Ecuador's Galapagos Archipelago, PART 3 - PRACTICAL ADVICE
12/28/2021POSTED BY IGNACIO MAZA
The key to enjoying a cruise in the Galapagos is doing your homework and packing the right gear. Here are answers to questions I have received since returning from my cruise on Celebrity Flora:
When to go?
The Galapagos are a year-round destination, and every season has its plusses and minuses. In general:
The driest weather is from June to November. This is also the season of cooler temperatures (especially in the evenings) and barren landscapes. Ocean temperatures are cooler and currents stronger this time of year. Ocean waters are clearer, better for snorkeling/diving.
The rainier period is from December to April. This means a warmer ocean and hotter temperatures on land. February and March are the hottest months of the year. Rain falls sporadically and mostly in the highlands. It usually rains for an hour or so, and that's it. Rain brings out the vegetation, cactus flowers, and typically more bird activity.
May is a transition month, with greener landscapes (it's the end of the rainy season) but not as hot as February/March. Some of the guides I spoke to consider May an ideal month to visit.
What to pack?
Galapagos cruises are casual and relaxed. There is no need for formal/dressy attire. The #1 priority is being practical.
For your time in Quito:
Keep in mind Quito sits at 9,300 ft. over sea level. Because you are at the Equator and a high elevation, the weather is unpredictable. Nights are cool (high 40s/low 50s) and days can be cool or warm (up to 70s). It can rain at any moment. My advice: wear layers, a rain jacket, and comfortable walking shoes.
Stay hydrated and drink more water than you would normally. Try to have your big meal for lunch and a lighter supper to cope with the altitude during your time in Quito.
For the Galapagos:
Protect yourself from the sun, which is intense. Bring Sunscreen (SPF 40 or higher), a hat, and sunglasses. I also recommend Long-sleeved t-shirts and lightweight hiking pants, ideally in neutral/earth tones.
A lightweight rain jacket, and a sweater or light jacket for the evenings
Zip lock bags for your phone/camera, to keep them dry
A small backpack comes in handy
Because you will have both wet and dry landings, bring water shoes and lightweight hiking shoes.
Pack at least two swimsuits
What about Covid Protocols?
If you are traveling with Celebrity Cruises, the line has you covered going to the Galapagos, and preparing you for your return to the USA. Here are the current formalities, as of 29DEC21:
Americans must show proof of COVID vaccination (two doses, with the second dose taken at least 14 days prior to arrival in Ecuador) and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Ecuador.
As an added precautionary measure, Celebrity tests all guests the day before they arrive in the Galapagos. This is not required by the Ecuadorean government, but Celebrity tests all guests to add a layer of protection prior to embarking on the ship.
Before returning to the USA (if purchasing Celebrity's 10/11/16 night packages) Celebrity will provide a COVID test for all guests, 24 hours prior to departure for the USA.
Are children allowed on a Celebrity Galapagos Cruise?
Children are welcome on Celebrity's Galapagos cruises. The recommendation is seven years or older, but younger children are welcome.
Any other advice?
Go on as many shore excursions as possible. Wildlife is unpredictable, and you never know what you will find at sea/ashore.
Don't miss the daily briefing on Celebrity Flora, usually at 7pm. This is a great preview of the next day, what to expect, what to wear, and a summary of each shore excursion.
The daily lectures on board Celebrity Flora are very interesting and will give you a richer understanding of the wildlife and the islands.
Hope this is helpful. Next: A great hacienda stay recommendation in Ecuador, before or after your Galapagos cruise.