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Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 07:50 AM   #1
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Galapagos tour recommendations please

My family has the opportunity to go to the Galapagos this summer. I have been looking on line for tour information and am quite frustrated. The information is incomplete, dated, and inconsistent. Prices are often not available. We are working with an agent, but want to give her some direction.

We are looking at 7-8 day tours. We want to spend about $5,000 for 4 for the cruise; plus airfare to the island, state park fees, tips, etc. This should be doable at tourist class and want to see as much as we can.

Has anyone gone and do you have a specific boat or tour company that you'd recommend?

Thanks!
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 09:49 AM   #2
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Hi, Sandy,

My name is John, I live in Galapagos. I can assist you in all areas of your trip, but what time of year were you thinking of coming? You should be able to get a boat for that timeframe and price ($5000) for 4 persons, but that will just be the boat.

Also I can help you out with the best flight options, its often cheaper to book you tickets on this end.

Whatever you do, do NOT miss the Island of Isabela, often the boat tours do not take you there, and it is certainly one of the highlights of the Isalnds.

Galapagos is an wonderful place, thats why I have chosen to live here. I am sure you will more than enjoy it.

Regards,

John
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 10:04 AM   #3
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Wow, I just googled Galapagos. I'm going to have to add it to my trip list !!!
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 10:12 AM   #4
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

John:

First let me say welcome to the boards!. This is a great place for information on everythin, with lot of inane humor as well. Everyone is helpful and encouraging. Well, almost everyone....

How long have you lived there? What inspired you to locate there?

We are planning on visiting in June; we hope to get in at the end of the low season. We noticed that many ships do not go to Isabella and that is why we are leaning toward the Tropic Sun, but web pricing information is dated. Do you know this boat/tour? Can you recommend any others? Any and all guidance is appreciated.

We are pairing this with a trip to LaSalva in the jungle. That is the gift to us; the Galapagos is our gift to ourselves since we will "be in the area".

We are all very excited. Please feel free to PM me.

Thanks again and welcome a board.
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 11:33 AM   #5
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Sandy:

Thanks for you welcome.

I have lived here for 3 years now. I was formerly a Mega-Yacht Captain and cruised around the Caribbean and Med, taking care of the affluent for 15 years. When I finally decided to go shore based, a friend called me and asked if I would like to sail with him from Panama to Tahiti on a catamaran he had just purchased, I jumped at the chance, because I had never really sailed, only motored.

It was not our intent to stop at Galapagos, we were going direct to Tahiti, but due to a couple of strong gales we lost a few sails and had to change course fo the nearest land mass "GALAPAGOS". I was thrilled because I wanted to come in the first place, but my friend was in a hurry to get to Tahiti. A planned 3 day stop turned into 2 months, we finally departed and made it to Tahiti, which I did not really care for, so I jumped on a plane and came back, and here I am. A few gusts of wind changed my life.

June is a good time to come, it's a little cooler, although more cloudy. I am checking on Tropic Sun, but it seems that they are not in operation at the momment, have you been able to contact them?

It seems that you would prefer a larger boat, and there are many of these, my only comment about boat cruises, is that they wish to keep you onboard all the time, so you spend your money with them, and for this the local community suffers.

The Jungle is great, if you need help there let me know.

Regards,

John

Time here now is: 11.30 am Temp: 28C, sunny.



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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 12:48 PM   #6
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

What a great story. Amazing how a random events affect our lives. You don't say if you are FIREd or still a young dreamer (That's me). Please take the time to introduce yourself to all.

I have not contacted any boat, just looking on line at present. I would prefer a smaller boat (one of the 16 passenger options), but my DH is worried we will feel too squeezed. Also, many of the smaller boats do not go to Isabela, and we wanted to do this.

Thanks for the heads up about boats wanting to keep you on board. We want to spend as much time exploring, hiking, and snorkeling as possible. Are smaller boats more accomodating on this? Thanks again for any input. We expect to do this trip only once and want it done well.

Currently living in sunny Florida (ok rain today) so warm is ok, clouds to keep the skin cancer at bay is also ok. As long as we don't get washed away in torrential rain.

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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 02:54 PM   #7
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

One option would be to take a shorter boat tour 3-4 days, then fly 20 minutes to Isabela, or get the boat 2 hours, and spend 3 days in Isabela in a nice hotel on the beach and 2 days in Santa Cruz, and do day excursions in both places. You will see the same and have more independence.

Thats what would do.


Totruga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 03:20 PM   #8
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Thanks for this suggestion. I will discuss with DH tonight.
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I would not have anyone adopt my mode of living...but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father's or his mother's or his neighbor's instead. Thoreau, Walden
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 03:46 PM   #9
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

I have done some checking on Tropic Sun, and I can assure you that, at this moment in time, they are not operating here, they used to, but now the vessel is in Guayaquil.
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 04:04 PM   #10
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galapagos
A few gusts of wind changed my life.
thank you. this is the image, for me, that makes re worthwhile.

ps, helen, i'll race you there.
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 06:40 PM   #11
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
thank you. this is the image, for me, that makes re worthwhile.

ps, helen, i'll race you there.
Better hurry, I'm already packed !
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 07:37 PM   #12
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Sandy:

I visited the Galapagos Islands a year ago and absolutely loved it. We traveled on teh Integrity thru Inca tours. Beautiful boat, great guide. I have lots of photos including Isabela and several other islands that we visited and lots of underwater shots from snorkeling. If you want to get a fell for what you will see take a look here.

Here are thumbnails shots of the famous Blue Footed Booby and of a shark I chased:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg KarenBoobyEsp808.highlight.jpg (10.9 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg 1345w.highlight.jpg (13.0 KB, 4 views)
Attached Files
File Type: jpg_thumb 1345w.highlight.jpg_thumb (35.9 KB, 1 views)
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 07:58 PM   #13
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff
I visited the Galapagos Islands a year ago and absolutely loved it.
Don, how did you decide to go to the Galapagos ?

Sandy, how about you ?
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-01-2007, 08:36 PM   #14
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Hi Don,

Yep Integrity is a beautiful boat, with a good crew.
Nice photos, I know your guide Andreas.
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-02-2007, 08:16 AM   #15
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen
Don, how did you decide to go to the Galapagos ?

Sandy, how about you ?
DW and I had it on our "eventually" list for a long time. My sister went a few years ago and described it as the best trip of her life. We like nature, snorkeling and diving - Galapagos is great for all of those activities. I had also recently read "The Selfish Gene" so I was interested in evolution and Darwin. By happenstance some friends of ours were going and invited us to join them. They are "planners" and handled all the logistics for us -- we just sent a check and enjoyed :-)
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-02-2007, 08:25 AM   #16
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galapagos
Hi Don,

Yep Integrity is a beautiful boat, with a good crew.
Nice photos, I know your guide Andreas.
Andreas was on his own vacation that week. Our guide was Claus (on the left in the photo). He was very good - masters in biology or something, easy going, and knowledgeable.
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File Type: jpg claus.jpg (54.0 KB, 8 views)
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-02-2007, 08:35 AM   #17
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

We went to the Galapagos a few years back and had an unbelievable time. We went through gap adventures (www.gapadventures.com). The price was reasonable. Our guide was the involved in getting the internet started in Equador and also involved in the tourism of the Galapagos. He was the only one on board, at the time, who spoke English. It was fantastic!!!
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please
Old 02-02-2007, 09:00 AM   #18
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Re: Galapagos tour recommendations please

Good morning all:

First, my DH and kids like the idea of a shorter boat ride and then a few days on our own on Isabela for land-based excursions, so that is the approach we will take. We are now looking at tours and options.

How we decided to go? My parents had gone to LaSelva in the amazon jungle and to the Galapagos about 15 years ago. See LaSelva:
http://www.discoveramazonia.com/ecuador/laselva.htm

They are now in their 80's and wanted to give us something special for our milestone birthdays this year (I turned 50 and my DH will turn 60). Knowing we like camping, nature, hiking they offered us a trip to LaSelva. It is extraordinarily generous. They argued that they would like to see us enjoy ourselves rather than leave it to us later. They also know that if they gave $$, we wouldn't spend it in the same way and they didn't want to get us "stuff".

In the meantime, my DH was able to cash out unused annual leave, giving us the extra funds to support a side trip - so, the Galapagos became the logical tie in. So, we will spend a few days in LaSelva -you can only get there by canoe, the rooms are open huts with mosquito netting - and then go to the Galapagos, for more nature, snorkling, and hiking. Generally our vacations are spent visiting family, camping within a few hours drive, or going to nearby beaches, so this is something quite amazing for us.

Donheff and frugal-one, I am glad you enjoyed your trips. Everyone I have ever spoken to says it is unparalleled. I will look into the boat and tour companys you used. I'll keep you posted!

Sandy



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