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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Travel to the Galapagos Islands - Ready?

Travel to the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands Travel Tips - TAME airline has a Galapagofew number of flights originating from Quito, stopping in Guayaquil and then to Isla Baltra airport. The Quito flight to Guayaquil takes 45 minutes and the second leg from Guayaquil to Isla Baltra 1 ½ hours. During the slow season, there is only one early flight departing to Galapagos. These taxed fares are for adult international travelers.
1) Quito/Galapagos/Quito - Approx: $390 USD
2) Guayaquil/Galapagos/Quito - Approx: $345 USD

Once you arrive to Isla Baltra airport you will be required to pay a $100 USD park entrance fee per person. Once payment is completed, you will take a short bus ride (10 minutes) to a dock. Everybody must board a ferry boat which will take you to the main island of Santa Cruz. The ferry ride takes approximately 10 minutes. Buses on the Santa Cruz will transport (45 min.) you to the town of Puerto Aroyo.
Galapagos Islands Tours* 1) Boat based 2)  Land based 3) Hotel based

Boat based - Sea packages. ($1,800 - $3,000)
Full Sea Packages - All travel arrangements are made by your travel agent. The entire tour is spent on board your boat. If you get sea sick, please upgrade yourself to a larger vessel. The boat based tours cover more islands and gains time during the night time traveling. Depending on your Galapagos trip emphasis, always ask which islands will be visited on each package. Each island has its unique characteristics and animals. These trips typically are packaged between 7 to 15 days. If you have a tight schedule, this is the plan.
Land based - Land and Sea Packages. ($700 - $2,000)
Sleep on land, daily sea trips - These packages typically are scheduled between 4 to 7 days.
Too much time is lost on these packages. You visit less islands and less time per island. As discussed on the earlier, two days worth of time is wasted with your mainland to vessel / vessel to mainland travel.
This package format requires you to travel from your hotel – boat – island and then vice versa while returning that evening. Some days, in order to reach specific islands – you must first board a bus, drive across the island of Santa Cruz – board your boat – then start sea portion of trip.
Hotel based – Hotel and Sea ($800 - $1,200)
Same as Land based, except that you can sleep on one island or various islands during your trip.

The preferred arrangement for visiting Galapagos Islands is having all reservations done in advance. This ensures that your time and plans are secure and will work within your time frame. All land and sea arrangements are made thru your travel agent. This is important to most since two days are consumed in every trip.
Cost structures - Prices Include: All meals, beverages with meals (what kind of beverages) and guided shore excursions. Does the pricing include the $100 National Park Tax and airfare from mainland (Quito / Guayaquil). What are possible cabin extras ( mini bar goodies). Ask about nature guide tips. What are children fees, age pricing and how many children can sleep in a cabin with their parents.
Dress Attire - Your attire will depend on your cruise category. Large vessels have little parties, so a summer shirt with Khaki pants will do for men. Women should be a okay with a good mix and matching of clothing. During the day, dress as informal as you want. Shorts, t-shirts, swim suits. Evenings we recommend jeans/slacks and a windbreaker or sweater.
Packing - Bring comfortable walking shoes. In fact you should wear rugged shoes for your land excursions. A knapsack should fit all your personal belongings and cameras. Don't forget a towel. Travel light and you will out last the sun.
Galapagos Islands Tour & Cruises
Peak Season - Mid June - Mid September    December - Early January
Slow Season  - Mid January - Early June       2nd half Sept. - Entire November
Flights - High season (AVG) $390.00    Low season (AVG) $365  Prices Vary by originating either in Quito or Guayaquil.  Children under 11 years of age pay approximately 50% of the adult price.

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