How can we even begin to describe the magic of The Galápagos Islands? Words simply can’t do it justice. Without a doubt it has been the highlight of our trip so far. If there is anyone out there thinking that they might like to visit the Galápagos some day, or if you’ve even just vaguely entertained the idea, all we can say is DO IT. You will be forever glad that you did.
Yes, it’s expensive to visit, and for most backpackers it is way above budget. But the Galápagos was one of the first things we said we wanted to do when planning this trip, so we ended up putting money in a separate pot specifically for that part. We were also lucky in that we aren’t on a tight timescale, so we were able to contact a few of the boats a couple of weeks before we were due to arrive and managed to get a great last minute deal aboard the Nemo II, doing a 7 night/8 day cruise around the South Islands. You can also do cruises around the North Islands (something we definitely want to go back and do!) or combinations of the two.
The Nemo II is a wonderful little catamaran that only houses up to 14 guests. We decided to go for one of the smaller boats for a couple of reasons: firstly, we thought it would be a more personal experience and would give us a chance to get to know our boat mates, and secondly because on the Galápagos, each naturalist guide is only allowed to take a small group onto the islands at any given time. Therefore, if you’re on a larger boat with 40 to 80 people and you only have one or two guides on your boat, you won’t be able to go on every excursion. And we wanted to go on every excursion!
From the minute our plane touched down at Baltra airport and we were met by Jairo, our guide for the week, it was like we were in a whole different world. The crew of the Nemo II made us all feel like family, the boat itself was luxury (especially after staying in hostels for 9 months!), the food was abundant and absolutely incredible (we were treated to snacks and drinks after every activity, as well as delicious buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners), and we made some wonderful friends on board.
Then of course, there are the islands themselves and all of the magical wildlife that calls the Galápagos home. At this point we really think words aren’t going to do any justice to the things we saw and experienced, so we will let these photos and videos tell the rest of the story.