The Archipelago is comprised of 13 main islands, and seven smaller islands. Transportation between the islands is usually by small boats and larger ferries.
If you are traveling to and from the islands a lot, you begin to form a very familiar bond with the crew and captains. Thanks to my incessant need to practice my Spanish every chance I get, my relationship with the crew members on the ferry grew very quickly. These type of travel relationships have their own set of perks. On my second trip the captain let me sit up top with him to get better footage of the sun rising and reflecting off the sea. He also taught me Ecuadorian slang words that I will not repeat on this article, (Hi Mama! It’s me your angelic child, who does not curse like an Ecuadorian sailor).
Another option to travel from the larger islands to the smaller islands is by renting kayaks. I highly recommend taking a day to explore areas of the archipelago by kayak. I would also recommend renting snorkel gear for the day so that you can dock your kayaks and get incredible underwater views as well.
The flora and fauna inhabiting the Galapagos Islands is absolutely stunning. People travel from all over the world just see the free roaming wildlife and native plants of the islands. The relationship between the people and wildlife co-inhabitating the region is unlike any other place in the world. Sea lions bask in the sun on the benches by the beach, sea turtles swim next you in the water, and giant tortoises roam the highlands. However, it is important to be mindful that these are still wild animals, and it is never okay to frighten the animals by touching them or getting too close. This video I created for the Tourism Board of the Galapagos gives you more detail on guidelines for a safe and fun visit to the archipelago!
When you get to the largest island Santa Cruz, you will have plenty of options for water sports. Santa Cruz is also where the Charles Darwin Research Center is located, so be sure you walk through the outdoor research center to view the Giant Tortoises on site. Right off of the main road to the center, across from the Park Ranger station, is a path to a secret beach. You’ll see a small bike rack and from there follow the barely visible path to a picturesque beach spot where only the locals frequent.
If you take the ferry from Santa Cruz to Isle Isabela, be sure to tell the captain Manuel hello for me!