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How to choose the itenary..?

Palo Alto...
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601 posts
39 reviews
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How to choose the itenary..?

Hello

We are going to be in Ecuador the last week of March. Is it a high season..?

People in the forum talk about the itenary they liked. I am with my two daughters (15 and 16). We like to snorkle, kayak and hike. Main purpose is to enjoy the nature and wild animals. Is every island special for some kind of animals..? How to choose our islands or itenary..;-)

Never dived. Will we be able dive (with the instruction provided in the boat)..! (i may sound dump...but curious).

Going to be there for 9 days. If we take the 7 day trip, no time for land. Is it worth sacrificing the land for the sea..? (we'll come back to the land later).

Thank you in advance.

Pensacola, Florida
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1. Re: How to choose the itenary..?

Hi CG,

Wow not too much time.. just enough for a nice short galapagos cruise

www.gotmyfare.com good packages on the Legend if budget is tight..

other options www.galapagosXpeditions.com...

Might try to get certified B4 you come to SCUBA dive safely

but beginners dives can be arranged with local divemasters

under carefu supervision in safe shallow areas..

Happy Hunting,

Bristol, United...
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850 posts
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2. Re: How to choose the itenary..?

In Galapagos you find different species on different islands and the widest diversity will be found by visiting the islands in the far corners.

Here are some of the highlights you might want to consider including:

Genovesa - Red footed boobies, fur seal (actually not a true seal), clouds of storm petrels.

Espanola - closest you will get to nesting blue footed boobies

Fernandina - youngest island, a different landscape, flightless cormorants.

Bartolome - Best view in Galapagos, likely sightings of penguins in surrounding waters.

The west coast of Isabela is good for marine life. On a land visit, the highlands of Floreana are the only place to see the medium tree finch but its very rare that a cruise takes you to the highlands.

You should see iguanas, blue footed boobies, sealions, finches etc on any cruise.

If you have to choose between cruise and land then I would go for cruise every time but there are also things to do on land if you have the time.

I would not recommend diving unless you have experience. Most trips will not accept you unless you are certified and have 30 logged dives. The most interesting places are too dangerous for beginners and there are cheaper places to learn than Galapagos. Land visit cruises are not allowed to offer diving now so the only way to combine is to leave the cruise for a day while the rest of your party does a land visit. Its better to stay on the islands before a cruise to dive.

It is the smaller boats that go to Genovesa - large boats are not allowed. Groups on the islands are restricted to 16 per guide so there are many boats for 16 passengers and thats often considered to be a good size.

Dave Peters

DP Software

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Quito, Ecuador
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9,859 posts
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3. Re: How to choose the itenary..?

Remember that you're not exactly "sacrificing land for sea." You'll have shore excursions twice a day, and much of the sailing is at night to optimize your time.

I agree with DP re: diving. You don't want to spend your very limited time here in a four-day course. Newly certified, you will be so wrapped up trying to remember what to do you probably won't enjoy what's around you. The better dives are for advanced divers anyway. The snorkeling is really good; invest in a good mask, snorkel, and wetsuit that you can use when you do take SCUBA classes.

I think you're smart to dedicate this trip to Galapagos, and vow to spend time on the mainland later--it's a fantastic country. And do try to wrestle more time out of your schedule next time!

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Galapagos Islands
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4. Re: How to choose the itenary..?

Dear CG -

your daughters should have a wonderful time. Are they already comfortable in the water? Snorkeling will already give you a wonderful introduction to underwater life. March is a great time of year - waters are at their warmest. Diving in Galapagos is mostly done via land based dive operators - only a few ships offer the occasional ship based diving, at extra cost. Have you already chosen a ship? If not, you should start working on that, given you very narrow time frame. The lowest costs ships tend to have less adventurous itineraries (e.g. keeping fuel costs down). Otherwise, just about any decent itinerary in Galapagos will give you a wonderful exposure to the diversity of landscapes, seascapes and wilderness.

I tend to think that if you have to choose between a land based and a ship based visit, the ship based will give you a better overall opportunity to see Galapagos wildlife and diversity, as well as providing you with that "mental trip", where you are far away from civilization, on a small boat, in the middle of no-where.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

Quito, Ecuador
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651 posts
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5. Re: How to choose the itenary..?

If there are any particular animal species you are interested in (highlighted above by DP!), then choose an itinerary based on where that wildlife is located. Also a good idea to choose a ship that meets yours (and your daughters´) travel style. Ships range from "economical" to "luxury", and you tend to get what you pay for in Galapagos.

I would recommend returning to Galapagos once you are a skilled diver, as the best sites are advanced, and you would lose a land visit from the cruise if you head out with a local dive operation for the am.

Only a few boats currently have kayak permission, so check with your booking agent about that issue as well.

March is a great time for the islands...but really hot! Be sure to bring lots of sun protection.

Have a great time.

Quito, Ecuador
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1,483 posts
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6. Re: How to choose the itenary..?

Hi cgunny,

I am a diver and a Naturalist/Culture Guide in Ecuador, and I can see Qwovadis gives great advice. If thinking about diving you can try a "Discovery dive". Best place for learnning Scuba would be San Cristobal island, they have nice calm bays and great dive shops there with real affordable prices.

Feliz buceo!

Dennis Yepes

Palo Alto...
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601 posts
39 reviews
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7. Re: How to choose the itenary..?

Thank you all for your great advise.

Decide to take the cruise min. 5 days, but planning for 7 days. One bird/wild life vs. other, i have no preference. I will read more and decide on the itenary. But one thing that I realized is that not to go with the ship that comes backs to the shore pick or drop people for 3/5 itenary.

No diving.

I have another question related to departing time, that will post as a different thread.

Also, because of the cost involved, i am planning to wait til march before buying any...going to go with the last minute deals (risks known and willing to live with it)

Thanks again. Will post my experience.

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Galapagos Islands
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3,044 posts
14 reviews
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8. Re: How to choose the itenary..?

Dear CGunny,

having read your earlier post re: arriving on Monday and leaving the next week on the Tuesday, and having already purchased the air tickets, and traveling in a party of three, I would recommend you forgo trying to luck out on a last minute deal. Your window of opportunity is very narrow, and you'll need a ship with at least three spaces. Chances are not small that you won't find anything suitable by March. Are you traveling around March break? This is also a bit of a high season in Galapagos. From my perspective, you are setting yourself up for possible major disappointment.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

9. Re: How to choose the itenary..?

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