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Best way to see Galapagos - including diving

Detroit, Michigan
2 posts
2 reviews
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Best way to see Galapagos - including diving

Couple - mid 50's - in pretty good shape, looking for advice on traveling to Galapagos Islands June 2013. Thinking a cruise would be best but don't want the big cruise ship experience. We are divers but don't want this to be a purely diving vacation - with so much to see and do on land. Any advice on what tours/cruises are best? We want to dive but not the extremely challenging dive sites. Should we add a few diving days to the end of the cruise? Any advice about best dive operators? This is the trip of a lifetime for us - but we are still cost conscious.

Ottawa, Canada
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for Galapagos Islands
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1. Re: Best way to see Galapagos - including diving

Dear SC,

you give me the impression that the best bet would be to add on a few diving days after your cruise. There is a long debate on cruise vs land based (see Top Questions in the upper right hand corner of this page). There are over 60 ships that ply Galapagos waters - small and large, well and poorly managed, basic vs high end... find an experienced agent to help you identify the best option for you.

As for dive operator, there are a handful. The oldest one is Scuba Iguana, which has been involved in supporting marine conservation work as well.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

Detroit, Michigan
2 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: Best way to see Galapagos - including diving

Thanks Heather - you suggested finding an experienced agent. Where? Here in metro Detroit? In Ecuador? I don't know of any travel agents who specialize or have arranged a lot of trips to Galapagos.

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Galapagos Islands
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3,086 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: Best way to see Galapagos - including diving

Hi SG,

on the internet, you can do a search, and there are plenty of recommendations here on the forum.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

Oceanside...
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1,810 posts
28 reviews
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4. Re: Best way to see Galapagos - including diving

Three agencies that get pretty consistently good reviews on this forum are Happy Gringo, CNH Tours, and Columbus Travel. There are others, of course. But these 3 stick in my memory because they have lots of reports here of good service and excellent advice.

Tina

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

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54 posts
22 reviews
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5. Re: Best way to see Galapagos - including diving

You also run into a bit of an issue with scuba trips. Many of the dive boats only do dive trips. meaning you'll dive twice a day but not go on land. This can be great if that's all you're there for but frustrating if the water is murky. Most of the non dive boats do snorkeling/land hikes, which is a good way to get close to animals. My wife and I recently did a 10 day trip on the la pinta. We're both free divers and enjoyed the variety of going to so many different islands. The down side was it wasn't enough time in the water on some of the days. We'd also recommend doing the boat trip, then staying longer on land after to do dive trips from there. Keep researching, but depending on your budget check out metropolitan touring to see the boats they offer. They're also one of the oldest tour companies and help to run the Galapagos foundation.

Enjoy your trip, we had such high expectations and it was better than we though it would be.

A-A

Asquaredadventures.com

Johannesburg, South...
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6. Re: Best way to see Galapagos - including diving

Its a really tough choice!

We've just come back from a week on a purely diving boat (the Galapagos Sky) so a few observations from our experience:

- Some of the most spectacular dives (massive schools of hammerheads, rays etc) are at Wolf and Darwin and you can only really dive these from a liveaboard

- Although we only did one land trip from the boat (to see the tortoises), we found that you could see the birds, sea lions and the iguanas really well from the boat and most afternoons they took us close to the islands to take pictures. We didn't feel that we missed out on the land experience at all.

- Although its obviously not calm easy tropical diving, relatively cold and some strong currents, we thought that reports of how tough the diving is were a bit exaggerated. There was a couple on our boat in their late 50s who coped fine.

7. Re: Best way to see Galapagos - including diving

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