Galapogas: Short tour vs long tour


May 11th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Galapogas: Short tour vs long tour

I am just beginning looking into a trip. I want to do a galapogas cruise but also spend some time in Ecuador. I'm wondering if I lake a shorter galapogas cruise that doesn't hit every island, would we be missing out on very much. And If we do a shorter cruise, are there certain islands that I need to make sure are included as" must see"?
heyjude2919 is offline  
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May 12th, 2009, 09:48 AM
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Keep in mind that no cruise in the Galapagos visits all the islands. The standard longest cruise is a 7-night (what many refer to as an 8-day) cruise. Then comes the 4-night (or 5-day) and the 3-night (or 4-day) cruise. What you have to remember is that the first and last day of any given Galapagos cruise is mainly spent traveling to/from the islands. What people claim to be an 8-day cruise sounds wonderful. In reality you get 6 complete days in the islands, with two partial days at the beginning and end of the cruise.

On a 4-night cruise, you will generally have two daily visits (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) - with the exception of the first and last day that will have a maximum of one visit on these days. So, you would likely have 8 visits on a 4-night cruise, and 14 visits on a 7-night cruise.

In terms of "must sees" it greatly depends on your particular interests. Interesting islands (i.e., those that have unique and/or a wide diversity of wildlife) include: Espanola (Punta Suarez is the only place in Galapagos to see the Waved Albatross), Genovesa (a birders paradise, including red-footed boobies), North Seymour (frigatebirds etc), Isabela/Fernandina and Bartolome (for Galapagos pengiuns).

Giant Tortoises are best seen in the highlands of Isabela & Santa Cruz, while blue-footed boobies are almost everywhere ... as are marine iguanas.
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May 13th, 2009, 07:59 AM
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We are headed to the Galapagos in June - last minute booking -great deal. After much agonizing, decided to do the seven-day trip because a friend who was on the four-day said she felt it was way too short, missed a lot and needs to go back.
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May 13th, 2009, 05:00 PM
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I am just starting to plan a trip to quito and the Galapagos Islands. This is a question for crosscheck. The island cruises are $2,100/person for a 4 days cruise, which is a little step for our family of 4. I was wondering where did you find your good deals for the Galapagos.
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May 13th, 2009, 05:03 PM
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Robinslater sums it up well.

I've done a couple of 11-day trips (14 days total with 11 days in the islands) because I wanted to see as many of the islands as possible and have as many opportunities to observe the wildlife as possible and to see as much diversity as possible. Plus I wanted to have many opportunities to snorkel and even kayak.

Eleven or more days is what I'll do again because with all the effort and expense you make to get to the Galapagos, I figure you might as well immerse yourself in it and enjoy.

If you are a nature enthusiast, I think you'd like 11 days (or even 14 in the islands). If you just want to see the unique species and do not have a keen interest in wildlife, birding, or photography, then I'd pick a cruise that includes the islands Robinslater mentioned and not be concerned about the number of days.

Genovesa is the hardest island to find in short itineraries. To me it is worth staying longer and paying more to include Genovesa. Not only are the Red-Footed Boobies there, but it is a beautiful island. So that you fulfill your "must see" goals, I'd avoid travel in Jan-Mar when the Waved Albatross that live on the island of Espanola are out to sea and not roosting at their nests in Punta Suarez.

Good luck and have an outstanding time.
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May 13th, 2009, 11:45 PM
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Hey Jude,

Just answered you on my other thread about how to get deals - You can definitely find a 4-day cruise for less than $2100 pp, but you might have to wait and book closer to your departure date. (We used mileage - which Mr. Crosscheck requires that I use on all family vacations - but I did see some last-minute air deals as well.)
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May 14th, 2009, 02:42 PM
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Crosscheck, I found your thread. Thanks so much. I will definitely wait til nearer when we plan to go which is still up in the air. I hope you will do a trip report and let us know about your experiences.
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Jul 19th, 2014, 03:43 PM
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If you click on my name we just did the Galapagos in March and I have a trip report. I think that doing a couple of days of land, then a four day cruise, then a couple of days of land again is a great way to enjoy the islands. We got a deal for half price which I did on line in January for our trip in March through last minute galapagos.
There were some folks on our cruise who did the four day northern islands and then stayed on to do the four day southern with us and I asked which they thought were the best and they said they were equal in greatness.
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