What is the best way to plan a trip to the Galapagos?
I just returned from the Galapagos. It is certainly a very special place. I think the best way to experience the uniqueness of the Galapagos, which is the extraordinary interaction with wildlife, mammals, and birds is to visit by water on a boat. And if you do this, you should choose a boat with a small number of cabins, so that when you do snorkel or visit ashore there is not too large a group. I was on a boat and with a group of 10, and we were able to swim with the penguins, and sea lions, and to really spend time on shore learning with the Naturalist. It is harder to hear with a larger group and harder to have a larger group snorkel quietly so the sea lions and penguins are not hesitant to interact and harder for a large group to gather around a Blue Footed Booby Bird's nest with hatchlings. The Galapagos are the only location in the world where I have seen the close interaction that can occur with nature with no fear, and so, as going to the Galapagos is usually expensive, then I recommend going in the best possible manner to really have the top experience, which is on a boat with no more than 6 or 7 cabins.
Hello Carrie! Jacey and I were there about two years ago. What a magical place! We did a land based experience with Red Mangrove. It was basically three island experience on Santa Cruz Island, Isabela Island, and Floreana Island. We had a five day excursion and were able to partake in both land and sea experiences, as we were boated from island to island. We were able to snorkel with marine iguanas, sea turtles, Rays and other sea life, and it was absolutely fantastic. We were also able to walk the rim of an active volcano on Isabela, spend time with Galapagos tortoises, and do some lave tube hiking. We did it a little differently than Missy, and I think she has some fantastic points. Our excursions were with no more than eight people, and that was just the one excursion. Other than that, it was either ourselves, and one other couple, or just the two of us. Bottom line is whether you consider the way we did it, with a company called Red Mangrove, or all on a boat like Missy, try to keep it as small a group as possible. It may cost a little more, but you will be rewarded with these intimate wildlife experiences you will have.
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