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Trip Report Galapagos Travel report - short

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My mother and I returned 2 weeks ago from a trip to the Galapagos on the Flamingo, operated by Ecoventura. 7 nights on the same boat. Some questions that we had a hard time getting answers for before we left so I thought I'd offer them up now.

I met my mother in Quito and we took off from there. The 'machine' of getting travelers off to the Galapagos is well run and if you're going via some company there is sure to be a set of instructions for you to follow; its wise to do so. Although we were a bit unsure of how this would all work we took a taxi at 6:15am from our hotel to the airport; you will need to put your luggage through a screening very first thing, even before getting to the ticket counter. In Quito at the old airport it is literally the first door from the sidewalk to get into the terminal. Our taxi driver was aware of this and dropped us off there. We had managed to get breakfast but noticed lots of people with boxes of breakfast type things and those are allowed through; the screening is designed to keep seeds, etc off of the islands. We were then met at the ticket counter by a representative from Ecoventura and were given our boarding passes for this leg of the flight, and had our bags tagged for us. We were told the bags would 'reappear' in our room on the boat and they really did! Looked like others were doing variations of this as well.

The Quito airport is tiny and there are not many services such as places to get coffee, etc. We noticed many people on flights earlier than ours struggling to get off to the plane in time as they had been waiting for the coffee stand to open. Keep your ears out for your flight but since there are only 3 gates, seriously less than several feet from each other, you'll get to yours on time if you're a wee bit attentive.

We were met after passport control but before the doors to outside by another representative once we landed in San Cristobal. Seriously, just follow the crowds. Once outside the door we were met by one of our naturalists and from there were in their hands. We transferred down to the boat as a group, had a welcome briefing and then lunch before returning to land for a trip. Everything once we got on board was again well organized.

We opted for the "northern route" trip as it would allow us to see all 3 booby birds which meant we traveled 488 nautical miles, crossed the equator a total of 6 times as we went back and forth to different sites. It was a great trip but a lot of moving during the nights.

Bring your seasickness medication of choice if for nothing else than a backup. We took it before bed almost each night and it was helpful because given the currents the rides weren't without movement. None of our group got sick but do know you're on the open ocean.

Bring seriously fast drying clothing. My shorts got wet almost daily and given they were cotton it was always a struggle to get them dry again. At one point a crew member put them down the in engine room for me to dry.

Bring layers. Your walk for either the morning or afternoon could start off one way and by the time you're halfway through you're shedding a layer.

Footwear had been a big topic of discussion for us prior to leaving. We discussed it with everyone we knew who had gone. We both ended up with lightweight type shoes, my mother with a second choice of Teva pull ons with socks. Both of our naturalists used low hiking boots and in retrospect that's what I'd recommend. They had 'wet' shoes for when we had wet landings, drying their feet before moving to the hiking shoes/boots with towels. There is plenty of time to do this.

Hiking sticks were not generally necessary and the one walk that did need them the boat had general walking sticks that many of us used; they were fine and more would have been overkill.

Our boat provided shampoo, conditioner and body soap; check to see if you need to lug it.

We did not need or use the water bottles we brought as our boat and crew were forever reminding us to drink water; they provided bottled water and we reused those bottles for some time.

Food was great and there was a great deal of fresh fruit/produce to be had at each meal.

You can leave most of your guidebooks for birds, fish, etc at home. Our boat had plenty of reference guides.

If there is an option to snorkel I'd suggest taking it! I had not snorkeled before and it was great; we saw a lot even without our glasses on and would highly recommend it. If you really can't see without your glasses you might seriously consider getting contacts or specially made diving masks with your Rx in the mask. I can't wait to go snorkeling again! It was, just so you know, not one of the things I thought would be a highlight and it surely was.

Bring zip locks. Bring lots of zip lock bags of some sort. Camera equipment and memory cards are best protected in them. USE THEM. If you bring camera type things it is also handy to have cleaning supplies.

If you can its handy to have an underwater camera. The folks that had them used them and the pictures were good, really good. You do need to invest some money as the cheap ones broke on our first snorkel outing. We didn't have one and I'm sorry for that. Grateful however that my trip mates will be making their pictures available to me.

OK, those are the pieces we wished we knew before we left and hope that's helpful to you. Please feel free to drop me a note if you want more feedback.

Otherwise hope you have fun!
Lisa

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