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If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

Charleston, South...
Level Contributor
19 posts
6 reviews
If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

The majority of comments indicate that a cruise is better than a land visit. Unfortunately, we can only go in June of next year. Friends who have recently returned indicate that those seriously prone to sea sickness should NOT consider a cruise in June.

I've tried everything under the sun to deal with a lifetime of motion sickness, so, I don't believe anything I can do would allow me to enjoy seeing the islands by boat. However, I am generally ok for a couple of hours on a moving boat.

We are amenable to spending time on several island, and fortunately, the cost is not highly significant. BUT, the trip is for our granddaughter and we don't want to visit the Galapagos if staying in hotels means the trip will not be worthwhile.

Advice on land-only options, with as much exposure to the Island overing as possible will be appreciated. Kay

Oceanside...
Level Contributor
1,884 posts
30 reviews
1. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

Despite the often-vocal bias of many of us here (me included), lots of people visit the archipelago via land-based tours and have a grand time. You won't see the most spectacular things--unique species, youngest and wildest islands. But "spectacular" is a very relative term. Even a "less than the best the islands can offer you" visit will still knock your socks off. From land-based touring, you will still see lots of amazing and lovely things. Just know that you can spend 5+ hours on a small speedboat in a round-trip visit to an island. A bit more than a couple of hours. But if the landing break between going and coming works for you, that's good.

I suggest you work carefully with an agency that specializes in the Galápagos to set up the best dang land-based itinerary you can come up with. Then sit back and get ready to be astounded!

Tina

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

Charleston, South...
Level Contributor
19 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

Thanks Tina, Kay

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
850 posts
11 reviews
3. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

A land based Galapagos trip is still amazing so if thats your only option then I would still do it.

You might want to look at one of the island hopping tours since the length of time on a boat wil be less than doing day trips from Santa Cruz. If you hve the time, you could combine that with a couple of day trips at the end so you get to see some of the more secial islands like N Seymour and Bartolome.

Island hopping normaly covers Santa Cruz, Foreana, Isabela and possibly San Cristobal. You stay on each island so the sea crossing is only one way each time. Maybe 2-3 hours. With day trips, you have to do the return trip the same day.

Another alternative although more expensive is to take a light aircraft between Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal. Note that luggage allowance is less and there are no overhead lockers. You can do quite a lot on Santa Cruz and Isabela has a great beach and tours to the volcano and tortise breeding.

Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
66 posts
4. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

Of course, many people recommend only visiting the Galapagos with a reasonable budget and with a lengthy cruise in order to make the most of it. However, my opinion is that it is better to visit Galapagos in any way or another, than to not go at all!

First, you might consider a large ship, they tend to be far more stable than smaller boats. For example, the Endeavor (96 pax), Galapagos Explorer (100 pax), Celebrity Xpedition (90 pax), or Galapagos Legend (100 pax). Also, check with your doctor, I am prone to sea-sickness and took a preventative pill 3x a day and was able to take a cruise aboard a small, less stable ship in Galapagos with virtually no problem.

If this really does not seem like an option, as mentioned above island hopping is a great way to see Galapagos - some even prefer this. While you miss some of the more remote and unique sites, you will still get a feel for the pristine environment of the Galapagos and what makes it unique, you'll still see a variety of intriguing wildlife, and you'll have more flexibility with your schedule to build it how you want.

Contact any reputable travel agency and ask about island hopping or land tours, shop around to see what options they give you to determine what suits you best.

But definitely, even on a land tour, make the trip to Galapagos, it is worth it!

Edited: 18 July 2011, 17:43
Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
1,566 posts
146 reviews
5. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

Unfortunately, land based isn't the best way to go to see the marvellous fauna of Galápagos.

In June the waters are choppy and consequently the average 2 hours that you will spend on the speed boat will be a bit dramatic.

My advice would be to consider one of the big cruise ships which have an average capacity of 90 passengers, once you are on board of those you will not feel anything wrong. Take an 8 day itinerary so you get to see a bit more.

The Ecuadorian based lines are Explorer, Santa Cruz, and Isabela.

Saludos cordiales,

Dennis Yepez

Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
1,566 posts
146 reviews
6. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

Legend boat is another choice of the bigger boats.

Saludos cordiales,

Dennis Yepez

Edited: 19 July 2011, 01:47
Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
651 posts
2 reviews
7. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

At the end of the day, "is it worth it?" Absolutely!

Everyone has their personal preference on how to travel, but if your choices are: to go or not to go, you should GO!

atlanta
Level Contributor
89 posts
8. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

Absolutely.... I dont want to compare with the Cruice experience. Just treat this as an experience and decide if this excites you (I am sure it will !!!)

I returned 2 days ago from taking my 10 year old daughter on a land-based trip. we were there for 8 days. It is so fresh in mind that I can tell you day by day... I will write a detailed report with pictures later....

Here is what I did. Hopefulyl this will give you more confidence.

I went to SantaCruz island (as most people would do).

Day1 - Visited the Darwon Research center (Must watch for the sake of Lonesome George)

Day2 - Went to a Turtuga Bay (Must watch - beautiful beach) in the morning. The boats to Isabela leave at 2PM. So, took that (This is a superfast bumpy boat for 2 hours. Your grandchild will love it. You be prepared for a rough ride. This is the only tough part of the entire trip. But, I had to go through this only 3-4 times. Read further)

Day 3 - Isabela (Several activities) (casual or hard ones) Giant tortoise breeding center, etc... Great beach... Great relaxing village...

Day 4 - Isabela. Went to Las Tuneles (The Tunnels) - Absolutely great if you (or your granddaughter can do snorkeling). Even otherwise, you will see lots of birds, Sea-lions, Galapagos Penguins, and sea turtles and what not... Great trip. The only problem is the bumpy boat ride for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening.

Day 5 - The bumby boat ride back to Santa Cruz. (to be honest - i threw up on this one.... but, the mistake I did was I sat inside where there was not much free air... So, if you take this precaution as I did later, I didnt have an issue later on). In the afternoon in Santa Cruz, we went to a local ranch (Giant tortoises) and other nearby interesting places (Tunnels, and crators).

From now on, we did a day trip every day .....

Day 6 - Day trip to Seymor. NOT a bumpy boat. This is a classic boat (the type used for cruises). So, very comfortable... Lot of place to move around.... Only one hour on the boat each way.. super slow... and no sickness at all. Great Trip...Lots of birds...

Day 7 - Day trip to Bartlome - Once again ... NOT a bumpy boat. Same as above. Two hours each way on the boat... but a comfortable one...Great Trip....Great views...Great snorkling.

Day 8 - Day trip to Floriana. Fast boat again... But, with precautions... No problem. Sat outside where I could get a lot of air... Great Snorkling... lots of sea lions, galapagos penguins, and giant tortoises...

Day 9 - returned from Santa Cruz.

As I said before, I dont want to compare with cruise trips...

But, this in itself was a great trip. My daighter and I saw in all the following :

Sea Lions, Giant tortoises, Penguins, Fragart birds (with that red neck), finches, Blue footed boobies, Sea turtles, Lots of other birds and fish that I cant name, flying fish, marine and land iguanas, beautiful beaches, lava tunnels, and lots of views on the sea and on the land...

Do we need more?

Food was not a problem on Santa Cruz and Isabela... There are several good restaurants. Hotels are cheap and good ($30 per night will get you a decent one with AC and hot water). if you want a more luxury ones, there are 2-3 more in that range ($200-$400 per night) as well...

So.. what do you say?

newton, iowa
Level Contributor
64 posts
95 reviews
9. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

Just completed a land based tour with Friendly Planet. We stayed at Red Mangrove resorts and had a wonderful time..

THe resorts were all different, making for a great experience. The staff from Red Mangrove were very helpful and friendly. I would highly recommend a land based tour. You won't be disappointed.

newton, iowa
Level Contributor
64 posts
95 reviews
10. Re: If Land tour is only option, is visiting Galapagos worth it?

Just returned from a land based tour. Booked with Friendly Planet and stayed in the Red Mangrove resorts. Have no complaints whatsoever.. the entire staff and experience was awesome. YOu won't be disappointed.

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