• Family hiking,  Galapagos Islands

Do you need to be fit to enjoy the Galapagos Islands?

Do you need to be fit to enjoy the Galapagos Islands?

With their rugged volcanic hinterlands edged by an inviting green, white and turquoise margin, the Galápagos Islands are certainly photogenic enough to be enjoyed from the deck of a ship. From this vantage point, you’ll observe boobies arrowing into the ocean and spy the heads of sea lions as they nose above the surface. Neither is any fitness required to board a small motor launch and disembark in a string of locations populated by iguanas, giant tortoises and sea lions. 

Moreover, the quirks of the Galápagos Islands’ location – strewn across the tropics but cooled by the Humboldt Current – ensure that the climate is neither oppressively hot nor especially humid. The hotter, wetter season runs from December to May, during which time the air temperature averages 25°C and the sea is warmed under clear skies. The dry season, running from June to November, is not drastically different in character, but increased mist and cloud do tend to bring the air temperature down by a few degrees and prevent the sun from taking the chill off the water. 

Therefore, visitors with sun hats and ample sunscreen need not fear the climate that prevails in this tropical anomaly. 

Swimming with turtles, Galapagos Islands

However, to truly get the most out of a visit to this unique archipelago, you do need to take a hike to reach the best beaches, perches and perspectives. So, if you plan to climb a volcano for a stunning panoramic vista, stroll on the flour-soft sands of Tortuga Beach or join the blue-footed boobies and waved albatross atop the cliffs of Española, you need to be able to walk at a moderate pace for up to one hour each way through the dry heat and, potentially, up and down a steady slope.

That’s not all, though. Besides having a couple of hours of hiking power in your bodily batteries, you should also go to the Galápagos physically prepared for a swim in the Pacific. It would be a terrible shame if you had the chance to take the plunge with penguins or snorkel near sea lions but let a low level of fitness dissuade you from getting wet. If you do go for it, though, you have to keep moving in these relatively cool waters to keep the shivers at bay – and this is especially the case if you’ve dived from your boat into the open ocean. 


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