Post # 1
Hi there! My DH and I are thinking of traveling to the Galapagos Islands for our honeymoon in May (We were recently married in October 2012 & after much debate of where we want to honeymoon have finally decided on this). We are thinking of flying into Quito, Ecuador and staying there for a night or so then traveling to the Galapagos from there. Has anyone here been to the Galapagos for their honeymoon or vacation? I am looking for advice on:
- How many days to spend at the islands? (we are thinking 10 days total for our honeymoon)
- What things are a must see/do?
- Where to stay before and after leaving the islands?
- Take a cruise ship (small yacht) around the Galapagos for the entire vacation? or stay at individual islands & boat from island to island?
- For those who have been, did you use a travel agent &/or book a package vacation? Or did you plan everything individually?
Also, bees who have been.. did you do anything else while in South America? We are working with a travel agent now who has suggested we do a few days in Galapagos and a few days traveling around Peru.
Thanks in advance! ANY advice is greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
Yes, I’ve been to the Galapagos on a vacation. I would recommend doing a cruise tour on one of the small yachts (10-15 people stay on a small yacht). Many of the boats offer either 4 day, 7 day or 14 day tours. I took a 7 day tour and thought it was perfect. I got to see several islands that the 4 day tours can’t get to and I was ready to get back to land after 7 days. The probem with a land based tour is that if you stay in a hotel on one of the islands, then you can only see islands that are within a short travel distance of the island where you stay. The cruise tours are set up so that the boat travels and night and most of the day is spent on an island, or snorkeling/scuba diving (depending on the options on the boat you choose). I loved the boat that I stayed on because I had an excellent guide and because it went to some of the lesser travelled islands. My guide, Juan, is now an owner of the boat I was on. The guide has the ability to make or break your cruise, so look into the guide’s ranking before you book on any boat. The link to the boat I was on is here:
At the time that I went to the Galapagos, bookings on this trip were managed by a travel agent in Ecuador. She was really helpful and ended up helping me book a stay in Quito and a few days in the Amazon jungle. It sounds like the current owners of the boat are also willing to help you arrange other activities if you choose to book on their boat. I communicated with the agent via email a number of times in the months leading up to my trip and it was easy. I would warn against booking a package through a large American travel agency. Many of them use larger boats that gives you the feeling of a bus tour where you’re being herded on and off the boat and don’t have time for individual interaction with the guide. Also, they’re in the business of making money for an Ameirican company, rather than creating local jobs and supporting a local economy.
In the Amazon, I stayed at the Napo Wildlife Center. It was fantastic, and I’ve recomended it to a few friends since then who have also loved it. My goal while there was to see a real live monkey. I saw one in the first five minutes that I was there and saw hundreds of other creatures during my 3 day stay. Again, if you go to the jungle, the knowledge and quality of your guide can make or break your stay.
Let me know if you think of more questions!
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2011 - St. Joseph's Parish, Seattle Tennis Club
Just want to second what MsKitty said – I have been to the Galapagos as well, and it is best seen via a boat tour! It is tricky if you are just staying in hotels (of which there are very, very few), and the boat really enables you to see more of the islands than you would, spend less time actually travelling (they tend to travel at night), etc. etc.
We actually flew into/stayed in/flew out of Guayaquil when we went. We spent some time driving up the coast to a smaller village, etc. I think it could be fun to tack on an Amazon or Peru trip, as well, although I imagine that would add on a bit of time (I believe our actual boat tour of the islands was 7 or 8 days).
Post # 5
I have a different perspective. My DH and I went to the Galapagos for our honeymoon and loved it. We actually did a land-based tour which we booked through a company called Row Adventures. It was fabulous. We really wanted to see the islands and have fun, rather than just sit on a boat. On our tour we visited a number of islands. The accomodations on each of the islands were clean and nice, though not fancy. We kayaked on the ocean multiple times, were taken to the preserves where we saw many, many tortoises, birds, etc. We stayed in cabins one night on an island that only has 10 residents or so. We hiked to the top of a volcano which was very cool. (You could also get there by horseback if you didn’t want to hike.) We snorkeled several times, once with sharks! And one night my DH organized a special night through Row where we weren’t with the group and stayed at a mini “resort” on a tortoise preserve where we slept in a tree house and had dinner with a private chef in a candle-lit cave. I kid you not. It was amazing. I highly recommend that you check out Row. We were there for 10 days to 2 weeks (I can’t recall) and flew in through Quito. If you come in through Quito, I would make sure to leave a day buffer from the day that you fly in to the day that you set out on your tour. Quito itself isn’t very nice, but the airlines lost my luggage both coming and going and I think it’s a fairly frequent occurrence. Without that day buffer, I would have had to leave for the Galapagos without my luggage!
Post # 6
I’d recommend staying on a boat – you’ll be able to see/do more if you aren’t wasting time going all the way back to your hotel. There are only a couple of islands that are even allowed to have accomodations, so that makes it that much less convenient (although much better for the wildlife!).
I’d say 10 days is an ok amount of time. I’d do 2 weeks if you can afford it. Especially if you want to dive, etc!
I went as a scientist, so my experience was a bit different – we had our own boat/were sampling the water in addition to doing torist activities.
It is, hands down, one of the most spectacular places on Earth. So refreshing to see a bee doing a real adventure for a honeymoon!
Post # 7
I went to the Galapagos and had a fantastic time. I stayed on the Islands and loved it! We spent 3 nights on Santa Cruz, 2 nights on San Cristobal and 4 nights on Isabella. We did a day trip to Seymor Nord from Santa Cruz. I had an absolute blast and it fit our travel-style perfectly.
We were busy with activities for the entire day. We did snorkeling almost every day, we hiked a volcano on Isabela, we took surfing lessons, we visited a turtle farm, etc. We had a spectacular view from each of our hotels too.
We booked through Galapagos Alternatives. Everything was great and I would definitely recommend them. PM me if you have any specific questions.
Post # 8
Wow, thanks to all of you for you very detailed answers! Now I’m even more excited about going because it sounds like all of you had a spectacular time. It seems asthough the small yacht cruise option is pretty popular so we’ll definitely check that out and weigh the pros and cons against the island hopping/hotel option.
Did anyone go in May? We are looking to go the week before Memorial day & heard that pretty much any time of year is nice weather, but whats the weather like in May? Anyone?