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Book in Australia or when we arrive in Ecuador?

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
1 post
7 reviews
Book in Australia or when we arrive in Ecuador?

We are planning a trip to South America in April next year. I am wondering if it is easy to book a boat trip around the Galápagos Islands when we arrive in Quito? I have heard that if we have time when we arrive it is easy to book a trip and it is much cheaper , we have some time to play with in Quito ie a couple of days. Any advise for Ecuador is greatly appreciated.

3 replies to this topic
Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Galapagos Islands
Level Contributor
3,609 posts
19 reviews
1. Re: Book in Australia or when we arrive in Ecuador?

Dear Kathryn,

you can enjoy some savings by booking last minute. But some people are happy paying the current rates in exchange for peace of mind. Booking now means you can take your time to explore options (ship comfort level, size, itinerary) and figure out what is best for you. The more "last minute" you book, the greater the pressure to book the first thing that you find. Avoid the Easter period (high season). If you've been dreaming about going to Galapagos all your life (I hope so!), it's worth ensuring you do it on your own terms.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

Central Coast, NSW
Level Contributor
39 posts
14 reviews
2. Re: Book in Australia or when we arrive in Ecuador?

Hi Kathryn,

Whether you book early or last minute, I would use either an Ecuadorian travel agent or try to book with the boat directly. Booking through a travel agent here in Australia is much more expensive. We went on a 7 night cruise in April and absolutely loved it. Because the Australian dollar is so weak against the US dollar I tried to save money by booking "last minute". I had been watching the prices on the website Galapagos Cruiselinks and sent off a request about 4 - 6 weeks out only to find that despite still being listed on the website the cruises I was interested in were already booked out. In a panic I then sent off emails to lots of different agents and fortunately found a cruise that met our preferences. This same cruise was listed on an Australian site for about $1500 more.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
1,852 posts
15 reviews
3. Re: Book in Australia or when we arrive in Ecuador?

I booked my trip while still in Australia but used a specialist company Happy Gringo in Ecuador. Another good company is CNH. My reasons: I had read a lot of reviews on here as to what route I wanted to take (North West) due to wanting to see the best outer islands, I wanted an isolated itinerary that took me to both good land sites and snorkeling. I wanted to maximise the variety of wildlife viewing and being active - 2 landings and 2 snorkels a day and some offer kayaks too. Some don't do this and may only do one landing and one snorkel a day. I then narrowed down to boat size. The smaller the boat the more intimate and also can be manourvered better I. E. If they spot a whale etc they will about face to optimize your viewing chances - larger boats don't have that flexibility.

You then get a sense of boats which do this route and which get good reviews. These will book up well ahead of time and to get a last minute deal will be rare unless a fluke (perhaps if traveling solo). For example I wanted to go on the Samba and I booked 9 months head to get a spot as they only depart once every 8 days for the NW and I was traveling "off season". I am a scientist and a diver so for me it had always been a dream to go and thus knowing it was going to be expensive I wanted to make it be exactly what I wanted and not risk missing out.

If you don't have specific ideas or expectations what you'd like to see then I think you could try last minute but be aware you have to coordinate flights as well which may sell out.

If you do a last minute deal still check itinerary - are they only taking you to islands that you could have done cheaper by being land based and catching ferries?

So yes we lose out due to our AUD $ but you don't really have a choice.

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