We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Lori, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Lori is from the United States, and submitted the following report about the Galapagos Islands. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 2 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Spanish, English
Reasons to go: There is nowhere else like it in the world. Beautiful, amazing wildlife, special. I absolutely recommend taking a multi-day cruise, as opposed to trying to base on land and travel to other islands. You'll see much more and it's a great experience.
I traveled with Ecoventura. The guides (Ivan and Pepe) and boat crew (I was on the Eric) were native to the Galapagos and incredibly knowledgable. Their commitment to the conservation of the islands, including the education of the local population, particularly the youth, is clear. They were professional, enthusiastic, and fun.
The accommodation and food aboard the Eric were top notch, and it was great to get to know my fellow travelers (there were 18 of us in total, plus the 9 crew). Every day we had about 4-6 hours of activity (hiking, snorkeling, kayaking – or just enjoying “marine observation” from the yacht's upper deck), plus an afternoon siesta (heaven). Each night before dinner we had a briefing about what we would see and do the next day, which was a big help when planning what to wear, what gear to take, etc., for each excursion.
The boat generally navigated between islands at night when we were sleeping. Overall the seas weren't too rough (it was August), but the nights where we were in open water could be bumpy. Also, you spend a lot of time on smaller rubber boats, as many of the islands have no dry landing spots. Though I'm not prone to motion sickness, I took Bonine every morning whether I needed it or not.
Traveling through Quito en route to the islands, I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Le Parc. It's in the more modern business district, which felt safer to me as a solo traveler than Old Town. However, it's great to spend time in the old city and it's easy to get around via local taxis. I had no hesitation walking around Quito alone in the daytime, but at night it isn't recommended (take a taxi – they're easy to get). Overall, I think general common sense that you'd apply in any large city will serve you well.
NOTE: it's about a 45 minute – 2 hour trip into Quito from the airport. The trip isn't long in miles, but it's a narrow road through the mountains and outer parts of the city and can be congested at times. Leave plenty of time to get back and forth.
Some of my fellow travelers chose to start their trip in Guayaquil instead, which is a smaller, beach-side town about a 45 minute flight from Quito. However, I found Quito (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) absolutely worth seeing. In addition to just strolling through Old Town and enjoying the architecture, I really enjoyed visiting the Bascilica del Voto Nacional and the Iglesia de La Compania de Jesus, considered one of the most beautiful churches in South America.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 3 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 2 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)