Since we arrived here everyone can’t help but describe Galápagos as a paradise. Even with a population of only a few thousand its not exactly easy to be bored on San Cristóbal. Unfortunately, this can make things very difficult travelers who are determined to have a bad experience. In general travel writing consistently excludes folks who just don’t want to have a good time. To fill this obvious gap, I’ve put together the following guide. These techniques are guaranteed to make the extraordinary unbearable. Just stick to the guide and you won’t be able to wait to go home.
5 Easy Steps to Have a Terrible Time in the Galápagos
1) Stay indoors all day and don’t even bother leaving the town
You’ll be able to see the beach from the main study area at the university. Don’t let it tempt you. Go straight home after class and just sit on your bed, hopefully your family will have good WiFi so you can maintain all those important social media accounts from back home. The island’s not actually as small as it’s made out to be but that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself cabin fever. It’ll be hard to stay to stay cooped up indoors especially because your classes will take you on excursions to snorkel, hike, or even go to different islands. The trick most people don’t realize though is that you can just refuse to participate, you already paid for all this, and no one’s going to force you to have fun.
2) Communicate with your family only when absolutely necessary
Host families here are excited to have a student from a distant country living in their home. They’re eager to learn about you and are genuinely interested in your life. They’ll regularly ask if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend and ask “Why?” if not. The easiest way to avoid all this is of course to just refuse to learn Spanish. If you learn five or so words you can act like your practicing; they’ll never catch on that you don’t actually care. Of course, if you’re unfortunate enough to already know the language you still have options. Avoid conversation by eating as quickly as possible so there’s always food in your mouth when they ask you a question, then run out the door as soon as you’re done.
3) Avoid other travelers and the locals too for that matter
The Galapagos are a destination for travelers around the world; I’ve met professional divers, research scientists, and volunteers from all over Europe, the U.S., and beyond. If you go out of your way to talk to people you might meet someone interesting. The point is, try not to go to any community events or anything that involves socializing. For example, every other Friday they hold a cultural show on the main street with dancing, singing and other talents. Along with fairs and parades its best to steer clear of these events because of the likelihood someone might strike up a conversation. This goes for the people who live here as well, they know the island better than anyone and if you make friends they might drag you along on some ridiculous adventure.
4) Don’t try new things
Living here in is the perfect opportunity to learn how to surf or scuba dive, there’s a different agency that you can get certified at on practically every block. There’s lots of volunteering opportunities as well. You could pick up new skills by teaching English at the elementary schools, assisting with a research project, or working on a farm. Any of these activities will inevitably enrich your life at the very least by forcing to meet new people or even just getting to know your classmates better. Instead, just go to the one club on the island every chance you get. The music is the always the same, and if you dance in the same spot, nights will fly by without a whiff of excitement.
5) Avoid the wildlife at all costs
The single biggest reason to come to the Galapagos is for the wildlife. The creatures here are unique, awe inspiring, and absolutely everywhere. Luckily if you’ve been following the instructions this far there shouldn’t be a problem. Just stay off boats and out of the water because your chances are good that you’ll see a whales or end up swimming with dolphins or sharks. Some terribly unlucky folks have experienced all three. You won’t have to be quite as cautious on land. Just make sure to stay in town and avoid the northern part of the island, and you’ll be sure to never run into any of those famous tortoises.
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<p>I grew up in Eatonville, a small town in Washington just outside the entrance to Mount Ranier National Park, but I moved to Seattle two years ago for college. There's a lot more to do in the city than back home; I've taken dance lessons, played clarinet in a campus band, and this summer I learned how to sail. Exposure to nature here is limited though. I used to go hike in the national park after work, but now I feel like I hardly leave the library! In the Galápagos I plan to spend plenty of time outside both on land and sea.</p>