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need advice on what to see

Brooklyn, New York
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need advice on what to see

HI all,

I am going to Ecuador by myself January 15-24. I know I need to be careful there (like all travel guides say), but since I am male I will not encounter as many issues as a single girl would. Besides I have traveled in South America before, so am not worried about that.

I will fly into Quito, spend a day or 2 there and then will fly to Galapagos for 3-4 days.

Any recommendations on what I should see in Galapagos and after Galapagos? I was thinking about Oriente, but not sure what I should see considering I will have just a 2-3m days left (cotopaxi, thermal paths, Banos?).

I know that's not much time for such a trip, but unfortunately vacation time is limited.

Also any recommendations for a single traveler on meeting people?

Thanks.

Bristol, United...
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1. Re: need advice on what to see

With such a short time in Galapagos, I would head straight for a travel agent on the main street in Puerto Ayora and see what day tours you can sign up for. They are limited availability and go on specific days so you should grab what you can as soon as possible.

The trip to Bartolome is good for the view (after a long climb) and you may get to see penguins. There is not much living on the actual island.

N. Seymour is a good trip for seeing frigate birds and boobies. Alternatively Plaza is a possibility.

The day trips to Sant Fe do not normally land so are only good if you are a keen snorkeller.

Floreana has some excellent snorkelling and the highland tour is the only place to see the medium tree finch if you are a bird watcher.

On the island of Santa Cruz (from Puerto Ayora) you can take a long walk to Tortuga Bay. You can normally get bay tours and highland tours for the giant tortoise and various finches. There is also the charles darwin research station within walking distance of town - like a Galapagos zoo.

I have never had any problems walking around on my own - and I spent 3 weeks walking there this year. Lots of friendly people and very low crime rate. Be more cautious on mainland Ecuador.

If you consider spending all your time in Galapagos then you will be able to consider a cruise. This is the best way to see the islands as they are so spread out and most cannot be visited by day trips. There are some short cruises until end 2010 but best is a week cruise.

Regards

Dave Peters

Brooklyn, New York
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2. Re: need advice on what to see

thank you for the response.

will I be able to go for a swim there, or will it be too cold in mid january?

any beaches you would recommend?

Also would you recommend staying in Puerto Ayora or will it be better to move from island from island?

anything you would recommend to see on mainland, besides Quito?

Bristol, United...
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3. Re: need advice on what to see

Some people like to wear wetsuits but I find most places in Galapagos are OK without in January. There are a few colder waters that would limit your time in the water without a wetsuit.

Its not really a beach resort as such but Tortuga bay which is a couple of miles walk from Puerto Ayora is an excellent beach. Its often deserted and the walk along the prepared path is worth doing. There are no facilities there so take plenty of water and food if you want. Don't swim at the first beach as there are strong currents but walk along to the sheltered bay which is safe.

The beach at Puerto Villamil on Isabela is also very good and right next to the town. The only problem is that there is only one boat a day which arrives around 4pm and leaves at 6am so you need at least 2 night stay on Isabela.

You could look for an island hopping tour where you stay the night on each inhabited island. I think it is better to stay in Puerto Ayora and take day trips if your time is limited. The island hopping tours are fine but you don't see the more special islands so I mainly recommend them as extras to a cruise or combined with day tours.

I haven't seen much on mainland Ecuador as my stays are just on the way to Galapagos. I did go to BellaVista cloud forest but wasn't really impressed. Maybe on a longer stay you could see more of the surrounding area.

dfw
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4. Re: need advice on what to see

I just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Alta and the only negative experience we had was a member of our party having their carry on bag stolen at the airport in Guayaquil on our way to Galapogas. It included passports and computer and created great stress for our group. We had 16 people in our group and we were all watching our backs, as we had been warned about the airport. The bag was gone in seconds. I hope this warning saves others our experience. 2 in our group did not return with us and we don't know how long they will be there waiting on new passports. The cruise on the Alta was wonderful and Galapogas is amazing. We snorkeled in wet suits. It is very brisk when you get in but we got used to it quickly. Marine life is amazing. We saw sharks, sea turtles, penguins, rays, sea lions and diving Frigatebirds plus a multitude of colorful fish in one hour and a half dive. I cannot comment on where we saw what until I get my pictures all downloaded and reviewed to make sure I do not confuse or mis lead because we changed our itentary enroute due to the desires or our group and age of some of the children with us. Our guide was amazing. Rafael was extremely knowledgeable and patient with our children. Having worked for National Geographic, he even helped us with tips on how to get the best photos. This was the most incredible trip we have ever taken. We visited Isla Genovesa and loved it. Puerto Egas on Isla Santiago and Sombrero Chino off it's coast in the same day. Playa Las Bachas on the north of Santa Cruz with snorkeling on North Seymour was our 4th day itinerary. Isla Bartolome was our 5th day. The National Park and the Highlands on Santa Cruise with shopping in Porta Arayo was our 6th day and this was not my favorite day. Our last day was on Isla Espanola(Hood) with stops at Punta Suarez and snorkeling at Bahai Gardner. Beach was beautiful but only Albatross and American Oystercatcher were wildlife we had not seen in other places in greater abundance.

Ottawa, Canada
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for Galapagos Islands
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5. Re: need advice on what to see

Dear Oasve,

you should take a hard look at your Galapagos plan. It takes just about a full day to get there, and a full day to get back, from Quito (at a total cost of about $550). Given that your travel window is already quite narrow, I fear you are trying to do too much in too little time, and you'll end up a bit frustrated. As noted above, Galapagos is not a beach destination, and unless you can really get out and about amongst the islands, the whole purpose of getting out there will be defeated. You can find tropical coastal towns throughout latin america that are much nicer than Puerto Ayora.

I would suggest you either focus on Galapagos exclusively, which, given your time frame, would be just about ideal, or stay on the continent and visit the jungle, cloud forests, indian markets, high altitude paramo, Quito, Cuenca, or if you like, the coast west of Guayaquil for more beach scene.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

6. Re: need advice on what to see

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