How to Prepare Your Body and Mind for the Galapagos

View from the top of Bartolome Island.

The Physical Demand

Traveling to the Galapagos Islands cannot really be considered a vacation per se. A vacation typically implies a book on the beach or a leisurely brunch. If you want rest, pick another destination – the Galapagos is all about active adventure. There’s simply too much to see and do around here. Hiking up volcanoes, mountain biking across the landscape, patiently observing wildlife, snorkeling and scuba diving in the diverse underwater marine life. And so, so much more.

Needless to say, all these physical activities you will want to undertake can be demanding for some. You don’t want to end up with sore muscles on your first day, do you? Whether you like to hear it or not, an adventure trip to the Galapagos comes with some physical strings attached. If your everyday life is mostly sedentary, before you leave for the Galapagos you’ll want to spend some time stretching your muscles. Jogging, swimming, cycling, yoga, the gym – have your pick. There’s plenty of physical activity that can get you into shape for facing the physical demands of the Galapagos.

For all its beauty and biodiversity, this remarkable destination can be physically demanding. A typical itinerary for the Galapagos Islands includes two daily excursions, roughly 2 hours each – some on land and others water-based. While naturalist walks do take the time to stop and enjoy the unique flora and fauna, you are out under the strong equatorial sunshine for hours at a time often walking on slick or uneven, rocky terrain. Taking the time to prep ahead of time allows you to more thoroughly enjoy yourself on the trip. Check out How to Prepare for Your First Multi-Sport Adventure Trip. Trust me, you will want to go for those long hikes, climb the volcano, kayak through the blue waters and snorkel in the underwater world of this majestic piece of paradise.

The Mindset

The truth is that the Galapagos ain’t your typical Florida beach resort. You’re in Ecuador. Which means things may and likely will be done differently than they are at home. Isn’t that the point of travel? Secondly, this is island life. Life may move to a calmer pace than you are used to. Allow yourself to sync to the natural rhythm of things.

Even though we’re talking island life, this is not a beach vacation. The Galapagos Islands would be a wildly expensive place to decide to just sip cocktails and work on your tan. For one, there are way better places for beaches. Check out Brazil, Costa Rica or Mexico. For two, this is about wildlife. Days are spent actively exploring.

This is not a DIY destination. 97% of the islands are designated National Park. It is mandated that you be accompanied by a guide while in the park. This means you will be with a guide for much of your time in the Galapagos. Do your research beforehand and make sure you have a good Galapagos Naturalist Guide.

Detour Traveler and Wellness Coach, Becki Rupp, recently returned from a Galapagos Multisport. She asked her guide for insider’s tips to best enjoying the islands. Check out What I Learned From Galapagos Guides for their take on what travelers should know before beforehand.

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