Galapagos and Ecuador

Old Feb 22nd, 2005, 08:48 AM
  #1  
africa_lover
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Galapagos and Ecuador

We plan on taking our vacation in Ecuador or/and the Galapagos islands July 2006 (max 14 days). We are 2 families, 10 persons in total.(no small kids , 15y and older)
What kind of trip should we take?
Should we rent a private boat and make a cruise of 5-6 days round the Galapagos or should we consider joining a bigger group on a bigger boat? One person tends to get seasick very quikly.
Would you stay in Quito for 3-4 days?
Any help is welcome!
Hilde
 
Old Feb 22nd, 2005, 07:36 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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I would got with a bigger boat and an organized tour.
I was on a 40 passenger yacht and it was just great.
For the seasick person...better take along Gravol or Bonamine.

I stayed in Quito for 4 days and one day on the way back..my tours were all planned for me as soon as I arrived ,as was my departure for the Galapgos.
If you are going all this way , you might as well see the highlites of Quito and surrounding area.

Percy
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Old Mar 9th, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Africa lover? Me too! I don't often stray from that site, but have an affection for the Galapagos Islands also.

First, on the seasickness... Have you tried over-the-counter Bonine? I've used it on 16-guest boats in the Galapagos in rough water (that does occur ocassionally) and had no problem. Also used it in other situations with smaller boats and felt great. I'm a wimp with nausea, getting whoozy on a swing set. I can't even watch Imax films because I feel ill. If it works for me, it will work for you.

If you could rent a boat for the family, what a great opportunity that would be! So much more personal than sharing a larger ship. Planning this far in advance would allow you the time to book something private. While the Galapagos will be wonderful, regardless of your vessel or others on it, I think a personal family trip would be so much more special and memorable.

I've used Galapagos Travel in Aptos, CA. for my past trips (and am planning another with them in June 2006). Their boats hold 16 and do 11 days in the islands, a nice long time that lets you see everything. The entire trips lasts 14 days. They do private departures too.

Barry Boyce, owner of the Galapagos Travel company, has a great book on the Galapagos, something like Traveler's Galapagos. Worth a look.

In Quito. I spent in day at Cotapaxi and found it fascinating. Remnants of walls from the Incas, herds of wild horses, great scenery. You can stay overnight there too. On Sundays, I believe, is the Otovalo Market. I enjoyed a visit there. There are more "jungle excursions" for 2-4 days, that I know exist, but I don't have specifics on.

Have a great trip!

atravelynn is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2005, 03:13 PM
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If you rent a private boat there are factors you have to consider.:

1.How large is the boat?

2.What are the facilities on the boat?

3.Are the meals included( they usually are) .

4. How many guides are there with the private boat.?

5. How qualifieed are these guides.?

The general rule of thumb is that the "better" type of yachts have the better qualified guides.

You are only going to the Galapagos once!!!(at least I think you are), so you want everything explained to you very well.

Although I would not want to be on a 100 passenger boat(yacht),the one I was on held 40 people..there was only 36 of use.

To me this was just fine.
All three guides we had had University degrees in Biology and Zoology,and let me add there was nothing about the Galapagos they did not know.

Also ,as I was being taken to my Yacht ( from the town of Puerto Ayora) which is the town on the Island of Santa Cruz...
I was thinking to myself ,"I am going to be on some small yacht with a small cramped up bedroom etc."

What a surprise..my room was better than rooms I had on Princess cruise ships!!!!
Beautiful bathroom.
Big windows, nice mahagony dinning room and lounge and bar area...this truly was a lovely yacht.

The tours were very well organized and you knew the evening before,all that you were going to see and do the next day.

They showed us slide shows each evening with full explanation of the next day's event..

What was the food like...terrific.

They try not to move the yacht while you are relaxing and dinning...just as we were going to bed is when the yacht would begin to travel...

However, one time they had a greater distance to get o the next island that we had to see the next morning ,so they started moving the yacht during dinner time.....well about 50 % of the people got sick and had to leave and go to their rooms to lie down and take Gravol or Bonamine.

There is a fully qualified doctor on the yacht I was on, with his own little office...just in case.

You have a lot of time to do a lot of research and this is what you should do.

Find out what Islands your yacht will be taking you to and also what is on these islands.

There are a few Islands that are a must see.

I do not want to ramble on,so good luck on your homework..

Percy



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Old Mar 13th, 2005, 09:49 PM
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We went to Galapagos 2 yrs ago and used Metropolitan Tours and sailed on the Santa Cruz for the 5 day cruise.It was wonderful.My daughter was 14 and loved it also!I also get sea sick pretty easy.If Itake over the counter stuff,I get very drowsy.The best is to get a prescription for the sea sickness patches. You usually can get away with just using 1/2 a patch and you just leave it on for 3 days and replace it then.They stay on in the water too.Also, if you leave it on up to 2 days after your trip you wont get any sea sickness after being off the ship as some people will.My daughter used these also.While you are there you should definately go to Quito. Make sure you get a tour of the "inner city"This is where all the history is and magnificient churches.Go to the Panicillo(large statue of the Virgen Mary)which sits atop over looking the city.Great views for miles, you can even see the snow cover volcanoes.Hope this helps you.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 09:43 PM
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Africa lover you have just given me alittle advice on the Afica site so I really should give you my thoughts on Galapagos although you may already have everything sorted!
We were there in Feb 2004 on a boat for 16 passengers but there were only 12 of us and I really would be reluctant to go with anything bigger. It was nice just being one small group that could take off to an island and come back without waiting for other boats. On of the people on the boat was very prone to motion sickness and she wore the wrist straps and took an over the counter medication before bed each night. The downside to a small boat is if you happen to be in a cabin near the engins you definately heat them as they start up late at night o take you to your next port of call. I am a light sleeper and this bothered me so I started using earplugs and from then on was fine. With 10 of you I think (IMHO) it would be lovely to have a boat to yourself.

As far as Quito is concerned. I think 3 days is plenty and could probably get away with 2. I had ben there before my husband had not and we had more than enough time with 3 full days . We did not take any tours in Quito. I had been there before so I did some more research and then spent our time exploring the old town. We did do a mountain biking trip for a couple of days which was fantastic and went up to Otavallo for a night also well worth it. Remember in Quito a lot of things are closed on a Sunday. This happened to be our last day there so we wandered a market and then found somewhere to have a long lunch to spend some time. We also went out to the jungle for 7 days and this we just loved.
Hope this info is of some use to you. Will look forward to hearing your final plans.
Happy & safe travels
J

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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 12:01 AM
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africa_lover
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Thank you all for your very helpful replies.
We will probably go for the "Archipel" yacht and rent it for just the 10 of us. We will do the 8-days cruise.
As we are limited in time, we won't go out to the jungle, but probably stay in Quito for a few days and also visit Otavalo or the cloud forests.

Jules,
It's great to be able to help each other, don't you think?
If you need any more help with planning your trip to Selous,Tanzania just e-mail me on : [email protected]

 
Old Apr 9th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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I think the Archipel is perfect for your group! Very comfortable and stable catamaran and one of the best values, price to quality wise in the Galapagos. I know Archipel tends to book up early so it's a good idea to start planning now.

We spent about 4 days in and around Quito. Did not get a chance to go to Otavalo or Cotopaxi but did spend two days in the cloud forest at Bellavista.

The water in the Galapagos can be rough. I don't get seasick easily and even I had to take Bonine one morning. Water temps will be cool in July so you may want to think about bring shorty wetsuits for snorkeling.

Have a great trip!
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Old Apr 10th, 2005, 06:18 AM
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I agree with Galapagos travel as a great company, smaller boats are better, and generally they go on longer trips. There are 2 guides per 16 people, they tend to individualize the tour a bit, get on the islands before or after big groups. Our group really liked to snorkel (which is unbelievable in Galapagos), so we snorkelled at least once a day. Sometimes while we did not have to get anywhere they would do a quicky snorkel for those who wanted (we would just drift in the current). YOU NEED at least a shortie wet suit at least in July. THE WATER IS VERY VERY COLD
Quito is not my favourite city, very polluted, NOT SAFE to walk especially at night but should be seen for 2 or 3 days, also you can go to the equator outside town.

Oltavado (?) market is a must, it is on only two days a week so plan that ahead.

If you have not travelled much, I found the Quito airport a little crazier than others I've been (I do not speak Spanish), having someone greet you from a tour company may be helpful.

The ONLY advantage I see in a big boat is there may be less sea sickness.


HAVE FUN
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