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I am going to Ecuador enf of March beginning of April for a couple of weeks and I'm planning to do a cruise around the Galapagos for a week or so. Any recommendations on cruises, operators etc?
What else could be interesting to see in Ecuador?
Adios Adventure Travel has great options in Ecuador & Galapagos. Cruises, land-based, luxury and budget tours are on our website. www.adiosadventuretravel.com
Contact me anytime if you have questions.
Regarding the rest of Ecuador, Renato, I am not a great fan of Guayaquil, but I highly recommend Quito for its historic landmarks, spring-like climate, and dramatic surroundings. Those surroundings include Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, and other ridiculously high Andes peaks, lots of orchids and hummingbirds and other wildlife, Banos (a town that was a spa even before the Europeans came), and Otavalo, a market town that gets lots of tourists but should be seen anyway because of the distinctively dressed locals, the inns, etc. Whoops -- almost forgot Cuenca, a city with yet more fine architecture.
I'm hoping that someone else will recommend some specific inns and hotels, because I've generally stayed with friends and so cannot personally comment on the lodgings.
Great thank you. I hear of Cotopaxi it sounds amazing.
Many travelers are combining tours to Cusco and Galapagos now. We set up several every year.
I climbed up Cotopaxi two years ago, just to the edge of the glacier. The profile photo I use on Tripatini was taken on Cotopaxi. It's an awesome place. I have sent other travelers there including a couple who will spend Christmas eve at the lodge.
I was in Cusco two months ago, I will concentrate on Ecuador only. How about the ecuadorian jungle?
There's the option of a river cruise through the jungle.
I wonder if you meant to say Quito? Cusco is in Peru.
To Renato and Jacquie: Thanks for the correction; I meant to say "Quito," so I've just changed that in my comment. Obviously, I've been overdoing the Christmas office party eggnog.
Many years ago, I was seriously considering doing a trip to the Galapagos. I seriously researched the tour group ecosystem of Galapagos Islands. All I read, lead me to believe that I would be best served by one of the two kinds of Tours groups. One, lead by some faculty/academic with a small group of students or serious Darwinists; The other lead by an experienced Wild-Life/Nature photographer.
Both these kinds of tours co-exist with package tours and typical cruises but were expensive. I abandoned the idea for logistic and financial reasons. The tour ( 10 to two week in Galapagos with small group was between $6-8 K ex Ecuador i.e I had to make myself available at the dock ) would be focused on serious workshop level discussion in the first, and lots of semi-pro photographic gear in the second. I lacked the academic depth for the first, and basic photographic gear for the second to make it worthwhile.
Two essential books I bought: Galapagos: A natural History Guide by M.H. Jackson and A Traveler's Guide to Galapagos islands by Barry Boyce. Also a German professor was that year taking a group to Galapagos Island on a two week field trip.
It's easy to spend/invest a great deal to travel to Galapagos. I'm amazed at how much it costs. I understand the reluctance for travelers who want to scrutinize tour packages carefully before jumping on a tour.
I set up a recon trip to check out the options and went there 2 years ago. I did a land-based tour (not just because I get very seasick) but because I wanted the comfort of sleeping/eating on "terra firma." I had a good mix of marine activities (snorkeling & boating) with land-based activities (hiking & horseback riding).
Our licensed naturalist guide had grown up on one of the islands and had lots of stories about local life. While most people who go to the Galapagos focus on wildlife, there are close to 30,000 residents in the islands. When considering sustainable travel options, it's beneficial if travelers can make choices that contribute to the local economy.
Whether you choose a cruise, a hotel or campground, I hope that travelers will seek out locally-owned operators or partnerships that include locals. With proper planning, budget conscious travelers can enjoy travel in the Galapagos and protect the fragile resources including the humans.
Yes. I concur. Galapagos is unique in that sense. In many ways we owe that to the islands and its people. Without Galapagos, Darwin would not have changed the shape of our understanding of our planet and its species.
Traveling like Darwin, with mind open; not just to new ideas, but completely new concepts, is a goal we can all aspire to. Darwin had no guide, he was his own guide.
I wish that we could all experience every place we visit with an open mind and fresh eyes to see what is underneath what we think we see. How's that for deep?!