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Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

California
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Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

I find the prices of these yacht tours extremely high for two people. I have been told that there are hotels/hostels on several of these islands and that one can see animal life, etc. with day tours, etc.

I am interested in knowing if anyone out there has done this?

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

Look to the right and you will see several Frequen Questions that will answer your questions. After you have digested them, I recommend you get out a guidebook, like Lonely Planet. it seems to be the most recently updated one and all have sections about land based Galapagos touring.

California
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2. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

Thx. I think I will by pass this area. I am not in need of seeing animals.

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

Dear Pain nurse,

indeed, if you are not particularly interested in seeing animals up close (e.g. you have to walk around them, because they don't move) and marveling at the wonders of nature, then there is absolutely no interest in spending that money to go to Galapagos, because everything else Galapagos has to offer can be found elsewhere at a much better price.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

Sutton Coldfield
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4. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

You certainly can see all the wildlife on a land based tour. We met many people who used Gadventures. I think you could arrange it independently if you fly into Santa Cruz or San Cristobel. Floreana and Isobella also have accommodation and many tour operators offer day trips to the National Park sites. It is useful to speak spanish if trying to be independant, Good Luck,

California
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5. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

Thanks all. I decided not interested. Yes I like animals but it just seems like these tours are for the wealthy. I could easily afford these tours but it does not "feel right" to spend so much. Where is all the $ going? And then they charge $100 park fee per person, and other added costs. Then the additional $400 to get there from the mainland. Just does not sit well with me. But just my opinion. :)

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

It's a good question "where is all the money going". Here are some answers:

1) Crew and personnel: Many ships have a very high ratio of crew to passengers. E.g. a 16 passenger ship has 6-7 crew, including one captain. It has to spread the cost of the crew over fewer people. Also, ships typically come with land based services (sales team, logistics team, administration people). So, for each ship, you likely have 15-20 people on staff. You still have to divide that amongst a small number of passengers.

2) Operations: Running a ship from this remote archipelago requires a lot of investment in operations - a good part of the fresh food is shipped from the continent, there are maintenance issues, spare parts, fuel etc... all is made more expensive for this reason.

3) Taxes, fees: The operating fees and taxes are quite high - Galapagos is the single main tourist destination in Ecuador, and the government also wants to benefit. But also, there are the usual safety regulations and inspections.

As for the park entrance fee, that is divided up between the Galapagos National Park Service (about 50%), the navy (about 5%) and the local municipal governments in Galapagos. The park service is very busy (I used to work for them) and has plenty to do re: monitoring tourism in the islands, working on introduced species, and doing some public education, among many other things.

The flight to the islands (almost $500), has always been relatively steep - I'm not sure why. It was $412 over 10 years ago - so at least you can say it hasn't gone up too much!

I hope this helps.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

California
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7. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

Thank you Heather for explaining. I understand the need for fees but I am sure that there are people making quite a bit of money on this tourist attraction. There is no way it ought to cost $500 to fly from mainland. The fact is, this is a destination for the wealthy or for people who have saved their money a long time to do it. The $100 fee/per person to get into the park adds up. It would not surprise me to find that there is a large discrepancy in what people actually earn. This is a reason, for example, why I prefer to try to eat at local restaurants rather than the higher priced tourist ones. I believe that a lot of people that go to the Galapagos are taken advantage of financially but do not seem to mind as they have the money or they just want to go there, so it doesn't matter.

Dublin, California
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8. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

While your points maybe valid, understand its not always true. I am not wealthy by any means, nor have I saved up for a long time. I am going to Ecuador for 3 weeks; 2 of them will be on a cruise of the islands. Furthermore, I am going alone which means I pay even more. It all depends upon what is YOUR interest. Going here has been a child hood dream and I'll be there for my 49th birthday. So, heck, I am "treating" myself. I don't find this trip I am taking to Ecuador any more expensive then any of the other places I've been. In fact, when you take into account the 14 day cruise with all meals paid for and other trips, I'm not spending all that much.

Everyone is different and everyone does what they want and makes them happy.

California
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9. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

Cassie, I know you are going to enjoy this. Sounds great. I do agree in some ways. I look forward myself to travel in Ecuador and I know I will love it. There is so much to see in this world and not enough time to see it all so we choose wisely. I hope to see your post on your trip. I am still trying to figure out where my next one is.

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10. Re: Possibility to tour Galapagos without being on a boat tour?

Just got back from Peru and Ecuador.

We (a couple) did GI (7 nights) land based and in the end only stayed on Isabela (although visted Santa Cruz). We spent just under £100 ($150) a day hotel, food, beers, souvenirs.

My diving cost £220 ($340) for 4 dives.

Getting to and from plus entrance about £800 ($1200)

So all in less than £2000 ($3000).

Just sitting in Puerto Villamil on Isabela we saw:

Seals, penguins, tortoise, iggis, flamingos. In the sea large hammerhead and other sharks, sea horse, vaste shoals of baracuda, turtles, seasnake, and many others. From the dock, you didn't need to snorkel to see them close up, rays, mantas, seals, and penguins. In the air too many to name but I could watch pelicans all day long and the birds on Isla Tortuga were amazing.

The hikes and beach time were great. The people even more so (to be fair we speak spanish so really enjoyed chatting with the locals about the old days and life before tourism. So glad the shark fin hunting [125 in a night!!!] is almost a thing of the past).

Was it worth £2000? Too true it was.

Horses for courses as said but we will be going back for more within 2 years. We will again land base but with more islands.

Edited: 6:34 am, May 09, 2013