In a special place within the Pacific Ocean, sea lions dive off black rock promontories. Giant turtles mate in open waters and mother whales skim the surface with their young calves in tow. The Galapagos Islands teem with wildlife. They sing with bird calls and explode with technicolor sunsets. Many visitors plan and save for years before they can finally make their way to the famous archipelago where Charles Darwin researched his theory of evolution. So when your tickets are booked and your cruise cabin or hotel room is waiting, remember to include these five items on your Galapagos Islands packing list for a smooth and memorable travel experience.
#1 No Tears Baby Shampoo
Of course, this shampoo can be used as directed; however, in the Galapagos Islands no tears baby shampoo turns a snorkeling day into a high definition event. Five minutes before hitting the water, smear one drop inside and outside of your mask. Just before diving in, rinse out the mask thoroughly and slip it over your face. The solution prevents fogging so no matter how long you chase sea lions, the goggles will always be clear.
#2 Digital Underwater Camera
Some people come to the Galapagos with digital SLR cameras, complete with a suite of interchangeable lenses and bodies. But if you bring only one camera, make sure it works on land and sea. All the major brands make a version of underwater digital cameras, some with shock proof casing. Without needing to change modes, jump from the panga boat into the waves and snap away.
#3 Dry Sack
Almost any Galapagos vacation will require that you get on a boat, whether it be a cruise ship or a dinghy. Dry sacks are sold in most sporting goods stores and can keep valuables and water-sensitive items safe from the splashing tide. They are light weight and easy to pack in carry-on luggage. Money, watches and electronics will now have extra protection as you cut across Darwin’s Bay. The dry sacks come in different sizes, so you can customize which items should go inside.
#4 Sun Block
While this may seem obvious, it’s important enough to repeat: The sun is extremely strong in the Galapagos Islands. As you explore the national park, you’re likely to cross the equator over a dozen times. Don’t be fooled by cool mornings. The sun can still burn unprotected skin through cloud cover. Make sure each person has their own bottle of sun block over 30 SPF. During a five-day trip, one person can easily use an entire bottle — especially when snorkeling 2 to 3 times a day — making re-application necessary.
#5 Polarizing Lens Filters
Along with protecting your skin, it’s important to protect your camera. The sun can seem bleach white and intense throughout most of the day. By purchasing polarizing lens filters, travelers can prevent sun spots in pictures and help images tease out the array of colors in a single shot. Lens filters work like sunglasses. If you are squinting, your eyes are straining against the sunlight. Similarly, cameras need a little extra shade. Your photos and video will come out richer in color and crisper in clarity.
A Galapagos Islands Vacation is all about the experience. Travelers should consider packing these items to make their journey smoother and more memorable.