The Cíes Islands are paradise on earth which will definitely take your breath away! Everyone who visits the islands are amazed by their stunning, almost wild beauty, the care with which the environment is kept pristine and the clearness of the waters of the beaches. Many find that they bear much similarity with the magical islands of the Caribbean, with the only differences being lesser scorching hot days and the lower water temperature.
Many people ask how they can get to the Cíes Islands. And the answer is obviously: by sea.
The only way to get to the Cíes Islands is by boat. But it’s also a good idea to bear in mind certain restrictions when planning your trip. The reason behind these restrictions is the preservation of the natural beauty of the islands and the balance of nature by decreasing the pressure exerted by humans on them.
This is why when you’re organising a trip to the Cíes Islands, one of the very first things you have to look into is making sure that there’s availability for you to go on the dates you want.
To go to the Cíes Island by boat, you have three options: riding one of the passenger ferries departing from Vigo and Cangas, joining an organised tour, or applying for an anchoring permit for the islands and going there with your own boat. These three options are available in summer. In the off-season during the coldest months of the year, the only way to get to the Cíes Islands is by joining an organised tour which has the requisite authorisation from the director of this Nature Reserve.
At the moment, in summer, only 1,800 people per day can go to the Cíes Islands as a passenger aboard one of the ferries authorised to travel to the Cíes Islands; only 550 people can stay at the campsite in the islands; and only 150 boats can drop anchor. In winter, there are even more restrictions and only 250 people are allowed to visit as part of an organised tour.
Now that you know that you have to do to get to the Cíes Islands, it’s also important to remember what you have to do if you want to stay overnight. Most of the visitors to the Nature Reserve are day-trippers. They get there in the morning, go see the islands, go on one of the hiking trails and then kick back and relax on the spectacular beaches to return at the end of the day aboard one of the ferries with which they got there. Only a few are lucky enough to stay on the island and enjoy it at night. The only way to stay on the Cíes Islands is by making a booking at the only campsite. Camping outside the designated area is strictly forbidden. As mentioned above, only 550 people can stay at the campsite per day.
Lastly, the rules of conduct are also worth bearing in mind. When going to the Cíes Islands, you are visited a protected natural area, which is why you must strictly abide by certain rules. Some of these rules are:
- Do not go into restricted areas where access is not allowed.
- Apply for a permit if you wish to go scuba diving.
- Go fishing only in designated areas and after receiving authorisation to do so.
- Do not bring in non-native animal species.
- It is essential to keep the noise level down to avoid noise pollution.
- Using heat sources or having barbecues is restricted to certain areas of the park.
In short, going to the Cíes Islands means enjoying them while helping to keep their unique characteristics intact so that other visitors can also enjoy their beauty in the same way you have.