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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