Thanks very much to all respondents for the tips and advice. For the
of the group, I'm enclosing copies of the very helpful email replies I
received to date. I've removed senders' full names and email addresses
The Galapagos, at least any part of it you are allowed to see, is
intrinsically an artifically maintained tourist environment. Tourism
extremely strictly regulated. You do exactly what and when you are told.
more thing: you can't avoid the tourist problem by going with
Mainland Ecuadorians in the Galapagos are just as touristy as Americans
Yosemite. Of course in the mainland this does not apply, in just they
must have experienced elsewhere. (There is only one town in the
and my experience there is atypical because it was Christmas day and
tortoise farm was open.)
I went there two years ago. I used a US travel company called
Travel. They are an "adventure travel" company that runs two yachts, the
foot Samba and the 105 foot Andando. Their tours are 7 to 14 days. I was
the Samba for a week. We had three children (10, 11, and 14) on this
they were absolutely ecstatic. However, they were ardent outdoors types
begin with, and great snorkelers.
These boats take about 10 passengers. I extremely highly recommend
people. Not Cheap. They will do their best to avoid the tourist
their trips are really truly all-inclusive. These people also offer
other areas of Ecuador, but most of these you can probably book on your
cheaper. I'm going on their trip called "Headwaters of the Amazon" next
There are other "adventure travel" operations that likely will do as
including Mountain Travel-Sobek. Obviously there are other operators as
Some are more upscale than others.
Quote:>Anybody have any suggestions re the various yachts/ships sailing the
Galapagos. Is 7 days about right for non-divers?
My wife and I were in the Galapagos Islands several years ago. Our tour
included the Galapagos and some of the rainforest. We travelled with
Interna. We prepared a diary of our trip. I will send it to you if you
Quote:>I would appreciate receiving your diary. How long were you in the
Was it the right amount of time? Thanks for your help.
The boat we were on carried 16 passangers and 8 crew. We were out about
days. It seemed to be about the right amount of time. But of course we
know what we missed. We did not see "all" of the islands. Since each
is unique, I am sure there were other things to see.
Here comes the diary:
GALAPAGOS/LA SALVA JOURNAL
Left the house at 7:01 p.m., had to return at 7:15 for Carol's
medicine. Stayed overnight at the Red Roof Inn near the airport.
6:15 a.m. had breakfast at the airport. Dean dropped Carol off at
airport so she could leave her winter jacket in the car. Airport was
crowded at all at that time of the morning, so Dean was able to help
carry the luggage to the American check-in counter.
10:30 a.m. arrived Miami. Carried our luggage to the SAETA counter
check-in (was just a matter of going up the elevator and over to the
Then, we had 5 hours to kill until our flight left at 4:00. We found a
of the airport, plopped down and began to read. About 1:00 4 more
our Voyager's group came by and we introduced ourselves. We kept
the other people in our group, but did not see them until we were
flight for Quito. One member of their group - Nancy - had missed her
flight out of Boston and had just arrived in Miami at 3:10. They were
to make sure her luggage was there.
The SAETA flight was something else. The entire plane was called
"premier" class: extra leg room and first class service. As soon as we
seated on the plane, we were served orange juice before we left, and
drinks and a small pastry. For dinner, they placed a cloth on our tray
complete with carnation. First course was salad and rolls; second
choice of chicken, fish, or beef; third course was choice of ice cream
cheese cake. Wine and drinks were complimentary.
During the flight, there were monitors on board which showed the
of the plane on a map and a subsequent screen showing statistics of
flying time, arrival time, outside temperature. During dinner, everyone
watched the complimentary movie "In the Line of Fire".
In Quito, the people from Nuevo Mundo were responsible for picking
and taking us to our Hotel Sabastian. At the hotel, we found their
"Mineral Water" in our bathroom (bubbly, carbonized water that is
We used this water for brushing our teeth.
Had a great "American" breakfast at the hotel. Buffet included
fresh squeezed juices, fresh pineapple and red papaya, meats, and
Hotel Sabastian is brand new. We left 2 suitcases at the hotel (which
contained our clothes and equipment for La Salva).
11:00 we left for Guayaquil and then on to the Galapagos which are
located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The flying time from Quito
total of 2 1/2 hours, including the stop in Guayaquil.
We were taken out to our boat - the Dorado. We met the other
on board and were assigned our cabin (through a drawing) -"Leon Marino"
Lion, located on the top deck behind the bridge. We took a ride out to
"Sleeping Lion" (rock formation) and saw ***ies, Masked ***ies, male
Frigates with their pouches extended -kind of like seeing Eagles for the
time. We rode around the rocks, but the birds were really at quite a
We went back to the harbor at San Christibol for the night. Sea
were everywhere. They were lounging in and on boats we passed enroute
ship. Also, saw pelicans everywhere. Frigates are a beautiful bird in
- they steal food from other birds.
Lunch was fish - we ate Granola bars. Supper was better
chicken soup and coconut ice cream. Drinks were extra while on board
oat. The choices were the bottled, bubbly mineral water or coke
cubes). Amazing how quickly you get used to drinking warm coke or warm
The Group of 16 passengers seem very congenial. Most seem to be
interested in snorkeling. Marcia (veterinarian) and Glen (farmer) from
Idaho. David (optometrist) and Sally from Michigan. Paul (retired
and Martha from Maine, Nancy from Maine, Patrick (clinical surgeon) and
from New Zealand, Theresa and Maria from Germany, Terry (RN) from New
*** and Diane from Ohio.
On the way back to the harbor, saw two sea turtles (looked like
on top of each other). Also, was raining - this is the rainy season.
Albatrosses are gone - they are in the islands June thru Dec.
Unpacked our suitcases which entailed throwing things in a drawer
for each of us) and*** up a few items. We have our own toilet and
shower. No need for plug adaptors. Already re-charging one of the
for the camcorder.
Had our first briefing on what to expect tomorrow. We'll leave at
a.m. for the island of Espanola so we are there for breakfast. We'll do
landing in the a.m. and Gardner Bay after lunch. Our guide, Diego,
the landing procedures and what we would need to take with us on each
2-8-94 Tuesday Espanola
7:00 a.m. breakfast. Carol slept through the alarm.
7:45 a.m. wet landing - walked ashore in shallow water. Then we
feet and put on our hiking boots. Walked on a clearly marked path and
Blue Footed ***ies, Masked Bobbies, red marine iguanas, and sea lions.
to be careful where you walked so as not to step on the animals/birds.
were many blue footed and masked ***y babies. They'd be nesting right
our path and
completely ignored us as we walked by and/or took their pictures. Tiny
lizards. Walked right up to the
birds/animals and they didn't move - not even a flinch. Sally Lightfoot
all over the place. Had to be careful to stay on the marked path.
Blow Hole. Myriads of birds all over the place. Also saw yellow
ground finch, immature night herron, oyster catcher, swallow-tailed
lions were playing in the water. Red billed tropic bird. Red marine
didn't move much.
Rained during breakfast, lunch and dinner - stopped in between when
were on our walks.
Afternoon we snorkeled at Gardner Bay. Saw a Sting Rey, large
(gorgeous blue color), cornetfish, angelfish - no sharks. White-tipped
are common here, but we didn't see any.
Then, we watched baby sea lions on shore. They would come right up
us. Saw a mama sea lion and 3 babies body surfing in the waves.
Everyone turned in early - another busy day tomorrow. It's 9:15 and
are both ready to turn in.
2-9-94 Wednesday Floreana
In the morning we went ashore at Punta Comorant. Saw ghost crabs
disappearing into the sand.
At Flamingo Lagoon, we saw beautiful flamingos feeding in the
waters. There were over 100 of them. At the White Beach (on the other
of the island), we saw sea turtles mating, and tracks in the sand from
sea turtles had come ashore to lay their eggs and then returned to sea.
Then, (all in the a.m.) we went snorkeling at Devil's Crown.
Crown is the top of an extinct volcano that is mostly underwater. The
was so clear. We saw beautiful blue and red star fish. A sea lion was
swimming with us. Lots of colorful fish.
After a quick shower, we headed out to an island nearby where male
frigates could be
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