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Cruising the Galapados...when and where

New York
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Cruising the Galapados...when and where

My husband and I (in our sixties/active) would like to take a once in a lifetime cruise(anytime except for January this winter) of The Galapados Islands, but it's pretty confusing! I've looked at Silversea (new ship coming out in September)...various itineraries...and Avalon (two different ships...one older than the other). The Avalon ship combines land in Quito and a 4 day cruise...the Silversea one is a 7 day cruise (not from Quito). My questions are...Are there any islands that are more interesting than the others and does timing really matter? And, of course, has anyone done the Avalon trip? Any other feedback so very welcome! Thanks so much!

Oceanside...
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1. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

I personally would avoid a 4-day cruise. You'll really only have 2 full days at sea because the first day is just a afternoon outing and the last day, a morning outing, because of airport transportation issues. In my opinion, that's not enough if you're looking at this trip as a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The 4 most distant islands are the truly unique ones: Genovesa, Española, Isabela, and Fernandina. No itinerary less than 10 days will get to all 4 of these, so I suggest that you choose an itinerary that hits at least 2 of these 4. (A 4-day itinerary will likely not get you outside of the central islands, which are more heavily impacted by greater human traffice.)

Time of year wildlife-wise really only matters if you absolutely must see the Waved Albatross--they breed on Española from about mid-April through mid-Dec. (although some lucky folks report seeing one or two later than Dec.). Aside from that, the wildlife will be doing fascinating things any time of the year. If anyone in your party is affected by motion sickness,. you might consider avoiding Sept. - Nov., since you have the highest probability of rough waters during those months. Also, if you really love tropics-type weather, Jan. - April will be the warmest and most humid; waters for snorkeling will also be warmer during those months.

You might check out the first Top Question on the right side of this page--several links to all sorts of things you might want consider.

Tina

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

New York
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2. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

Thank you so much! That was really helpful!

Scotland
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3. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

We are also an active couple in our sixties and planning on a trip to Galapagos but in January next year. We had been told to go to Espanola to see the waved albatross so disappointed to read from ztsipapu that they only breed from April until December, our trip would be mid January. Do you think there is any chance of seeing them then? would be thrilled to experience that. Also, to get to Espanola, I guess we will have to take a cruise of 4.5 or 8 days, it looks like no day trips go there? We are thinking of taking our chances when we arrive with a cruise, is this advisable? Any first hand info would be appreciated, thanks.

Oceanside...
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4. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

Hi, Hunda--

The odds of your seeing Waved Albatross in mid-Jan. are slim but probably not absolute zero. I have read at least one report from someone who saw 2 in early Jan. But these magnificent behemoths start to leave mid-Dec. to fly non-stop off the coast of Peru for 3 months. By most people's reports, they're pretty much off the island by late Dec. But hey--you never know. And Española is a lovely island in its own right, even without the albatross. But if you're still choosing an itinerary, I personally would go to one of the other 3 more distant islands from mid-Dec. through March.

Mid-Jan. isn't a busy time, so your chances of getting a good last-minute deal are better than, say, in mid-July. If you're set on Española, know that any boat that goes there will only do so every other week. So your choices of itineraries may be a bit limited by that. But many folks on this forum report good luck with waiting until the last minute--especially if you're really flexible about the boat and itinerary (and have done your homework beforehand, so you know what boats you DON'T want to be on!).

And right--no day trips to Española. It's just too far away from Santa Cruz.

Tina

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

Scotland
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5. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

Thanks so much Tina, thats good info and appreciated, we are still planning but every bit of information helps. We had only planned on Espanola for the waved albatross so may still try to do the boat trip there and take our chances, may even try to go earlier, we cannot fly from USA until 6th January so probably too late for the albatrosses then even if we went directly in and out of Quito on arrival. Any advice you can give us would be good, I am thinking of 3 weeks in Ecuador, around 10 days Galapagos and the rest in Quito, a trip to Otavalo and another to Riobamba to do the train.

Alberta
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6. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

If you are lucky like we were and the winds are still blowing you might see the waved albatross. We were there 2nd week of January, winds were blowing and watched 4-5 babies make there maiden voyage!!! Was an amazing sight as we didn't expect to see any when we got there! Luck was on our side!!!!

Scotland
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7. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

I imagine you were in Floreana when you saw them.? how wonderful, we will try to get there earlier, would be amazing to see them. Did you stay anywhere on land in Galapagos you could recommend and what boat were you on, looking for as much info as possible!!! thanks!

Scotland
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8. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

Sorry, I meant Espanola of course!!

Bristol, United...
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9. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

Be careful of picking new ships - they have a habit of not starting on time.

I did see a single albatross in January on my first ever trip but its not the right time to go if thats on your must see list. There was also a single bird that made it to Isabela one February but it was obviously ill and the park were called to rescue it.

Alberta
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10. Re: Cruising the Galapados...when and where

We were on the Cormorant. It is a lovely catamaran and we went just before they changed the itineraries. Did not stay on land, we did the 7 day cruise and would do it again in a heartbeat, but probably would go longer!