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The best way to go

london
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The best way to go

Having read the posting my xmen9990, im going to Ecuador and Galapagos in the June. We were planning to get to Quito and find a travel agent then book our trip from there. Is this a good idea or should we book before leaving London?

Also, is it better to fly to Galapagos then do a tour, or to take a cruise. We hope to spend 4-5 days at the most in Galapagos.

Do the cruises leave from Quito and return to Quito?

Ela

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Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
Quito
Quito
Pichincha Province, Ecuador
Bristol, United...
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1. Re: The best way to go

The cruises start and end in Galapagos (either Baltra or San Cristobal) so you have to fly from Quito or Guayaquil anyway. Due to the cost of flights and national park entrance, it makes sense to stay longer if you can.

I think the cruise experiance is better than land based for general wildlife viewing unless you have a specific reason why you need to be land based.

If you want a specific boat or you have no flexibility in dates then I would book first but there is no doubt there are bargains to be found if you are prepared to be flexible and just turn up.

Normally you book the Galapagos flights at the same time as a cruise if you are doing it from the mainland. I don't think 4 or 5 days is enough to book a cruise from Galapagos as you will need some flexibility in start dates.

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San Cristobal
San Cristobal
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Quito
Quito
Pichincha Province, Ecuador
Guayaquil
Guayaquil
Guayas Province, Ecuador
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2. Re: The best way to go

If you can only spend 4 or 5 days in the Galápagos, I'm not sure it's worth it. Let's say you went for 5 days. The flights land in the afternoon and take off in the late morning. So your first and last days--even if you're doing a land-based trip--are shot for experiencing the best of the archipelago. As far as I know, you wouldn't be able to get (nor would you want, in my opinion) any cruise that would sail for only 2 nights. Day trips can only go to one island a day, so you could perhaps get to 3 islands--if the universe worked completely in your favor and you could book those trips during the 3 days you'd be there.

Since the flight could cost you $500+ per person, with the loss of the fuel subsidy, and $100+ for the park and INGALA fees, you'd be spending a lot of money for a way-less-than-optimal experience of this marvel. In my opinion, you and the archipelago would both be better served if you held off on this trip until you could really spend the time to do a longer cruise. It is sooooo worth it.

Tina

trip report at http://galapagos2009.wordpress.com/

Puerto Ayora...
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3. Re: The best way to go

Dear Ela,

You can either book from London or book once you get to Ecuador. There are many travel agencies in Quito offering cruises in the Galapagos, but you need to have some flexibility with the start date. So, if you are pressed for time, I would start by researching what kind of boat you want and what your budget is, so you have an idea before you get here. There are cruises anywhere from $500 (land based, visiting only the populated islands) to $6000 (luxury catamarans, longer stay), depending on the boat, the itinerary and number of days. The first time I went to Galapagos I did a 5 day 4 night cruise and it was not enough. As the others mentioned you arrive in the Galapagos late morning the first day and leave around mid-day on your way back to Quito (or Guayaquil), so it really ends up being 3 full days of adventuring. It's a lot of money to spend on such a short stay, and it will definitely leave you wanting more. The Galapagos is like no other place in the world, so I would recommend giving it more time.

Good luck!

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4. Re: The best way to go

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