Everyone needs a little adventure in their lives. Hopefully some of my adventures will help you decide to check out some of the places I have been.
Cruising The Galapagos by Yacht
Having visited Ecuador on many occasions, we finally decided to visit the Galapagos islands. In our search for an affordable and exciting vacation, we checked online
through the most popular tour companies in that region. Our top three choices were Metropolitan Touring Company, Gadventures, and Klein Tours. We chose Klein Tours due to the allure of the idea
that we would be in a yacht at affordable rates. This turned out being a great choice as this truly was a yacht and the rates were comparable as a caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean.
The two ways for us to get to the Galapagos Islands both went through the mainland of Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador, but islands way out west of the mainland. The first is Quito
(Ecuadors Capital) and the second is Ecuadors largest city of Guayaquil. I am not sure if you can get a direct flight from other countries, but this is all we found. We were traveling from Miami International.
We chose to spend the night in Guayaquil. I am familiar with Guayaquil having visited Ecuador numerous times. If you would like more information on where to stay in Guayaquil, visit my earlier article - Where to stay and What to do in Guayaquil. These
are my favorite places to stay in Guayaquil and I describe them in depth.
We booked our flights ourselves to save the money of booking through the tour company. Our flight from Miami International was LAN Airlines which is one our my favorites. LAN has updated planes and provides very good services. We landed at the Jose Joaquin Olmedo International airport. The next day from Guayaquil we took Aerolineas Galapagos. This was about a 50 minute flight.
Aerolineas Galapagos has some older 737 airplanes. Not the most pleasant ride.
There are two airports in the Galapagos. We landed at Baltra. Baltra is a small island with a small airport.
Landing in Baltra, you have to line up to go through their customs. This took about 1 hour. This is a very small airport with one runway. There is only one small terminal building. It seemed like
all flights from the mainland where landing at the same day which lead to the long wait.
After we checked through customs we were immediately met by representatives of Klein Travel. They were very organized and professional and spoke English perfectly. We gathered up the
rest of our tour group and were taken in a small bus for our ride to the yacht. This took a little over an hour as the yacht was not near the airport.
During this drive we saw how arid the terrain was on the Galapagos islands. Along the ride we viewed the many lava rocks, saltbush, prickly pear cactus and holy stick trees.
After about an hour drive, we arrived at a small port and took a small boat out to our yacht the Coral I. The Coral I is a 131 foot long, 36 passenger yacht. They have a lounge, jacuzzi, restaurant, different sun decks. Very nice!
Just riding in this yacht was worth the price of admission.
As soon as we tasted our first meal on the yacht we were hooked. The dinners were all healthy versions of chicken, meat, fresh seafood, soups, along with great desserts.
This was our daily itinerary:
Day 1: Monday
Baltra Airport. Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra (2 and half hour flight). Passengers are picked up at the airport by our guides and taken to the pier to board the M/VGalapagos Legend.
North Seymour Dry landing. Guests will encounter swallow-tailed gulls, blue footed boobies, and sea lions. This site is a major nesting colony of blue footed boobies, and has the largest colony of the magnificent frigate bird. Travelers will also spot both the marine iguanas and the land iguanas.
Day 2: Tuesday
Santa Cruz (Dragon Hill). Dry landing. Passengers walk to a saltwater lagoon behind the beach, where on occasion many pink flamingos can be observed. This trail leads up to Dragon Hill, which offers a lovely view of the bay. This is a nesting site for reintroduced land iguanas, and there is also a Holy Stick Forest .
Floreana (Cormorant Point). Wet landing on a greenish colored sand beach. Visitors will hike from the black mangrove beds to a large, brackish lagoon, which holds one of the biggest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, Galapagos daisies, white and black mangrove, and holy stick
Day 3: Wednesday
Espanola (Suarez Point). Dry landing. Visitors will learn more about the lava terrain and hike cross the inactive lava fields. Besides the sea lion colonies, this is a very important site for bird watching. Various bird species such as the mockingbird of Espanola, Nazca booby and tropic bird can be spotted and observed from very close. You will also see a large colony of marine iguanas, lava lizards, and rally light foot crabs. After a short trek visitors encounter colonies of masked and blue-footed boobies. The nesting grounds sometimes overlap the trail. Visitors will also find Galapagos doves, hawks and swallow-tailed gulls and then reach the world's largest colony of waved albatross. A major highlight is their mating season, from May through December. You'll visit the famous blowhole, where water shoots into the air 23 m ( 75 ft ) up.
San Cristobal ( Interpretation Center or La Galapaguera ). Dry landing at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers will visit San Cristobal breeding center and learn about the National Park's breeding program with the giant tortoises. Passengers will observe some animals in their natural environment.
Passengers will also have the opportunity to the visit the town and go shopping for souvenirs and arts and crafts.
Day 4: Thursday
Santa Cruz (Carrion Point). Today, passengers can choose either a ride in an outboard motorboat to observe the Galapagos fur seal, seabirds and marine wildlife or go snorkeling to see a variety of tropical fish, manta rays or even harmless white-tipped reef sharks.
Return to the Galapagos Legend, check-out and transfer to the airport.
Return flight to Quito or Guayaquil.
The four days were spectacular. Seeing all the animals of the Galapagos was an incredible experience. They are not afraid of people as we toured the islands. We could walk right up to any of the wide array of
animals such as sea lions, blue footed boobies, sea iguanas, galapagos turtles. There were so many types of birds I could not even begin to name them here.
Snorkeling was not as fun as it was in the caribbean as the water was cold (We visited in February). We did see many sharks in the waters. They did not seem interested in us at all, but we stayed clear of them.
If you are interested in finding out more about Klein Tours, you can google their website along with the other tour companies. Good luck in your search and feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. I would love
to answer any questions you may have in making an informed choice.