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Isla de la Plata

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Isla de la Plata

My husband and I are planning a trip to Ecuador in November. We had originally planned on visiting the Galapagos, but the price is blowing me away. Also it seems that to really see the Galapagos, you need at least 7 or 8 days, which would mean we would have to shorten other aspects of our trip. I have heard that Isla de la Plata has many or most of the same animals as the Galapagos at a fraction of the cost. Can anyone tell me how it compares to the Galapagos?

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Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
Isla de la Plata
Isla de la Plata
320 Reviews
Machalilla National Park, Ecuador
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1. Re: Isla de la Plata

I haven't been to Isla de la Plata but have heard it's absolutely lovely.

The Galapagos definitely isn't the cheapest destination. You can't avoid the airfare there (usually around US$500 return pp) and park entry ($100 pp). Once there everything is a bit more expensive than the mainland but it's still not too bad. I would definitely recommend doing at least a few daytrips (if not a full cruise). Daytrips start at around $70 pp. HOWEVER costs aren't as bad as many websites and forums imply. Cruises can easily be booked last minute, with discounts of around 40% off the top rate. And there are a reasonable number of budget cruises available (obviously you don't get warmed towels and spacious cabins on theses cheap cruises). These are easy to find and book once in Ecuador, however can be trickier to find when searching the web- this is simply because the more expensive companies tend to have better SEO, and have tour operators touting them on forums. There are threads on this forum on cheaper options they are just a little hidden (some are under the 'should I take a cruise or land based tour' in the top questions. you can search for others).

No matter what you choose I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time.

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Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
Ottawa, Canada
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for Galapagos Islands
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2. Re: Isla de la Plata

Dear Jan,

they call Isla de la Plata "the poor man's Galapagos" - indeed, it's a lot cheaper, likely a less hyped up alternative to going out on a boat and exploring uninhabited islands. You won't see the same diversity of landscapes and species - but you'll get an idea. Also, the waters around I. de la Plata are great for whalewatching - more so than in Galapagos. You'll be near the dry coastal forests of Ecuador which also have a certain unique appeal. You can always go back to Galapagos one day, when you're more prepared.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

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for Quito, Ecuador
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3. Re: Isla de la Plata

While I love visiting Isla de la Plata (and the Galapagos!) you should not expect it to be quite the same. For one thing, it is not a volcanic island but a broken-off piece of the mainland. The main stars which it has in common with the Galapagos are the three kinds of boobies; I think you will be there at the wrong time for the Waved Albatross (which only nest there and Galapagos in all the world). There are no sea lions or marine iguanas. The typical day trip takes you on a guided hike (there is absolutely no DIY hiking allowed), then back to the boat for a box lunch, then snorkeling, which can be quite nice.

The whale-watching season in Puerto López is June-September, with some chance of sightings in May and October.

Puerto López is a fun place, a typical fishing village. It is surrounded by the Machalilla national park. Be sure to take a day to chill out at Los Frailes beach.

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4. Re: Isla de la Plata

Thanks, everyone, for your responses. If one books at the last minute which seems to be the only way to obtain a more reasonable price, how do you arrange the flights? I think I read somewhere on this forum that the tour company will insist that you take a particular flight from Quito. We plan to do a lot of other things in Ecuador besides the Galapagos so would probably not want to come from Quito. Would it be possible to arrange the Galapagos trip and the flight from Guayaquil to Baltra at the same time?

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Quito
Quito
Pichincha Province, Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
Guayaquil
Guayaquil
Guayas Province, Ecuador
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5. Re: Isla de la Plata

Jan,

It's a good idea to book your ship AND flights with the same tour operator. Otherwise, you risk having a ship reservation, but not a flight (or vice versa). Also, if you do arrive Galápagos on a different flight from the others, and your flight is delayed, the ship won't hang around until you get there. And, if you're looking for a last-minute deal, there's no guarantee that the ship will depart from Baltra or Santa Cruz. It might sail from San Cristóbal and you'll be out-of-luck if you're holding reservations to Baltra. And again, vice versa. Same comments apply to the return to the mainland. In any case, you can certainly fly from/to Guayaquil instead of Quito.

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Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Guayaquil
Guayaquil
Guayas Province, Ecuador
Quito
Quito
Pichincha Province, Ecuador
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6. Re: Isla de la Plata

Ok, thanks. It sounds from your answer that I could book the Galapagos tour and the flight to/from Guayaquil with the tour company and book my own flights from Ecuador to/from US, either through Quito or Guayquil.

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Guayaquil
Guayaquil
Guayas Province, Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
Quito
Quito
Pichincha Province, Ecuador
Rockville Centre...
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7. Re: Isla de la Plata

Sure, you can book your own flights between US and Ecuador, and leave the to/from Galápagos to the tour operator. The important thing is to make sure your flights to/from the islands agree with the cruise dates and destinations ( to/from Baltra/Santa Cruz and/or San Cristóbal). Some cruises depart and return to the same place, others depart from one and return to the other. That's why it's important to coordinate this with the cruise reservations.

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Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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8. Re: Isla de la Plata

thanks!

9. Re: Isla de la Plata

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