Deciding you want to go ahead with your Once in a Lifetime Trip to the Galapagos Islands is one thing. However, when you start planning you realize that there are some things to be considered. If you’ve done any pre-research you’ll have started to recognize that there is a lot of information online about the Galapagos and that some of it is just head-scratchingly confusing. Let’s clear away the confusion and throw some light on how to plan a trip to the Galapagos.
Every visitor and every client has unique needs. Maybe you’ve been planning a trip to the Galapagos for many years and know exactly which animals, on which islands you want to see and in what season you’ll visit. On the other hand, maybe your trip to the Galapagos is a family vacation that can only be taken when the children are on school vacation. In these two scenarios, the way you’d plan your Galapagos trip would be quite different.
At GalapagosIslands.com we satisfy the visitors needs across a wide spectrum of products and services. There’s a need to juggle with budget, seasons and activities. Fortunately, we have seen virtually everything after helping lots of clients realize their dream Galapagos trip.
Let’s look at some of the considerations you’ll be taking into account as you plan your Galapagos trip. Probably uppermost in your mind is the cost. Unless you are rich by inheritance or a senior executive in a Fortune 500 company you probably have a vacation budget.
You’ll have noticed that prices tend to range from around $2000 a person up to almost $9,000. What gives? That is a huge range, so what are the factors that affect price?
In the Galapagos there are close to 100 yachts sailing the Galapagos seas and they come in different levels of luxury, sizes and even shapes with catamarans and single hull boats available. There are older, refurbished yachts with years of service, sleek catamarans, and brand new luxury yachts. Which boat you choose will undoubtedly affect the price. We have categorized our boats to make it easier to choose. You can see how many cabins they have, what equipment they have on board, how many crew members per passenger and of course the itineraries that they follow as they motor serenely from island to island.
Another factor that affects your budget will be the length of a cruise. Typically, most cruises are for 4, 5 or 8 days. A four-day cruise will allow you to have a great vacation and get a really good feel for what the Galapagos Islands are all about whereas an 8-day cruise will give you a comprehensive experience allowing you to immerse yourself in the history, animals and the environment of the Galapagos.
The time of year you visit is another factor affecting the final cost. High season is in July and August and also around Christmas holidays and the New Year and causes prices to spike. Easter and Carnival can see higher prices too. So if your budget is tight but you can be flexible about when you come, then choose an out of season cruise in May, or October/November on one of the less luxurious boats.
The time of year you visit affects not only the cost but the experiences you’ll enjoy. The climate on the islands is never cold and rarely hot. There are 2 seasons in the Galapagos, the slightly more humid and slightly warmer season from January to April and the slightly cooler dry season between May and December.
If you absolutely, positively must see blue-footed boobies dancing and the Waved Albatrosses swordfight mating dance then you best visit in April. But if you plan to catch the Giant Galapagos Tortoises migration to the Santa Cruz highlands then August is the month you want to be visiting. While many animals can be seen year round others migrate away from the islands so do take note of that if it’s important for you.
The variety and scope of cruises available are enormous. There are specialist adventure tours and dive tours. The Galapagos Islands probably offer the best cold-water scuba diving in the world so if scuba diving is your thing you will plot your way through the same decision factors as if you were going on a more general cruise; namely price, season, type of boats and itineraries.
What kind of details might you be asking? Well, as an example, some landings are dry and some are wet where you slip off the boat into shallow water and wade ashore. We can advise you on the types of landing you’ll experience on your preferred itinerary. We’ve found that Tiva-style shoes are great for wet landings and hikes but make sure to wear them in before you arrive to avoid potential discomfort.
If you are a keen photographer then make sure to plan the lenses and equipment in advance. Because the animals have little to no fear of us then any Galapagos trip is an unparalleled opportunity to take incredible wildlife photos. If you want to take underwater photos water visibility is better in the warm season between January and April although there is a greater variety of marine life present in the dry season. If diving and you feel the cold more than the average diver then you may even want to bring a dry suit or extra thick wetsuit when diving between May and December.
Arriving for your Galapagos vacation is a question of flying to either Quito or Guayaquil and then joining your tour for a morning flight to the Galapagos. We highlyrecommend that you allow us to issue all your domestic flights as we can coordinate them with your Galapagos itinerary and if you arrive at night we can arrange a transfer to a pre-booked and approved hotel. Let us take the strain out of your holiday arrangements.