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Booking a last minute tour in the Galapagos islands

Amazing 3 course meals were eaten on these seats!!!

Amazing 3 course meals were eaten on these seats!!!

So the second part is here….. So you’ve booked your flights, one way flight into Galapagos airport and now’s the time to get that non-existent cruise.

2 things you should know. All tour operators work with a small group of other agencies. There are only 2 / 3 different types of class of boat which do each route. You can read about the different classes of boat and some will scare monger you out of booking an economy cruise. Don’t be mislead. I took an economy / tourist class and it was phenomenal – in terms of food, service, quality etc but we’ll get onto that in a mo.

So I’ve given you the outline of the different options available. Here’ my blue print of what I did. Copy it, share this blog post on Facebook and with others so they can have an easier life of it.

Booked flights 5-18th February (Weather is poor in England ) hot and little rain and off season in Galapagos, so one of the best times to go. (Bring high protection sunscreen)

Arrived on 7th. Checked in, spent time looking around town and booking last minute tour and investigating options. I booked with a lonely planet reputable agency – Moonrise Agencia de Viajes. Everyone will know where it is as its the longest standing agency in the area. The woman there is a bit of a battleaxe but once you get past here prickly front she’s pretty fair.

So I booked an 8 day 7 night trip 9th-16th February aboard the Yate Darwin. Sleeps 16 passengers excluding staff. 2 bunks per room (go with the ones downsatirs – they may be smaller but you’ll thank me as they offer more stability as that’s just the nature of any floating vessel)

This boat runs 2 itineraries Discovery and Adventure. My advice book the Discovery. I did the Discovery and cannot complain in the slightest but have also looked at the Adventure and the route on the Discovery tour is definitely better.

Let me break it down for you:

Thurs: Baltra – Bachas

Fri: Plazas – Santa Fe

Sat: Isla Espanola: Gardener Bay, Isolte Osborn, Punta Suarez

Sun: Isla Floreana: Post Office Bay, Punta Cormorant, Devils Crown (This is the best snorkelling spot on the whole trip BTW!!!)

Mon: Isla Santa Cruz: Charles Darwin Station, Crater Gremelos Highlands (and El Chato ranch)

Tues: Isla Santiago: Puerto Egas, Playa Espumilla, Caleta Bucanero (Second best snorkelling spot!!)

Wed: Isolte Bartolme, Bahia Sullivan

Thurs Isla North Seymour – Baltra

I love snorkeling and wildlife – and these met those two requirements as well as incredible food. The negatives of this – the first day be prepared to hang around for a bit whilst the bus picks you up – we didn’t really get started till 130pm. The last day is just am. You may think this is bad but looking into it this is pretty standard itineraries in terms of timings (not places to visit) I’m not going to go into the trip itself as that is something you can find out all over google.

The other day which was a bit crap was the Charles Darwin station – it was amazing to visit but because I had 2 days spare I visited.

So what did I do on those 2 days…..?

More great tips coming!….

Day 1 found hostel, booked trip etc. Food is easy enough to find and you can easily find a great meal out for $4-$5.

Next day get up early and do everything on Santa Cruz Island. Here is a full day solo itinerary:

Morning visit Charles Darwin center. Walk-able. spend 2 hours there. After head off to Las Grietas on the edge of town. Take a $1 water taxi and walk the rest – nice place for a dip and swim and snorkel – not much fish life though. Then take a taxi to the start of a 45 minute paved walk to Tortuga bay. Lovely walk and stunning bay. Walk the length of the beach and snorkel in the sheltered bay round the corner.

Book a trip the next day to Isla San Cristobal. Pay at Podmar near the pier. Usually $30 but pay direct and get it for $25 each way.

Next day the boat to San Cristobal leaves at 7am from the pier and takes 2 hours. Go where you want – all walking distance and experience some great views, snorkeling with sea turtles and swim with sea lions) Great trip – I met a really lovely couple 5 mins up the road from me in England – mad small world!!

Return – eat out pack gear and head out for your 8 day 7 night trip of a lifetime the next day. I’m not going to spoil the surprises but you wont be disappointed.

Oh yes, one thing I forgot. Once you’ve booked your trip – don’t forget to buy your return flight to Guayaquil…..

Happy travels. I can’t / wont answer any emails I’m afraid as this is just a few thoughts I wanted to share to help everyone else out as the guides out there are pretty poor at best. If you find my postcard on Floreana please deliver it to me and we’ll go for a drink and compare underwater stories 😉

Thanks Duncan

 

Last minute Galapagos Tours | How to get one 2017

Me in the Galapagos islands

Me in the Galapagos islands getting ready to book a last minute tour.

So my name is Duncan and as you know I’m a full time magician and mind reader from the UK. In February 2017 I decided to fulfill a dream to head out to the Galapagos Islands. The last time I came near was when I visited Ecuador 5 years before and was going to pay for a cruise then but upon seeing a couple of bleached blonde haired guys (yep guys) counting out wads of dollars I decided to swerve a booking in favor of heading south to do a lost City Trek in Colombia which was incredible!

That said my heart still yearned to visit the small islands so synonymous with beauty, wildlife, Darwin and more recently David Attenborough in his exquisite Galapagos islands series.

I’m writing this now 3 days after visiting so am if you are reading this in the past tense was single, 35 and happy to do my own thing as much as anything. On looking around the internet there was very little or sparse information about booking a last minute cruise on the Galapagos islands and anything there was was not particularly coherent so I thought I’d detail my blue print for an amazing tour!

Lets start with flights:

Fly to Guayaquil. Why? Its one of the biggest hubs in central America and at some point to get to the Galapagos islands you will pass through there. Do be fooled into think you can fly to the Galapagos from Quito. You can, but will end up sitting on the plane whilst it then goes to Guayaquil.

99% of people with then fly to Baltra airport in the Galapagos islands. Its the main airport and to get to the biggest town on the Galapagos (Puerto Ayora) you have to take a free bus to a canal, then pay $1 to cross a stretch of water and then $4 on a bus into town. The last stop is the main central area. It sounds complicated but when you get there, this format just flows – because everyone does it.

So – you’ve got your flight to Guayaquil. You then need to book a flight to the Galapoags. My advice after speaking the with Consulate to confirm if its okay is to book a one-way trip to Galapagos (gives you more time to play with if you wanted to book an earlier flight dependent on the departure an arrival schedule of your cruise)

So you’re now in Puerto Ayora.

Where to stay? I pre-booked 2 nights through hostel bookers at the Galapagos Best Hones stay. It about 2km out of town but its not exactly and unpleasant walk – quite the opposite – but it is hot. (At least in Feb it is) I like to pre-book so at least I can settle down and have a base. There are loads of other hostels in town so dont be fooled into thinking there are only 3 – which there appeared to be when I looked on hosteler bookers.

So you have your accommodation, flights and made it into Puerto Ayora. I’m now going to shatter a myth…..

Wait for it.

There’s no such thing as a last minute tour. What?! Seriously?!

Yes.

I am a hustler by nature and I spent 5 hours in ALL tour agencies investigating the options etc. What did I find? Despite every single tour operator saying they had last minute deals – there aren’t really so. Nonetheless – my pre planning suggested I should visit the heavy hitter islands of the Galapagos. However there is so much mis-information you may struggle to understand it yourself.

You cannot see all islands on a tour.

The most remote and therefore having the fewest tours are Fernandina, Isabela and Genovesa. These are the most untouched but as I said fewer tours and definitely more expensive. The other islands of Floreana and Espanola and San Cristobal and Santiago is often a Southern route or combination of these.

You will read in many places – more often than not there are 3 popular options to visiting the Galapagos islands.

  1. Do it yourself. Arrange day tours.
  2. Do a 5 day 4 night cruise.
  3. Do an 8 day 7 night cruise.

Before I go into the pro and cos of each. Let me recap me. I love to hustle the best deal. I love to travel. I know I only live once. That’s me in a nutshell. If you want to get drunk stay in a pricey hostel and eat fine food preceding your tour – these recommendations my not be as applicable to you.

My thoughts – you’ve come all this way – the experience you will have by doing day tours will be seriously poor compared to the others. Why? The boats will not go as far – by the time you get top the day trip you’ll have to turn around. You have way less time to enjoy breakfast and the sunrise etc.

5 day 4 night cruise – definitely a cheaper option than the latter, however, these days become heavily reduced in activity by the time you get picked up at midday on the first day and dropped off in the early hours on the final morning. Don’t be fooled.

The 8 day 7 night tour is definitely the pricey option but most recommended by those who really want to experience the Galapagos islands – but again the first and last day are somewhat subject to being culled for picking up and dropping off passengers….

With those thoughts in mind…the next blog post will be the actual decision I made and the tour I booked, where you can book it, prices, timings etc and other activities……

Magician for hire | A magician to hire for your wedding

Magician for hire

Magician for hire – Duncan William

So, you’ve probably stumbled across this page because you are looking for a magician to hire?

Duncan William is often the ‘go to’ entertainer when you are looking to hire a magician. His skill sets are extremely versatile and he has been hired as magician in Nottingham, Birmingham, Leicester, Derby, Sheffield and  London for the best part of 15 years.

Be it cards, coins, or telling you your star sign just by looking at you – Duncan’s act is highly commercial, fun, interactive and is guaranteed to leave your guests laughing in amazement.

Private party or wedding magician to hire

Finding the perfect entertainment solution for your party or wedding can always be tricky. Magician Nottingham, Duncan William can tailor his performance and service to your event. His act is highly commercial and contemporary and doesn’t have that whiff of sleaze or schmooze that some entertainers have.

Duncan doesn’t need a table – and can mix and mingle freely between guests or clients – whilst the buffet is being served, as people are sipping bubbly or nibbling hors d’oeuvres. His magic can be performed in small groups, 1 on 1, or play to larger audience of thousands. How much more do you need for flexibility?

A recent review came in for someone who hired Duncan as the magician of choice for her 30th wedding anniversary:

“We hired Duncan to perform magic at our wedding anniversary. We had 130 guests who came from all over the world so we wanted something extra special. We booked Duncan for 2 hours and would have liked him to stay for longer (which he did) and his magic and mind reading went down extremely well!

Some of our guests who had come from Australia and New Zealand, who stayed the night were still talking about him in the morning. If anyone was considering hiring a magician or entertainer for their event – then look no further than Duncan – 10 out of 10!!”