July 20th, 2015 por Isabel Correia
I have decided to tell you the story of my trip to Galapagos because this is a place of interest to lots of people and, many of my friends have told me it’s their dream to visit the archipelago. Although, my mother language is Portuguese I have opted to write it in English because I want to reach as many people as I can and, by doing so, I will be able to help them plan such a trip, in case they really want to go.
So, here we start!
Part I – the decision to go to Galapagos and the first tour search on internet
The desire to visit Galapagos was brought about by my Biology classes when I was a young girl and had my first contact with Darwin’s theories. Later, now as an adult, the desire to visit the archipelago was once again stimulated by my dear friend Peter Fürst whose dream was to have his Nutritour friends on a cruise to the islands. Too sad, he left us before accomplishing the dream. But, my will was there and the very first time I went to Ecuador I thought of visiting it, however, my time was limited and I postponed the idea till a next opportunity that came about recently with a series of lectures in Guayaquil.
I then started looking up for information on the best ways and tours to visiting the archipelago on the internet, but to my surprise, I could only find cruises offering tours there. The detail, though, is that most of the cruises are on small boats of up to 16 people or less, which is something that did not appraise me as I tend to get seasick. There is only a bigger vessel (about 80 people) which by the time I checked for cabins, it was totally sold out. However, even if it were not, I would not have bought the tour with them because it was around US$ 15.000 or higher for an eight-day trip. Something out of the question for me to pay! Since my desire to visit the archipelago was so big, I then decided to take the risk and buy a five day cruise tour as this would probably allow me to get a touch of the islands and if I got to be seasick, there would be only five days. The price for this tour was around US$ 5.700, not including plane tickets or local daily tours. Because, I was still very much in doubt, it took me a few days to make up my mind and I decided to buy the tour once I came back from my Germany trip in late May/2015. Thank God, I took that decision, because while in Germany I met an Ecuadorian attendee for the same conference was and, he was the one telling me that “yes, you can do the Galapagos on you own and have daily tours to most of the nature attractions there”. So, he told me in which islands I could find hotels and he also indicated me a local guide in Puerto Villamil, in the island of Isabela who could take me to the places there to be visited. Thus, with this information I started looking up on the internet all the information I would need and the places to be visited.