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Day trips without a Cruise

Middletown, Delaware
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221 posts
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Day trips without a Cruise

So, I simply cannot afford a cruise. I understand that I will not be able to see everything without one, but having never seen anything like the Galapagos, I can only believe that any experience with provide memories that will last a lifetime.

With that said, where can I go without a cruise? I am willing to pay for some tours, but I would also like to go places on my own. I will be staying in the Hotel Espana in Puerto Ayora.

My general plan: Four days on Santa Cruz, two days on Isabella, two days on San Cristobal, and my final four days back on Santa Cruz.

With that being said, where can I visit from these places? Also, can I go by boat in between Isabella to San Cristobal?

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Day trips without a Cruise

You are extremely limited as to where you can go 'on your own'. You require a guide for a lot of the park access and you want to be careful about wandering off. Every year several people die from getting off a track and becoming lost.

If you are young, there can be some added benefit to deferring a trip like this until you can properly afford 'something'.

Good that you are planning ahead, but use this early time for reading as many trip reports as you can. On the right are a number of Top Questions that will answer a lot of your questions and enquiries. Lurk some, read travel books, start penciling up a plan and a budget.

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2. Re: Day trips without a Cruise

Hi, John--

Your primary choices for day trips to other islands are from Santa Cruz. (San Cristóbal has an occasional day trip to Floreana, but we don't hear much about that on this forum.) You can get to N. Seymour, Bartolomé, S. Plaza, Santa Fé, and Floreana on day trips. In my opinion, N. Seymour and Bartolomé are the best for wildlife. Not all trips go every day and the more popular ones can sell out (especially during the busy summer months that you'll be traveling). So you may need to be flexible about where you go. You can only get to one island each day, since it can take 2+ hours one way to get to an island.

In Santa Cruz, you can go to Tortuga Bay (a long, hot walk to a lovely beach--take plenty of water and sunblock because there are no services there!). The Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora is free and you can see the results of the tortoise breeding program there. (The exhibits were under construction when we were there in May, 2013, so the different age cohorts of the tortoises were about all we got to see.) An even better tortoise encounter--You can also arrange a trip to the highlands to one of the farms where the Giant Tortoises are living free, which is a really great experience and no guide needed. And the town of Puerto Ayora is interesting, especially the fish market where the fishermen clean their catches with pelicans and sea lions as avid spectators.

For sites you can visit on your own on Isabela and San Cristóbal, check out this terrific National Park Web page: www.galapagospark.org/onecolmap.php… . Those sites with a blue or purple mark can be done without a guide. (Click on each site for a brief description.) This map also shows other places you can visit on your own on Santa Cruz.

You can't take a ferry directly from Isabela to San Cristóbal--you have to go Isabela to SC; SC to San Cristóbal.


trip report at http://galapagos2009.wordpress.com/

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3. Re: Day trips without a Cruise

I am planning a land based tour, but distributing my time evenly among the items. Based on what I read, out of 12 days, I would definitely allocate at least 2 more to Isabella and one more to San Cristobal. See the thread below about "cheaper options" for wonderful ideas.

Middletown, Delaware
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4. Re: Day trips without a Cruise

Is Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruise accessible without a cruise BUT with a tour? Also, is Camaño Island a worthwhile trip?

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: Day trips without a Cruise

I disagree complete with the first post that your are "extremely limited where you can "go on your own". There are at least 2 weeks worth of activities and places you can go that most "cruisers" will completely miss. I actually wrote an extensive post about these options recently on this website - You must have missed it.

Here is the link


Hope it helps


6. Re: Day trips without a Cruise

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