80-something in Galapagos?

Old May 19th, 2003, 07:33 PM
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80-something in Galapagos?

My father is a very energetic, quite fit 82 year old, but he is still 82. How strenuous and/or difficult are the Galapagos Islands in terms of length of hikes, strenuousness of hikes (e.g., steepness, difficulty of hikes (e.g., slipperiness), etc.? Does anyone that age have experiences there to share?

What about Machu Picchu?

Thanks!

Len
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Old May 20th, 2003, 01:46 PM
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I was in Galapagos with my Dad (an active 71-year-old) two years ago, and just visited Machu Picchu with him in February.

In Galapagos, there were folks in their 80s on our boat. The walks are mostly flat and smooth, about 1.5-2 hours in length in early morning and again mid/late afternoon to avoid the heat of mid-day. I wouldn't even call them "hikes", since you don't really go that far. Sometimes we stayed within 100 yards of where we got off, stopping to look at the animals or plants nearby. The trickiest part might be getting in and out of the panga boats that shuttle you from your yacht to shore (some dexterity needed, although guides and other passengers are extremely helpful). Only two walks we went on involved steps - one was a little steep, with bit of a drop off, and the other was a climb to a gorgeous overlook area (steps were wide and you could take your time). A couple others were initially slippery as you left the boat if the lava or rocks are wet, moving slow is the key. The older folks participated in everything, and they weren't especially spry. Before each hike, the guides tell you exactly what to expect in terms of wet landing (on the beach, tevas or similar recommended, though sometimes we went barefoot and carried dry socks and shoes) or dry landing (rocks or lava that might be slippery), duration of the walk, what you'll see and if there will be steps.

Machu Picchu does involve some climbing to get the best views, but a lot of it can be managed on fairly flat ground. Some of the steps are uneven (cut out of stone and worn away through the ages). The altitude is a lot better here than in Cusco, but might be a consideration since most trips start and end in Cusco and/or other cities in the Sacred Valley. Again, a number of people in our group were at least in their mid-70s.

I hope you consider these destinations with your dad. It was wonderful going with mine.
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Old Nov 14th, 2003, 10:17 PM
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Just returned from the Galapagos about 2 weeks ago. I agree w/ Susan -- the most difficult part is likely to be getting in and out of the pangas, especially in the case of wet landings (ie in shallow water). There were also 1 or 2 sites where some agility was required to get from the (wet) rocks up to the walking path, and some relatively rocky hiking paths. There were 2 people on our yacht who had some difficulties: a woman in her 70's who had broken her hip some months before, and often stayed aboard while her husband went on the excursions (he managed even some steep hiking without difficulty), and another passenger who was mildly developmentally delayed and perhaps had some depth perception problems? She did not have difficulty getting on/off the pangas but had trouble navigating the rockier paths.

The 2 uphill hikes were the most physically strenuous -- one of these was also on a warmish (80F) day with the sun shining.

You might try doing a little hiking at home and see how he does? When talking to different tour operators, I would also ask very specific questiions about the islands and the landings (the different yachts have different itineraries, and can change from time to time). If they aren't able to provide this info, either themselves or by putting you in contact with the operators of the yacht they are putting you on, you probably don't want to be doing business with them anyway...
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Old Nov 15th, 2003, 11:27 AM
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This could bethe trip of a life time for your father.
Susan and gwp gave you agood outline of the on island trips.
There is one hike that is 365 steps..but you rest and walk up and then rest agin until you reach the top.
I saw 30 year old huffing and puffing and 70 year olds passing them!!!
You walk at a nice relaxing pace, so I am sure your father will be okay.
As other have said , they tell you the night before what to expect the next morning,and what you will be doing.
I hope you go for it.!!
Percy
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Old Jan 3rd, 2004, 06:49 PM
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Check with your doctor before going to Peru as Machu Picchu and Cuzco are 10,000-12,000 feet high and I got nuclear altitude sickness when I was there at 18 years old! But then I lived at sea level.
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