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“Amazing adventure, awesome company” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Galapagos Alternative - Private Day Tours

Galapagos Alternative - Private Day Tours
Avenida Charles Darwin S/N, Puerto Ayora 200351, Ecuador
+593 59394655018
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: At Galapagos Alternative, we offer a unique experience of the islands the way we see them: as locals. Choose the sights and activities most interesting to you, stay at local places, eat at local restaurants, and of course, get up-close experiences with the local animals that make the Galapagos Islands so special. Please browse our site to learn more about the many different activities that are available on your trip to Galapagos. Then contact us so that we can help you find the best options to fit your timeframe, budget and preferences. We can help with all aspects of your trip, from booking unique accommodations to daily activities and transport between the islands. We are Jill and Javier Moreno, and we'd like to welcome you to our home. We look forward to treating you like family, showing you our favorite places, and ensuring that you have the experience of a lifetime in the amazing and beautiful Galapagos!
Madison, WI
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Amazing adventure, awesome company”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2010

We have traveled for 15 years, over 30 countries and our 8 days on the Galapagos was truly our #1 trip thanks largely due to Galapagos Alternative. Javier and Jill (J&J) are a warm, sincere couple who have an amazing talent for coordinating individual intinaries which is no small feat considering the multitude of options available on the islands. They serve as your "travel agent" for the islands taking care of all of your transfers, transportation, hotels and your individual tours. But J&J are much more than travel agents - they assume responsibility for each customer as it you were old friends and by the time you leave, you are! They recently added Elizabeth to their team who mirror's J&J's warmth and sincerity.
The name of their company, Galapagos Alternative, is very descriptive. When we first decided that we were going to the Islands, nearly all of the tour books and websites directed you to taking one of the more 100 boats that provide "all inclusive" tours of the islands. In fact, like many people, we began to think that there was no alternative to living, sleeping and eating on a boat 24/7. J&J provide an alternative where you can really experience the islands by staying ON the islands, eating with the locals and of course shopping the back roads - all which not only provide great experiences but also supports the local business. And although we didn't get to some of the far-off islands only practical by the boat tours, we experienced and saw everthing on our "list" including some amazing snorkling expeditions with baby sea lions (pups) swiming right up to your mask and swiming circles around you. In our 8 days, we stayed on two islands (Santa Cruz and Isabella) and took day trips from each. All of the guides, boats and food on the day tours was excellent.
Enjoy!

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173 reviews from our community

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English first
Edmonton, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Fantastic and unique experience!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2010

Jill and Javier planned an unforgettable trip to Galapagos for us. I had always wanted to go and had read a bit about what I wanted to see, but Galapagos Alternative allowed us to experience things that I hadn't even considered.

We had 7 days booked, but quickly asked on arrival to add an 8th day, which Javier seamlessly arranged for us. We stayed mostly on Santa Cruz, but had the opportunity to travel to Isabella, Floreana, North Seymour, and Bartolome. All the guides that were arranged for us were friendly, knowledgeable and outgoing. Often, it worked out that we had our own tour guide, and keeping small groups is something that the company intends to maintain to ensure a personal touch.

Activities arranged for us were varied and included views of amazing volcanic rock formations and a variety of wildlife, and were clearly suited to our requests. We don't scuba dive, but we had opportunities to snorkel for 4 of the days. We also biked, kayaked, and did lots of hiking.

Finally, I have to mention how well taken care of we were during the trip. Javier or Jill visited us on a daily basis, checking into details as minor as dietary requests for breakfast at our hotel and the fit of our snorkelling gear. They also occasionally joined us for meals at local restaurants in Puerto Ayora (as did some of our remarkable tour guides). Javier joined us one day in the highlands in Santa Cruz and showed us some of the remarkable views on his family's property. On the last day, when we were overbooked, they moved us to a nicer hotel and we had a plate of chocolate/cheese and a bottle of wine.

In summary, we had a remarkable vacation in Galapagos and for land-based tour experience, you can't get any better than Galapagos Alternative! Thanks Jill and Javier!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“They fit in everything i wanted into just 5 days! Perfectly hassle-free vacation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2010

Jill and Javier made our trip such a breeze. Normally, we are the lonely-planet-in-hand & do-it-yourself travelers. For Galapagos, we decided to go with Galapagos Alternative, since experiencing the islands is all about tours anyway.

Planning:
In the Galapagos, there is something fabulous you can see and do on every island, provided you have the time. We had 5 days in hand and a very long wish list. I had researched a whole bunch of cruises and none of them gave me the “coverage” that Jill and Javier proposed. We got to see and do literally everything on the wish list. I don’t think I could have planned it myself.

The most popular islands are Santa Cruz ( that we stayed on), Isabela, San Cristobal and probably Floreana. But we had our best experience on the tour to “santa Fe and Garrapatero beach” – which is something they suggested and I would not have planned if I had done it myself. They have incredible knowledge on what’s good each time of the year and that is a great resource!

Sue, Jills mother, handles clients in the US from Florida. She is very friendly, prompt and pleasant to deal with. But, there could be moments where she could get a little confused or not be able to clarify some of your questions about the islands ( she’s not the Galapagos expert , and doesn’t claim to be either!) – But a phone call/ mail to Jill can settle it all.

Food Recommendations:
We are vegetarian and finding good vegetarian food is normally a challenge for us. Jill and Javier had some great recommendations for us. They helped us with finding the right food and also on how to “ask” for it! – the result, not only did we find food , but we liked it so much, we actually looked forward to dinner time everyday. Even on the tours we went on, they would make sure the crew knew our food restrictions and planned for food accordingly.

Service:
They would tell us the van would pick us up at 5:00 AM and the buzzer would go off exactly at that time. Extremely prompt. Not only that, once the tour would get over – Javier would land up in our suite within 3 minutes of our arrival. He’s superman! He would check on how the day was, collect feedback and go on with the plan for the next day. In fact on one of they days, the tours got delayed and we had to skip las grietas. This was not under our or Jill/Javiers control. Javier graciously promised to fit it into our agenda the next day – So Jill came with us and took us there. Though we were on a “packaged tour”, at no point did we feel “rushed” or hurried. Everything was fit in beautifully and there was no hurrying anywhere. They are too cool! Javier also dropped us back to the airport and they tried to put us on the best flight out.

I give 2 thumbs up for going with Jill and Javier. Not only do they make great itineraries ( custom itineraries!) but they also take great care to make the whole trip pleasurable and hassle free for you!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great value local experience in the Galapagos, tailored to our needs”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2010

We didn't know where to start when we decided on a trip of a life time to the Galapagos. Then we discoved Jill & Javier at Galapagos Alterative. They wanted to know what we liked and then tailored our 8 day adventure to ensure we did everything that we wanted to do. It was a trip of a life time with Volcanoe walks, snorkelling with Sealions, watching the amazing wildlife, mountainbiking & horse riding just to mention a few. You choose what you want and theycome up with the itinerary!

We stayed in local hotels that were of excellent quality. Whilst we had planty of free time our guides were always on hand to send us off on our next adventure.

We chose this trip instead of staying on a live aboard and we did not regret our decision. The company uses local guides and hotels so you feel you are putting somehting back into the community.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Galapagos Alternative offers special adventures and care!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2010

Javier and Jill are the young dynamic duo who offer the most interesting and fun Galapagos itineraries. Everyone knows them (and genuinely likes them) on Santa Cruz Island, and they excude knowledge, organization and warmth. Seven of us from two families spent the first 5 days of 2010 in the very capable hands of Javier, Jill and their great stable of guides, naturalists, and fishing gurus. We did everything from kayaking, mt. biking, hiking, snorkeling, swimming, to fishing (where Javier and Capt. Felix made us fantastic ceviche from our fesh catch) in the beautiful, warm turquoise waters. Javier and Jill arranged everything; flights, transfers, activities, rentals, accommodations - all for one reasonable price per person. Highly recommended from this well traveled New Yorker.

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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