How to get to the Cíes Islands
The Cíes Islands are an earthly paradise that leaves no one indifferent. Everyone who visits them is amazed by the fantastic almost wild nature of the islands, the care with which the environment is maintained and the transparency of the water that bathes its beaches. Many see in this island a reflection of the magical islands of the Caribbean, with the only difference that the days of heat are less and the water temperature is much lower.
Many travelers may wonder how to get to the Cíes Islands. Obviously the answer is: by sea.
Being an island, the only way to reach the Cíes Islands is by boat. However, certain restrictions must also be taken into account when preparing the trip. The reason for these restrictions is the intention to preserve the nature of the islands and the ecological balance by decreasing the existing human pressure on them.
Therefore, when we organize a trip to the Cíes Islands, one of the first steps we must take is to make sure we have a place to go on the desired dates.
To go to the Cíes Islands by boat there are three options: travel with one of the passenger transport boats that depart from Vigo and Cangas, hire an organized excursion or request a permit to anchor on the island and go to the island with your own boat. These three options are possible during the summer. During the low season, which takes place in the coldest months of the year, it is only possible to visit the Cíes Islands by hiring an organized trip with the express authorization of the director of the Natural Park.
At the moment the capacity in the Cíes Islands is limited during the summer to 1,800 people per day from trips with the shipping companies authorized to make trips to the Cíes Islands, 550 people staying at the islands’ campsite and 150 anchorages. In the winter months the limitations are greater and only 250 visits per day are allowed with organized excursions.
Now that we are clear about what we should do to go to the Cíes Islands, it is important that we also take into account what to do to stay in them. Most visitors come to this Natural Park for a single day. They arrive in the morning, visit the islands, do some of the hiking trails and rest on the fantastic beaches to return at the end of the day with one of the boats in which they arrived. Only a few lucky ones stay on the island and can enjoy it at night. The only way to stay in the Cíes Islands is by reserving a place in the island’s campsite, and free camping outside the authorized area is prohibited. As mentioned above, only 550 people can stay at this campsite in one day.
And finally, the rules of behavior must be taken into account. When we travel to the Cíes Islands we are visiting a protected natural area, so certain rules must be strictly followed. Some of these standards are:
- Respect restricted areas where access is not allowed.
- Request permission if you intend to practice scuba diving.
- To fish only in the areas designated for fishing and after receiving authorization.
- Non-native animal species should not be introduced.
- It is essential to keep the noise level low to avoid noise pollution.
- The use of heat sources or barbecues is restricted to specific areas of the park.
In short, the idea is to go to the Cíes Islands and enjoy them while keeping their characteristics intact so that other visitors find the same wonders that we have found.