Published: May 22nd 2012May 22nd 2012
Great for Seniors!
Crowds of AARP folks tromping along sidewalks with you.
If you are elderly, overweight, disabled, have mobility issues . . . the Galapagos is a great place for you to visit nature. However, if you can walk a mile or hike a trail, and if you think of seeing nature as a walk in the woods or exploring mountains or the jungles of Costa Rica, then the Galapagos will be the biggest sucker move you will ever make. Let's help you get started on learning why this trip is awful for anyone who has snorkeled in the Carribean, Australia, Honduras, etc. or who has even been to Sea World. First off: Over touristed. This is a HUGE money maker for the Ecuadorian government, and they know it. Air fare is government regulated and a minimum $450 a pop as of May (off season) 2012. Next, you probably will want to book a boat tour before going, because NOTHING says "sucker" like paying bucks for air fare and hotel, only to find all the boats are booked. Slap on a grand or two for that. Now, here's where the money comes in- take a look at the photo of the plane disgorging two stairfuls of tourists. There are five of these
Buy lots of junk at the touristy Galapagos Airport!
per day. And no . . . they are not spread over a large area, as you'll soon see. As I said, this is for people with cash to burn and who can't be more active. However, for what you pay, you'll soon learn below that it's a better deal to go to the zoo or an aquarium than the Galapagos. Tourists flood this place with huge suitcases to go around like Disneyland. Heck, on some of these boats I'm sure there's dinners like a Carnival cruise. Just what you expected when going to see nature, eh? What happened that so many people love this and I found it appalling? Between 2011 and 2012, the Ecuadorean government imposed severe restrictions on each island. It's now a very, very expensive Sea World. Now, the good part. You're thinking maybe that you go to Galapagos, hike around the islands, get to interact with birds, sea lions, etc. Wrong!! This thing is regulated like you can't imagine. You go to an island, your "guide" (actually a policeman) makes sure you stay on the 1.5 meter wide path for the designated 200 meters, before turning right around and coming right back. That's right- it's
Yup, five full flights per day pack the limited areas open to the public
like walking around Sea World tanks. No exploring, just do what you're told. Think it's any better for snorkeling? Guess again: there are 10 times more areas where you CANNOT snorkel/dive than where you can, and even those areas are restricted. Check out the photo, you and a few other groups are all going around in your regimented troupes, and you are NEVER the only ones on the islands. You'll see plenty of this along with the birds. Oh, wait! Think if you go by a cruise boat you'll avoid the rush hour? Think again- you will NEVER be the only boat docked on an island. There's too much money to be made, so there's always LOTS of tourists and boats around to keep you company. What a wonderful way to see nature, just like Darwin. (not). Speaking of Darwin, do you really think that 5 day cruise package is 5 days? Then you're a total sucker. Day 1: Going to the Darwin center, a 50 year old poorly maintained zoo where they have captive land turtles (the only ones you'll see) penned up. Want to see baby turtles? Look in the box they keep them in. Just like Sea
Only thing missing are wheelchair ramps!
World. Oh, except you dropped thousands of dollars first. Sucker. Day 5: check out, just like a Carnival cruise! Except with Spartan food and accommodations. Suckered again. I've got a great photo of the cement stairs they put on one island so all the folks with knee arthritis can explore the island on the 200 meter path. You stick to what they give you, and the ranger cop is ALWAYS with you. You are NEVER unsupervised here. Just like prison. Fun, huh? The only thing you'll see more of are the posts showing where you can walk and the STOP signs showing where you can't walk. Oh, and when you're done, check out the trinkets you can get flooded with at the airport and in town (yup, there's a nice big city with folks living there who've never been to any islands). Look, this is a scam. I'm not blaming the Ecuadorean government, they're trying to make a buck and protect the environment here. But unless you are so immobile you can't see nature other ways, stay away from the Galapagos. Total scam.
There are more photos below