People changed the way to travel by looking to reconnect with nature and wildlife meaningfully. Thus, South America is thriving in this challenge, and the Galapagos Islands are standing out by fulfilling what the “new” traveler wants and what the industry needs to recover sustainably.
The “Enchanted Islands” is becoming the trendiest and more suitable destination to travel in the pandemic era because of these five reasons:
1- Digital Detox Destination in South America
People realized they needed to disconnect from the 24/7 digital environment, especially now that we are tired of all the Zoom meetings and virtual socializing. That’s why there is an increasing trend to have a holiday that allows travelers to rest and disconnect from the digital world fully, despite the travel restrictions.
In this case, Galapagos would be one of the most suitable destinations in South America for digitally disconnecting. Why? Because it offers a combination of nature with breathtaking landscapes, unique and rare wildlife in their natural habitat, internet death zones, and isolation.
The archipelago has internet connection on the inhabited islands only. For example, most hotels have a Wi-Fi area, not as high-speed as in Ecuador’s mainland, neither fast enough for streaming, but still helpful in connecting with the outer world. In the case of Galapagos cruises, the options are limited to some big vessels.
The strategy that international tour operators can use is promoting the Galapagos Islands as the Digital Detox destination. They can focus the message on the meaningful nature experience, the uniqueness of wildlife in their natural habitat, and the opportunities to reconnect with simple things and the inner-self.
2- Galapagos Cruises for isolated nature and uncrowded sites
Most international travelers choose cruise trips to discover the archipelago. That’s mainly because Galapagos cruises offer excellent value for money by allowing them to travel to as many places as possible in a few days (six nights journeys on average). Additionally, people can visit remote and uninhabited islands, accessible only by cruising the archipelago.
Galapagos also offers a good offer of small cruise ships that host 16 guests exclusively, ideal for keeping a travel bubble. On the other hand, travelers can choose big vessels too, with ample onboard spaces but possible interaction with many strangers during the trip. Yet, either option offers land expeditions to uncrowded and restricted visit sites, always led by a naturalist guide.
The cruising experience is also top for offering a selection of onboard services such as full board meals, guided excursions, and aquatic activities like kayaking, snorkeling, or paddleboarding.
The most convenient way for travel agencies and designers is to work with a local cruise operator because it gives them commercial advantages, direct communication, constant contact with travelers updates while traveling, and travel requirements information.
If you want to know how cruises impact the Galapagos economy, please check this article for a better understanding.
3- Galapagos Islands Hopping for tailor-made experiences
Galapagos Island Hopping is the perfect option for those who want to travel at their own pace, manage their budget and activities, and wish to experience the local culture and way of life. It may require more logistics, but it is worth putting all the pieces in the travel puzzle. People can feel the freedom to do what they want to do in the time frame they have.
Privacy and convenience are the crucial facts of this Galapagos travel option. Hence, travel experts tailor the experiences based on what travelers want to live within the archipelago. The travelers can visit some tourist sites independently, yet they will require a naturalist guide to access many other areas, arranged in a private tour. The only shared tour option is on navigable day tours, where visitors will be traveling in groups of 12-16 people.
The main disadvantage of the Galapagos Islands hopping is that people cannot access remote islands, staying only on the four inhabited islands (Santa Cruz, Isabela, San Cristobal, and Floreana) and accessing their surroundings. Yet, there are plenty of sites to visit inland or on navigable day tours.
4- Galapagos is a safe destination and fully vaccinated
The Galapagos Islands reopened to welcome tourists in July 2020. After a surprising shutdown that severely affected the local economy, the archipelago and its population evolved as the wildlife has been doing for centuries. Thus, the Galapagos population was the first province fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It also adopted a series of safety measures to guarantee the health of incoming travelers and their locals.
Galapagos will always be a controlled tourist site that avoids crowds and checks travelers before landing on the islands. Today these travel requirements increased, and the checking process strengths too.
Aside from that, local tour operators and hotels adopted international safety measures to guarantee tourist safety with a high standard of service. Additionally, according to national park regulations, Galapagos limits travel group sizes to 16 people per naturalist guide.
Last but not least, Ecuador has been improving its safety risk level internationally after fully vaccinating 9.7 MM people from 18 to 65+, representing approximately 60% of the total population. As a result, the USA CDC recategorized the country as level 3 risk, while Germany removed Ecuador from the high-risk list that advises their nationals to avoid non-essential travel to the country.
Do you want to know how Galapagos recovered from the COVID shutdown in 2020? Please read it here
5- Easy flight connection with international destinations
According to the current demand after the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, the flight connection between the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador’s mainland increased. Let’s remember that Galapagos has two airports, in Baltra and San Cristobal, that receive regular flights from Quito and Guayaquil, which are getting more connectivity with the USA and Europe.
By summing up all these facts, while considering that people’s travel sentiment is steadily increasing, and international borders are reopening after the vaccines are rolling out, Galapagos can be the natural destination international nature lovers need nowadays to disconnect digitally and reconnect innerly.