ARE THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS WORTH A SECOND VISIT?

ARE THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS WORTH A SECOND VISIT?
The answer for us turns out to be Yes!
In March 2009 we took our first trip to the Galapagos with Tauck on the Isabela 2. We enjoyed the tour very much and always hoped to go again. Since then I have continued to read the forum comments on the tour and have often been puzzled, but now I know why. We are on the December tour and have found out by talking to our tour director and the staff on the ship, that when we went in 2009 it was a seven night trip as opposed to the six night trip currently offered. In fact, the current six day trip is almost a completely different trip, visiting islands and parts of Islands that we did not go to before. The tour begins from St. Christobal airport and ends at Baltra airport. Our first tour began and ended at Baltra. Our first tour offered a lot less snorkeling but I think more lectures. Our first tour had days beginning with a 6am wake up call, whereas this time is was generally a 7am call.
Comparing the different times of year, March and December....we saw many more blue footed boobies both nesting and doing the courtship dancing in March, none like this in December. We saw many frigate birds displaying their magnificent red throats in March, but not in December. We also saw less red footed boobies in December. We didn't see any finches in March but we saw many types in December. Their was no humidity in December, it was much hotter and more humid in March. We definitely saw many more giant tortoises n December too.
The ship cabins were kept immaculate by the wonderful crew, many of them we remember from out previous tour. No locks on the doors. No sweat, leave anything lying around your room without worry. No need to dress up. Take plenty of closed toe shoes. Laundry smalls do not dry very well in either hotel or ship. We changed clothes a lot and still think this trip needs more clothing changes than any trip we have done to date, water landings and sand and exercise increase the need for fresh clothing but there are no laundry facilities.
There were 29 on the tour. It seems every tour that we are on lately is not full, often because of last minute cancellations. Such a shame when tours like this are so difficult to get a place on.
The change to the Oro Verde hotel in Guayaquil is a good improvement.
You do get a bus tour of Guayaquil which we feel is all that it merits. We arrived a day early, took a long walk around the town and to the river and back to the hotel for an excellent one hour $50 massages.
One of the highlights was when we visited the island of Santa Cruz. There has been a huge effort to eliminate introduced goats from the islands. Goats were almost completely eradicated from this island but 17 were discovered in July, the rangers disposed of them. When we were on our walk, Mr B and I spotted some fresh goat tracks, we said 'What are these tracks,' the guide said they were iguana tracks, we said. 'No, not those tracks, these, they look like goat hooves.' They were. The guide and I did some goat noises and we heard a reply, we spotted 3 or 4 goats in the distance. All these incidents have to be reported but the Park rangers usually act only when they have been seen by more than one guide, unless there is photographic evidence. Fortunately Mr B got photographic evidence and forwarded it to our guides.
The Farewell Dinner was probably one of the best we have had on a Tauck tour. Ahh the memories, Ahh the laundry, ahh get ready for the holiday in record time!

Comments

  • We took P&G the past March.
    British wrote:
    Our first tour offered a lot less snorkeling but I think more lectures. Our first tour had days beginning with a 6am wake up call, whereas this time is was generally a 7am call.

    7 is still early for me : ) . Though we did a lot of snorkeling I could have done more
    Comparing the different times of year, March and December....we saw many more blue footed boobies both nesting and doing the courtship dancing in March . . .

    We saw many Blue and Red footed and Nazca Boobies. Many were paired, many had young chicks or were sitting on (actually, stepping on) eggs!
    Their was no humidity in December, it was much hotter and more humid in March.

    Nothing to compare too, but after a night in our cabin in the AC I had to set my camera in the sun on the upper deck to warm it up during breakfast to stop the lens from fogging.
    Laundry smalls do not dry very well in either hotel or ship. We changed clothes a lot and still think this trip needs more clothing changes than any trip we have done to date, water landings and sand and exercise increase the need for fresh clothing but there are no laundry facilities.

    We brought a clothesline and hung up wet and laundered stuff in our cabin overnight so we wouldn't have to fight for time in the single clothes dryer on the top deck.
    There were 29 on the tour. It seems every tour that we are on lately is not full, often because of last minute cancellations. Such a shame when tours like this are so difficult to get a place on.

    We normally take small group tours when available. This was only our second full size Tauck tour of 9 (unless you consider K&T which has 30 people) and it was full, but didn't seem so. The Galapagos portions seemed like a small group tour since there were some non-snorkelers and a few folks who weren't up for some of the more strenuous walks.
    You do get a bus tour of Guayaquil which we feel is all that it merits.

    Yup, glad we only spent a short time there! I'm P&G starts in Lima!
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