A trip to the Galapagos Islands is an absolutely unforgettable, bucket list worthy experience that’s well worth the trek. If you’re lucky enough to get the chance to go, make sure you have the following items in your suitcase:
You will be walking. A lot. Conditions on the islands vary greatly, with everything from soft, white sand beaches to volcanic pathways. Make this easier on yourself by bringing a good pair of water shoes with a solid sole, which are great for both wet and dry landings on the beach. I only brought running shoes and got by fine with them—just make sure you’re not wearing them when you’re forced to jump off the zodiac into the water!
A long camera lens
Not only will throwing a nice telephoto lens on the end of your SLR make for fantastic photos, but it also doubles as a pair of binoculars—all the better to see those animals with!
READ MORE: IN PHOTOS: The incredible Galapagos Islands
Sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen.
It gets EXTREMELY hot in the Galapagos…like, sweltering. The islands are also near the equator, so it’s extremely important to always wear sunscreen as the sun is very strong in the area. A trip to the Galapagos means you’ll be outside a lot, so try not to burn, or it might make for a miserable few days!
Environmental responsibility is huge undertaking in the Galapagos, as it helps protect the fragile surroundings and the incredible species that call the area home. As such, it’s a good idea to bring biodegradable products (ones made of beeswax are a good start) that won’t harm anything if traces of them end up in the water. Ecoventura cruises provide soap, shampoo and conditioner to their guests on board, so check with your travel provider before heading out to see what’s already included.
While bugs aren’t a major issue in the islands, you may find yourself in some spots where there are insects—and they won’t leave you alone! It’s a good idea to have some repellent on hand, but remember to watch where you spray it so it doesn’t impact the surrounding environment. Try spraying it on your hands before rubbing it on your body, instead of just spraying it haphazardly.
A couple of swimsuits
A typical cruise itinerary will build in lots of time in the water, and some days could see you having to slip into a wetsuit at least twice. Be sure to pack more than one swimsuit, so you’ll always have a dry one to put on.
In my opinion, an underwater camera or GoPro is as mandatory as bringing your passport! There is a stunning amount of life found underwater, including sharks, turtles, brilliant tropical fish and sea lions. As a result, there are endless photo opportunities during every dive or snorkeling excursion, and you’ll kick yourself if you don’t have an underwater camera to take advantage of it.
All that time spent on boats while hopping from island to island can make even those with iron stomachs queasy, and it’s common for people to feel seasick at least once during their trip. Stock up on anti-nausea medication at the pharmacy before you leave: Dramamine pills are popular, as well as bands you can wear around your wrist. I always pack Transderm-Vs, which are little nude-coloured stickers you put behind your ears that last for three days each. Gravol is also a good option to help keep nausea at bay.
Finally, there is one important thing to remember: this is not a fashion show!
The sea lions do not care if you are wearing a designer outfit. Exploring the Galapagos is all about adventure, so bring a lot of comfy active wear/lounging clothes as opposed to dressy outfits. Also, most people visit the islands on a cruise ship, which means your room likely won’t have a lot of extra space to house two huge suitcases, so try and squeeze everything into a carry on.
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Globe Guide travelled to the Galapagos as a guest of Ecoventura. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles