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Land or cruise for non-snorkelers?

Whitehorse, Canada
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Land or cruise for non-snorkelers?

My friend and I are non-swimmers and non-snorkelers but want to experience the best of the Galapagos. My passion is photography. We are trying to decide between land and cruise. Is there something to do/see other than watch other people swimming when the snorkeling is happening? Can you spend more time ashore if you don't want to swim? I'm a little reluctant to do a hotel-based trip since it seems like you won't see nearly the variety of wildlife ...


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1. Re: Land or cruise for non-snorkelers?

You're right that you'd don't see the greatest amount and diversity of wildlife if you're not on a naturalist cruise. That's a large part of why they cost more--you GET more! I know that folks who've only done land-based trips say that you see just as much--but they're wrong. I've been to all of the land-based options as well as most of the non-land-based options. The difference is dramatic. If you haven't been to both, you just can't know.

You can't typically do other outings when folks are snorkeling, although perhaps on the large ships (~100 passengers), you might have options for non-snorkeling outings while others head to the seas.

You might want to research a cruise that has kayaks, since that's a decent way to see marine wildlife that you're not likely to see if you don't leave the boat for snorkeling-type outings. Not all boats have kayaks, and not all snorkeling outing can offer kayaks as an options, So check that out carefully.

Having written that, one thing to consider is the role of the personal flotation device (PDF) in snorkeling outings. You'll be wearing them on the pangas for each landing, so you'll be really familiar with them. Several non-swimmer folks in our group on each of our trips used them while snorkeling. They let you bob around like a lovely, buoyant cork and yet still enjoy that up-close-and-personal experience of the amazing wildlife of the archipelago.


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

Ottawa, Canada
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for Galapagos Islands
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2. Re: Land or cruise for non-snorkelers?

Dear TBerner -

I would add that if you don't snorkel, you won't miss out on any land based visits. Typically, you'll do 2 land based visits a day, and a snorkel. The snorkeling lasts for no more than 1 hour - so while folks are snorkeling, you can relax a little, or work on your pictures perhaps. Occasionally, as Tina notes, you might be able to coax your ship's crew to take you on short "panga" (small outboard skiff) rides nearby with your camera.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

Edited: 19 August 2013, 05:50
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3. Re: Land or cruise for non-snorkelers?

If your passion is the photography ,go there! No matter,land-based or cruise. I stayed 2 nights in San Cristobal and 5 nights in Santa Cruz and I was in 4 day tours - Kicker Rock, Isabela, Bartolome and North Seymour. It was wonderful.

Maybe ztsipapu has right -the cruise must be a better option but it's much more expensive. www.eugbud.blogspot.com

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4. Re: Land or cruise for non-snorkelers?

If photography is your passion and you take a cruise, you must book a few extra days before or after your trip to spend on an island. Cruises can offer more variety for wildlife encounters on different islands, but they sacrifice this by not normally not being onshore during the "golden hours" of light. You'll get great sunset pictures from the boat, instead of wildlife images from the shore. There are a handful of companies that offer actual photography tours in the Galapagos. research them, as some simply throw in a photo guide and call it a photography tour, while others give you free time to take pictures during the best lighting conditions.

Kiawah Island...
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5. Re: Land or cruise for non-snorkelers?

Check out the Samba, we used their kayaks several times when we didn't feel like snorkeling.

The Samba also gets you on the islands several times before sunrise, so that you can have optimum light. It's about as close to a photographic tour as you are going to get.

Look through my book for a sampling...


6. Re: Land or cruise for non-snorkelers?

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