Galapagos is something special – let’s list some of the reasons why:
First of all, this archipelago was the reason why Darwin started to think about evolution. Before that, everything was believed to be made by god in the way it is.
Next thing: until modern days, the islands were never inhabitated by man, there are no aborigines of Galapagos. Even after the first discovery of their existence in 1535, the main visitors to the islands were pirates and whalers for a long long time. The islands remained a myth or a forgotten place to the world, because they were described in a not very inviting way by their first visitors. But after Darwin published his book “The origin of Species” more and more scientists came to the islands. These so called scientists, nowadays we would rather call them hunters and gatherers, eliminated some species and brought others to the edge of extinction by “collecting” samples. Some sciencific voyages took several thousand specimens back to their home port.
Another special thing is that Galapagos is a nationalpark and a UNESCO World Heritage site – only a few inhabited sites are excluded. There have already been some attempts to reduce the impacts of humans to the islands – such as the elimination of plants that don’t belong to the islands originally.
Flights to Galapagos depart solely from Guayaquil or from Quito (mostly via Guayaquil).
To enter the nationalpark you have to pay a fee – 100 US$ for adults that are not from South America. This money has to be paid in cash upon arrival at the airport in Galapagos. Now the best: there are no cash machines at the airport, so you have to cash the money before you arrive there. I don’t know what they do if you don’t have the money – sending you back where you came from is a real possible option?!
The main airport of Galapagos is Baltra – a former US military outpost during WW2. But no worries, the airport buildings and the landing strip are not from this time. Actually they are brand new. First thing that is a bit strange is that you have to take a ferry from the island Baltra to the main island of Santa Cruz. And the ferries there look totally self made. The buses that await you on the other side are not selfmade, but still you instantly start to hope that they are able to make it to the town Puerto Ayora, which is a 1 hour ride away.