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Need help with a small or private tour of the Islands.

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Need help with a small or private tour of the Islands.

We would like to take our daughter to the Galapagos Islands but everything I have researched shows boats that hold a large number of people and I don't see where they really get up close and personal with the wildlife. We would like to snorkel, see dolphins up close, hang with the sea lions, ect. I would prefer a smaller boat that we can jump off and snorkel and have the dolphins come up to us. Can anyone give me some recommendations or some websites that may help me with planning a trip like this. I would greatly appreciate it.

Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Need help with a small or private tour of the Islands.

I would recomend a 16 passenger boat - there are lots of them. Please choose a company based in the Galapagos if you can - if not than at least in Ecuador. Try looking into the Tip Top II or San Jose Yacht. Local companies are the only ones that actually benefit Galapagos communities and conservation. We had a great Galapagos tour with the San Jose- guide was great, easy to ask questions, crew very friendly.

Ottawa, Canada
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for Galapagos Islands
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2. Re: Need help with a small or private tour of the Islands.

I usually recommend a small boat too - they provide you with a much more intimate experience. Dolphins do like to ride the bow wave, and you should be able to see them doing so on a couple of occasions if you are watchful, during your trip. I've actually been able to hear them squeak and whistle as they rode the bow wave, just 10-12 feet below me as I looked over the edge. You would be hard pressed to see this on a big boat. Some prefer big boats as they are more spacious than most of the smaller boats, a bit more stable on the water of course, and offer more on-board amenities.

There are plenty of good small boats out there, from tourism to luxury class. Be ready to pay anything from $1200 to well over $3,000 per person, just for the 7 night cruise. (up to and over $4,000 for top cabins on big ships). You usually get what you pay for, but my feeling is that you get less and less bang for your buck once you go much beyond $2,500. Don't forget the cost of the flight to Galapagos from Quito (apx. $390) and the park entrance fee ($100). There are often significant discounts for kids under 12, with some ships offering triple cabins.

Pricier cruises usually translate into a better itinerary, better guides, better food and cozier accommodations - but regardless of the ship, Galapagos offers up the same thing to everyone.

This will be an experience of a lifetime! Have fun.

Heather Blenkiron


3. Re: Need help with a small or private tour of the Islands.

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