The world’s ultimate striped marlin and giant blue marlin destination is not as far and as expensive as you may think. Talking to many prospecting anglers we find that some have misconceptions and biased ideas about what the Galapagos Islands fishery is and isn’t. There is a reason why 3 out of 5 anglers that fish with us return to fish several more times and some every year.
Besides having the most consistent large striped marlin fishery 12 months out of the year it is also fast becoming the go to destination to target giant and grander blue marlin in the Pacific. If you are missing out because you think it’s too expensive, too far, unsafe or inadequate accommodations then you need to think again as we expose each of these misguided fallacies about the Galapagos Islands and its incredible billfishing.
1- It’s too far and takes too long to get there?
Most great fisheries take long flights and sometimes several days of travel. By the same token the fishing can be very good because it is not so easy for everyone to fish there. If you are an angler coming from the USA then the Galapagos are in the backyard of the Americas better known as South America. The Galapagos Islands belong to the country of Ecuador. They are a province and a national park located 568 nautical miles West off the coast of mainland Ecuador.
Ecuador does not require Visas for US Citizens or Europeans so there is not much in the way of paperwork to enter other than a valid passport and currently for covid a PCR test. To fly into Guayaquil or Quito, the two main cities in Ecuador with international airports takes about a 4 hour flight from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Most of our anglers overnight in Guayaquil and take a direct 1 hour and 40 minute flight to the Galapagos the next day.
2- It’s too expensive?
As a very successful old man once told us ” If everyone could afford the best fishing destinations in life then those places are probably not the best”. If you compare our average complete packages, the per person rates are usually lower than most high end cruises. Our prices are very compatible or slightly higher than some of the best fishing lodges in Costa Rica, Panama and Guatemala.
The main difference is people pay good money to fish for sailfish in Central America why not pay to fish arguably the best marlin waters in the world? International fishing is not cheap but neither is making an exotic destination work well for fishing. Keep in mind that you are fishing in a national park, Unesco World Heritage Site and a marine reserve. The privilege of being able to open up and fish these pristine waters came at a tremendous cost to our small outfitting company and years of sacrifice.
3- What if I travel to Galapagos and catch no fish?
Well it’s called fishing and not catching for a reason. No operator in the world can guarantee you are going to catch fish everyday. However, 98% of our thousands of anglers fishing over 23 years in the Galapagos have caught what they came for to fish. We recommend in most cases fishing at least 3 days for striped marlin and 5 days for blue marlin.
Seasoned anglers know that more time on the water usually yields more shots at billfish. The Galapagos are a world class striped marlin destination and a premium grander blue marlin location. If you are going to roll the dice, travel, spend the money and fish would you not want to do it where the odds are in your favor?
4- The Galapagos Islands are a national park so no fishing allowed?
Ecuagringo was the first company to fight and unite locals to push for legalizing fishing with tourist in the Galapagos. Our legendary boats of yesterday Striper and Big Fish pioneered the waters off many of the islands and put in the days and years to find the best fishing spots. At the same time we challenged the National Park in the courts and at the government level in order to provide safe and legal fishing for anglers. It took almost 8 years of fighting initially and court battles until finally the first permits in 2006 were issued to regulate an activity that had really been regulating itself through catch and release.
Today we have to deal with lots of red tape that increase our operational costs such as carrying a certified park guide onboard, high insurance for boats, and high Galapagos National Park permit fees. Last but no least we deal with armada/port and naval fees that in exchange do little to benefit the fishing sector. Nevertheless, year after year our company continues to provide the best boats, crews, tackle and fishing experiences available in the Galapagos.
5- There is no infrastructure and people still walk barefoot and naked?
Yes there are those who think the Galapagos Islands are only inhabited by monkeys, birds and giant tortoises. There are no monkeys in the Galapagos but there are lots of giant tortoises and birds. In fact almost 30,000 humans live in 4 populated islands in the archipelago. Two airports able to land commercial jets, 4 marine ports, cell reception in all towns and hotels that lodge over over 300,000 tourist on an average year would argue otherwise.
We can customize a package to fit in most cases the level of comfort you wish to enjoy. However, the Galapagos do offer that back in time feel where there is enough nature and tranquility to mesmerize most outdoor lovers.
6- The boats are not adequate for billfishing?
Thousands of striped and blue marlin released by anglers from around the world show otherwise. Discerning anglers that repeat year after year both San Cristobal’s striped marlin bite and Isabela’s giant blue marlin bite will differ. Our 36 ft custom sportfishers have outriggers, fighting chairs, bridge, salon, enclosed head and just about everything and angler needs to spend a day on the water chasing billfish.
7- Is it not safe?
The Galapagos Islands have virtually no violent crime involving tourist. There are no pick pockets, kidnappers or pirates. Being almost 600 miles offshore it is just too far to support any type of crime that would affect tourist. Most locals live directly or indirectly from tourism and they understand the need to protect tourist.
8- There is nothing else to do besides fishing?
Over 300,000 yearly tourist would differ with this train of thought. Many come to Galapagos to enjoy the natural wonders they offer. Diving, snorkeling, kayaking, beaches, horseback riding, surfing, island hopping and hiking are just some of the most common activities. We can customize an itinerary that is just right for you. If you have anglers and non-anglers in your group there is something for everyone to do.
9- Currency exchange is a problem?
The national Ecuadorian currency used in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is the USA Dollar. Yes you read right. Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are dollarized in USA Dollars.
10- Credit cards are not accepted?
Most establishments, restaurants and stores will accept credit cards. While cash is king there is no need to carry piles of cash while you stay in Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands. Our company also accepts deposits with credit cards as soon as you are ready to book.