Galapagos -- Small Groups, Guided

Old Aug 30th, 2008, 08:41 AM
  #1  
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Galapagos -- Small Groups, Guided

I'm interested in going to the Galapagos, but hate big-crowd affairs and being shepherded around en masse. Can anyone recommend a company that organizes small groups with very knowledgeable and science-oriented guides who go in to a lot of detail? I'm interested in diving, taking photos, exploring, feeling like I'm off the beaten path. Thanks!
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 08:46 AM
  #2  
P_M
 
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A friend of mine traveled to the Galapagos with Happy Gringo tours and she said it was great.

http://www.happygringo.com/
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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The size of each tour group on the islands is controlled by the govenment and also the guides must be certified as to their knowledge. Access is limited to particular areas. So no matter how large of a ship you are on, you will always be with a group no larger than 16 and in a controlled area.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 10:46 AM
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Don't worry about the big group crowds.

I was on the Isabella II which only takes 40 passengers.... there were 36 on board.

We went out in 3 groups of about 12 each.

So 12 is not a large group.

The general rule of thumb is that the higher the quality of the yacht...the better and more educated the guides are.

Having said that ...all the guides have to have a certain degree of training as dictated by the Ecuador Government.

You cannot go wandering around when you are on an island....you have to stick to a path , this does not mean that you are marching like soldiers, there is space to fan out here and there when you get to an open area.!

The guides that I had were extremely knowledgeable with Master Degrees in Marine Biology and Zoology

they knew the Galapagos like the back of their hand !!!!


[email protected]

here is the e-mail for Martin Slater who lives in Quito and operates a Travel Company there as he booked all my itinerary for the Galapagos .

Everything went perfect!!

Tell Martin hello for Percy and that I told him to look after you.!!

Percy



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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 03:16 PM
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Are you a very experienced diver - or an occasional, warm water one?

My husband and I are the latter and were advised not to dive the Galapagos - the water is cold and currents are strong.

We did a lot of snorkeling (we were on the Eclipse - very similar to Isabella II that Percy was on) - actually I was very happy with the snorkeling as we saw a great deal of life and had lots of fun with the sea lions!

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Old Sep 12th, 2008, 05:15 PM
  #6  
 
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Sorry for this tardy response.

As Percy states, even on a big boat your island excursions are limited to smaller numbers for environmental reasons. Even on a small boat, you cannot explore on your own or leave the paths, again to protect the habitat.

I've gone 2x with Galapagos Travel that do 11 and 14 day trips in the islands meaning the entire trip is either about 2 weeks or 17-18 days.

They take no more than 16.

That longer time frame and the small boat attracts people with more scientific and nature interests, which is the focus of the company. They like to be the first on the island and maximize the time there.

Guides were great.

There were daily snorkel trips. We did not dive.

Here is the contact.

GALAPAGOS TRAVEL
783 Rio Del Mar Boulevard, Suite 49
Aptos, CA 95003
U.S.A.

Toll free from the US and Canada: 800-969-9014
Voice: 831-689-9192 Fax: 831-689-9195
Email: [email protected]

You may want to get Barry Boyce's book Travelers' Guide to the Galapagos. He was the owner of Galap Travel when I went. Don't know if he still is.

Good luck.
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