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Best way to island hop / see a lot of places?

6 posts
Best way to island hop / see a lot of places?
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I'm planning a trip for later in the year and I'd like to explore a lot of areas and spend a lot of time in/around the water. I'm not sure what options are available for the Galapagos yet though. Are there any centralized day tour departure locations that I could get accommodations near? And if day tours which company has good/many options (something like Viator)? Cruise? If I don't do a cruise is it best to stay x amount of days at different islands? I'm not sure what the travel time to different places is atm. Also what types of transportation are good/necessary? I prefer to walk if possible. Thanks for any help!

6 replies to this topic
North Coast, N...
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for Northern Ireland
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1. Re: Best way to island hop / see a lot of places?
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I think you need to do some reading to see what works for you & what you would like to do/see. A cruise is probably the best way to see a lot but can be very expensive. You also are tied to their itineraries.

I'm just back from 12 nights, 4 on San Cristobal, 4 on Isabela & 4 on Santa Cruz. We did a number of day tours. The 3 'big day tours to uninhabited islands (Española, Bartolome & North Seymour) were booked in advance as these can get booked up.

Hotels/accommodation is almost all based in the main towns on each island & often (but not always) hotel pick-up/drop off is included for day tours.

If you enjoy hiking, 2 long hikes which we did are the Sierra Negra volcano hike (needs to be a guided tour) which was a 16k roundtrip & a walk to the Wall of Tears on Isabela (many prefer to hire bikes for this). Otherwise lots of snorkelling & walking options although some areas require a guide. Our favourite snorkeling was Kicker Rock from San Cristobal & Los Tuneles (from Isabela).

North Coast, N...
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2. Re: Best way to island hop / see a lot of places?
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Re travel time, we flew into San Cristóbal & out of Baltra/Santa Cruz. We took the inter-island ferry which took 2-2.5 hours per journey but you need to check in about half an hour in advance. We took seasickness tablets & were fine. Nobody was sick but we travelled in May & I think the sea can be chopper later in the year. Inter-island flights with Emtebe are available but at the time I'd looked were not overly reliable & were very strict on weight which would have incurred a lot of additional expense.

Not sure if any of the above helps but happy to answer questions

Tucson, Arizona
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for Quito, Ecuador
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3. Re: Best way to island hop / see a lot of places?
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There is a topic in the Top Questions to the right that will provide you with a ton of information about options on each island, and how to plan. Under "Land-based Options" click on the topic "All about..." The TQs are not visible on phones.

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4. Re: Best way to island hop / see a lot of places?
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You can take ferries between islands. Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, and Isabela are the three islands to stay on. All have day tours available to nearby smaller islands. https://www.georges-backpackingguides.com/blog/cost-visiting-galapagos-islands-independently-complete-guide/

Neptune Beach, FL
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5. Re: Best way to island hop / see a lot of places?
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MHO is that a cruise is the way to see the most wildlife and get the most out of a trip to the Galapagos. The cruise companies know which islands have what animals and where on those islands those animals hang out. Their guide takes you right to the spots where you are liable to see what you are looking for. Different islands have different animals. The cruise boats go systematically from one island to the next. While you are having a nice lunch in the dining room, or getting a night's sleep, your boat is taking you to your next island. And the boats are scheduled so that much of the time there is only one boat at a location. The cruise companies know what they are doing. They provide a good experience.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Best way to island hop / see a lot of places?
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hey Ally,

i've mentioned this a few times already but contact the guide that I used, Alex Arregui (galapagosalex68@gmail.com) and tell him what you like doing and what you don't and your budget. Thats what he has done for us and - going by the feedback has done for a ton of people since - it was amazing. Endless patience, listening, always there for a call or an email. You'll likely only go there once, so make sure its the trip you want. Even if you don't end up going with him, he'll give you all the help you can.

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