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Galapagos Islands advices please :)


We are thinking of the Galapagos Islands for an exotic and adventurous vacation! I'm planning a stay there right now and I was looking for tips - I saw other posts and was about to ask but I noticed that some were going of topic to I started a new one! :P

Anyway, my friend lives on the coast of Ecuador and I will also stay there, he says there's plenty of little b&bs and homes to rent and small cheap hotels. As for me, I plan on trying to get a good deal on diving cruises or small cruise ship to explore as much as the nature of the islands as I can. It is still to decide if it will be just two adults or if the young teen comes along - any thought on that is appreciated. I have found heaps of info - but mostly on diving - on this site were I saw the boat I think we would take if we are only 2 adults, and so it doesn't cost an arm and a leg!

If going with our son, we think of a small ship cruises so it's more nature activities and not so focused on diving. Good idea?

Otherwise, those who have paid cheaper and stayed on islands, do you feel like you have missed some nature sightings ?

Can't wait to read what more people have to say about Ec uador while I pllan! Have a good good time!

Posted by
22152 posts

We were there in November and needed wet suits for diving. It was surprisingly cool and rainy.

Posted by
3789 posts

When were you planning on going? There are 2 decided seasons. The guara certainly creates haze and mist.
I have only done a cruise (small ship), as I wanted to see the island diversities and animals. Even then we had one or two long snorkels a day. Even in March one needed a thin suit for comfortable snorkeling.
Diving liveaboards don't tend to visit any islands.
Doing day trip, well, few have done it both ways. People seem to enjoy it and if that is all the budget allows so be it.
This is one trip I took a lot of time to research. Use some guides and post on travel forums with destination specific forums and experts. One doesn't want costly mistakes. Each way to see it is different, so you have to decide what exactly you want to experience.
Personally, I liked the diversity of the cruise, with lots of snorkel time, the great guide we had, and the lack of other tourists. Being in a bubble in nature was just what I wanted. I upped my budget to get a well reputed ship and guide and they made the trip for us.

Posted by
681 posts

We did the Galapagos at the end of May to beginning of June. It was a great time. We did not do a cruise but we used Galapagos Alternative. We were 2 couples. It was perfect. They set up our daily cruise to an island, our wonderful B and B and physically checked in with us at the end of each day. We did not do any diving but snorkeling everyday. The islands are magical and really enjoyed staying put on an island and getting to know the town, wild life and people. Enjoy!

Posted by
18 posts

I visited the Galapagos in February 2016 after a week of “volun-tourism” in Otovalo, Ecuador. I stayed on the 16 passenger yacht Angelito, mid range, basic but comfortable with a great staff. You can google it to see pictures and info. We had many opportunities to snorkel, not dive, and lots of memorable hikes on the islands. The wildlife is amazing, and the highlight for me was seeing Galápagos penguins. Every island we visited had its unique terrain and environment. I felt there was one drawback to a small yacht vs. a small cruise ship—there isn’t room to move around and exercise or
“entertainment “ during down time. There was only one afternoon that I felt restless and somewhat confined on the boat after we came back from a land tour on a particularly hot day. Other than that, down time was a good time to rest up for the next adventure. The food was basic, plentiful, and tasty. There were 5 American passengers onboard, and the others were Canadian and European. The multicultural aspect of sharing this adventure together and exchanging travel and life stories truly added to the experience. A week on a small boat might not be for those who crave more exercise space or entertainment. But the Islands, with their Blue-footed Boobies, iguanas, curious sea lions, and majestic tortoises and more, are the main attraction!

Posted by
2401 posts

I did a dive trip on the liveaboard The Aggressor. I loved that we went out to Wolf and Darwin. Dove with Hammerheads. It was amazing! Not for the budget concious though.

Posted by
3 posts

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for taking the time to give me tips & share your experience of the Galapagos Islands!

As for when we will go, it's undecided - hesitating between mid / end of June or mid-october. From what I understand so far, both could be great. Same site than last time... loads of details on the best time to travel to the Galapagos Islands!

Also, thank you so much for the 2-3 Galapagos cruise reviews! If I take one, that would definitely be a diving liveaboard like the Aggressor, or the Astrea I mentioned earlier. An adventure cruise remains an option if I find one that offers me lots of snorkel + at least a few dives.

Was the Aggressor crowded during down time? I'd definitely go for a smaller, more quiet boat with loads of room.

There's lots to be taken in consideration here and we are kind of beside the planning trail now, but we'll get back to it soon :)

Thank you!

Posted by
3789 posts

Cruise boats are not equipped to refill tanks, so any diving needs to be done from a land base locatikn after a cruise tour. I didn't mention my ship of choicenin earlier post....Samba, with Juan Salcedo as guide.
As I mentioned, there are seasons and guarua season July to December is cooler with more haze for days on end. The colder upwellings are bound to make diving better, but the lower air visibility sometimes affects above water experiences.
So you do have decisions to make.
Have a great tkme when you get back to planning.