no one tells you about the Galapagos Islands.
1. There is no reef
The underwater world in Galapagos was very different than I expected. Ok, maybe I am a bit spoiled having been to the most beautiful places such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Great Barrier Reef, but honestly, I thought it would be similar or maybe more beautiful. Instead, everything was grey. No colourful coral at all. How was I supposed to know it’s a volcanic island and therefore everything around it is dead?
2. There live 25.000 people on the islands
I had this dreamy idea of the Galapagos islands as a very remote place, kind of the true paradise you’ve always looked for. But the reality is that over 25 thousand people live there in ugly cities! When we arrived in Santa Cruz we couldn’t believe it. We just paid €450 for our flight from Quito only and another €140 to enter the islands to be in a city. Where are the animals, white beaches and clear blue water?
3. You really have to go to see the animals, they aren't everywhere
One of the things I did know about the Galapagos is that I would see animals everywhere – that’s actually what motivated me to go. So, crazily enough, I expected to see animals everywhere. I was a bit disappointed when it turned out that if you wanted to see sea lions, you really had to go to a beach where they were. If you wanted to see flamingos, you went to the lake where they were. In between those places you didn’t see anything.
4. You have to pay a lot of money for literally EVERYTHING
As you haven’t paid enough to get to the islands (€450 from the mainland of Ecuador), you also have to pay 100 USD to enter the island and another 20 USD for your bag to enter. Then you have to pay again when you enter other islands (!) too. Next to this, all activities are just ridiculously expensive. We paid 180 USD for two 30 min dives – it was the most expensive week of my life.
5. The water isn't clear
I really hope it was just the time of the year (I went in December) but the water wasn’t clear at all. I went diving to see hammerhead sharks and they must have been amazing if I could only have seen them a little bit better through clear water.
6. It is very often cloudy
For some reason you just think the skies will be blue at a paradise destination as Galapagos. Unfortunately, it is very often cloudy. So keep this in mind if you’re looking forward to a brilliant blue sky holiday.
7. The landscape is super dry
Maybe this is also because it’s volcanic but the nature (flora) on the whole island is either dead or just very very dry. Ok, there are some really cool cactuses (I loved them), but that’s it really.
8. They cancel trips like it’s nothing
We visited the Galapagos Islands for Christmas and booked a last minute yacht trip. We were very excited about this 4-day adventure that cost us a few thousand dollars. But then, one night before we would leave, the trip was suddenly cancelled. With an apology and way too many banknotes in our pockets (yes, we had to pay in cash) we decided to just laugh about it and find our own way around the islands.
Instagram VS reality
Important to say is that we had a brilliant trip. We really loved our time there. We simply expected it to be different.
Also, I’ve thought a long time (almost two years) about whether or not I should share this blog post. I’m generally not a negative person. However, I think it’s important to share experiences like this in order to set your expectations right. Maybe I just didn’t do enough research before I went or maybe everyone that goes paid so much money that they are afraid to tell the truth.
For now though, I would recommend to spend your money on other destinations. Need inspiration? Maybe one of the 15 places you never thought to visit but really should.