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Planning a trip for January 2015--need some guidance please!

L R
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Planning a trip for January 2015--need some guidance please!

I have read the top question posts but I am struggling with how to choose a cruise, tour company to book through and most of all itinerary. We are a group of 4 in our 40's and 50's and are active--want to snorkel, hike, etc but no diving. Good chance that this will be our only trip to the Galápagos Islands so we are trying to choose our itinerary carefully. I am trying to find a summary of what the highlights of each island are or any thoughts about what type of course gives us the best exposure.

Also, is it a consideration to spend a few days on Santa Cruz and then do a cruise--is this something that tour companies offer or would we need to set this up on our own?

Last question on choice of vessel--we like the idea of the smaller--less than 20-30 passenger--boats. Are the catamarans significantly more stable with regard to seasickness? If anyone has any specific recommendations from their own experience with companies or boats, it is much appreciated. I have read about the majestic, athala and cormorant and they all look great.

Thanks for any feedback!

Oceanside...
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1. Re: Planning a trip for January 2015--need some guidance please!

Hi, L R--

It indeed can be overwhelming, trying to make the "best" choices. But there really are no "bests," in my opinion--just lots of terrific options that have pros and cons. With these kinds of questions, I think you'd do well to start right now with a travel agency that specializes in travel in the Galápagos. They're used to listening carefully to what you want and offering you several choices--and then helping you to winnow down those choices. Agencies that get consistently good reviews on this forum are Happy Gringo, CNH Tours, Columbus Travel, and Metropolitan Touring, among others. All have an active presence on the Internet, so you can just e-mail several of them your questions and see who responds most quickly with the best info for you. Most also have phone and Skype-type options.

For our return trip this May, we worked with CNH Tours and have nothing but good things to say about Heather and her organization. And believe me--I made her work for us, with my gazillion questions and requests for back-up options and anxieties about sending payments, etc., etc.. Ay, ay, ay! She was always responsive, positive, and helpful, even when we had to change our boat plans for a THIRD time!

Tina

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

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Planning a trip for January 2015--need some guidance please!

There are questions on the right that have links to websites of what animals to see then. If this is important to you, list the islands where the animals occur and start crossing off itineraries from there.

I also find travel guides very useful in this big a project. You can get ones just for the GIs. I get mine on loan from the library. Read the details of each island and jot down what the highlights are. Some books actually rate them as well to help you choose.

Do remember that the Islands are often focused on animals and ocean, particularly on a cruise. Numerous islands have paths of less than two miles. if hiking is of interest, then do consider several extra days on Santa Cruz.

L R
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3. Re: Planning a trip for January 2015--need some guidance please!

Thanks for the suggestions--any thoughts on the catamarran vs yacht as far as stability and seasickness?

Tucson, Arizona
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4. Re: Planning a trip for January 2015--need some guidance please!

Our DE Heather wrote about this the other day: tripadvisor.com/…52188585 #5 Our should-be-a-DE Tina provides additional info in #1 tripadvisor.com/…46804004

With all the effective seasickness meds available, there should be no problem no matter what type of boat you choose. See the Top Question on the right regarding seasickness.

Oceanside...
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5. Re: Planning a trip for January 2015--need some guidance please!

Common wisdom--which often is neither--holds that cats will feel more stable when waves hit abeam (from the side) and monohulls will feel more stable when waves hit fore or aft. The only trips that are predictably affected by rough seas (the changing Humboldt current in Sept. - Nov.) are the treks to the outermost islands (Genovesa, Española, Isabela, Fernandina). The waters around the more central islands are more sheltered, but they can turn rough at any time, although that's more unusual.

My husband has owned and sailed both types of boats and he holds with the above idea. I've sailed with him in both and I honestly can't tell the difference in stability. I liked Heather's response in this thread (#5): tripadvisor.com/…52188585 .

Larger vs. smaller boats, though, seems to be relevant to stability--larger will likely feel more stable. But I'm a huge fan of smaller boats; and with so many effective motion sickness remedies/preventions out there, all but the most severe afflictions can likely enjoy the intimacy of the smaller boats.

Tina

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

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Planning a trip for January 2015--need some guidance please!

And the science reveals that those most prone to seasickness in the first place are teenagers and young adults.

7. Re: Planning a trip for January 2015--need some guidance please!

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