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How long to spend in Galapagos Islands?

Australia
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How long to spend in Galapagos Islands?

We are trying ot organise time in Sth America. Wondered about Galapagos Islands. Are three days enough time to spend in the Galapagos? How much time do we need to allow to get there and back to the the continent?

Many thanks

Margaret

Bristol, United...
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1. Re: How long to spend in Galapagos Islands?

I would say 3 days is not enough. You are going to be paying $400 for flights , $100 to land and $10 for the visitors card so make the most of it.

Flights to galapagos are early morning so you get half a day on your arrival date. Return flights are also morning so little time for anything on the last day. Most cruises give you a short early morning visit on the last day.

The islands are well spread out and the most special islands can only be reached by cruise. I know most people that go to galapagos have a great time on land based or cruise based packages as the islands are so special. However until you have done both land and cruise, you can't judge which is best. I like a combination of cruise and land based but you need 10 days or more for that really.

My first recommendation would be a weeks cruise on a 16 passenger size boat. If you need shorter, consider 4/5 day cruise. Larger boats are available up to about 100 passenger but they are prevented from going to some islands and you may lose some of the feeling of isolation.

If you can't stand the idea of a cruise, stay on Santa Cruz and do day trips to the close islands like N. Seymour, Bartolome, Plaza. Note that its certain days for each island and they do get booked up so don't expect 3 days to be enough to get 3 islands.

You can also book "Island hopping" tours that cover only the populated islands. You stay overnight on each island and move between them by fast boat. The density and diversity of wildlife is less on these islands.

Lastly you can get public boats between the populated islands. There is only one a day so you need to stay on each island for at least 2 nights.

If you need more help or have specific interests, please let me know.

Dave Peters

DP Software

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Galapagos Islands
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2. Re: How long to spend in Galapagos Islands?

Dear Margaret,

I spent 4 years in Galapagos, and had tears in my eyes when I left! You can understand how I must feel when people even consider going there for just three days, asking if it's enough.

But I understand that we are on tight schedules and that vacation time is limited. I'm glad that people are even willing to go to Galapagos for such a short time, demonstrating how high it ranks in people's list of places to experience. It's unique and deserves a certain respect in this regard.

But DP is correct - 3 days would be shortchanging yourself. It's far away, and there are high overhead costs in just getting there. I usually recommend postponing a trip if one only has a short time slot available. Plan something dedicated exclusively for Galapagos, and don't try to "squeeze it in". Galapagos can also be a wonderful mind trip if you want to, and not just another destination.

I know it's not easy planning a trip - having to choose between options. Good luck!

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

3. Re: How long to spend in Galapagos Islands?

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Mukwonago, WI
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4. Re: How long to spend in Galapagos Islands?

I agree. We took a 5 day tour to the Galapagos in February. This really only meant 3 full days as the first day we arrived on the boat (after multiple transfers from the airport) around 2:30 p.m. The last day, we did a small, but memorable excursion after arising at 6:00 a.m. We then departed the boat for the airport at 9:00 a.m. to wait for our 12:30 p.m. flight back to Quito. We went with GAP Adventures, which has 5 day and 9 day (I think) cruises. If you do the long cruise, you will do the complete loop of islands visited by GAP. With the short cruise, you will only see half of it (this is what we did). I was satisfied with my Galapagos experience, but my husband who is an avid photographer wished we had done the longer cruise. Either way, you will have a great time!

Australia
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5. Re: How long to spend in Galapagos Islands?

Thank you all so much for your very helpful comments. You have given us much to think about. Time is the big factor. We could possibly sneak in 5 days (but that would include transfers to and from Quito). Perhaps we will need to think about coming back there another time when we can take longer to visit this wonderful place.

Thank you all very much

Margaret

LA
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6. Re: How long to spend in Galapagos Islands?

margaret,

we spend 12 days there and still wanted more :)

5 day is really the absolute minimum. with 5D4N you should pre-book a cruise so that you spend all 4 nights on a boat.

we met 4 dutch people there in an hotel in isabella. they just finished a 5D4N cruise, were staying there for 4 nights, and they will take another 8D4N crusie!

this would had been my plan had i been able to redo it.

7. Re: How long to spend in Galapagos Islands?

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