Because the Galapagos Islands have so many endemic species, a trip there takes up space on many bucket lists.
However, for some people, living in the presence of sea lions, giant tortoises, and blue-footed boobies is a way of life. According to the Galapagos Conservatory, the islands hold about 25,000 legal residents and 1,800 temporary residents.
Lucky for us, the Lead Adventures staff has someone who was once one of these inhabitants. Elizabeth Gallardo, our sales local specialist, often helps our volunteers plan their trips from a local’s perspective. We decided to interview her about what it was like to live in a place that so many people only dream about.
How did you get a chance to live there?
The most precious thing for me is my family. So after seven years away from Ecuador, I decided that it was time to visit my grandparents, who live in the Galapagos Islands. I ended up staying there for two years.
How did your perspective of the Galapagos Islands change when you started living there?
The Galapagos Islands have animals in the air, in the water, and on the land. When you’re surrounded by that many rare animals, it makes you realize how important it is to take care of every creature and live responsibly. While living there, I was never able to forget this message and it increased my appreciation for the wildlife. I’m happy to work for Lead Adventures because I can make sure that the environment I lived in isn’t damaged by tourism.
How is living in the Galapagos Islands different than living anywhere else?
The islands are filled with impressive natural treasures. When you’re just visiting, you want to see as much as you can in the time that you have there. But when you’re living there, you have more time to breathe, take in the natural surroundings, and understand how peaceful it can actually be.
What activities do you do there in your spare time?
Now that I think about it, I never had much spare time while I was there. But whenever I had time, I loved lying down on the beach and looking for shooting stars.
What advice would give you to anyone who’s going to the Galapagos for a visit?
I would say that if you’re looking for a way to soak in as much as you can, do our Galapagos Experience program because it’s more land-based. When you’re on a boat the whole time you don’t get as much time to soak in everything.