The Galapagos Islands are astounding, unique, fascinating and relatively untouched by humans. As a marine reserve and a national park, the Galapagos have many restrictions in place to safeguard the islands – so if you plan a visit, keep in mind the rules and laws of the islands.
Before you Visit
Luggage – Do not plan on bringing a lot of luggage with you to the Galapagos. Most flights do not accept more than 44 pounds (20 kilos) of baggage.
Passports – Galapagos requires that travelers carry their passport to the islands and the passport number must be furnished one month prior to arrival.
Entrance Fee – A $100 per person fee must be paid upon arrival at the Galapagos airport. This rate is can sometimes change.
On the Island
Once on the Galapagos Islands, the serene calmness and beauty of the islands becomes apparent. While the islands’ species are not immune from the effects of humans, the Galapagos give a true glimpse of nature at its purist. Much credit for this can be given to the Ecuadorian Government that passed the first laws to protect the islands animals, plants, and insects over 75 years ago. Today, many laws and rules are in place to preserve the island’s splendor.
Take Pictures, Not Souvenirs – As tempting as it is to bring part of the island home with you, it is best to settle for photos. Island ecology experts stress that you should not buy or take home souvenirs such as turtle shells, sea lion teeth and black coral. While the trade of some objects is not strictly illegal, it can be very disruptive to the islands ecological conditions.
No Touching Animals – Sure they are cute, cuddly and the sea lions seem to call to you, but it is not a good idea to touch the animals. Sea lion pups are sometimes abandoned if they have the scent of a human on them.
Don’t Leave the Trails – This is for your safety as much as it is for the protection of the Islands. Visitors must stay on trails that are marked with black and white posts. Wondering off the trail can, for instance, result in the destruction of marine iguana nests, which are buried beneath the sand.
No Traveling On Your Own – Visitors to the National Park are required to be accompanied by a qualified guide. Traveling on your own is forbidden.
No Littering – All disposals must be removed from the islands as it can harm or kill some species. Plastic bags have been known to suffocate sea turtles.
Following these easy rules will ensure that the Galapagos Islands are preserved and protected.