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Ecuador and Galapagos

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Ecuador and Galapagos

Our tour operator has suggested Hilton Colon in Quito before and after Galapagos. And Santa Cruz boat for 4 days (boat deck, standard twin) and Finch Bay Hotel for three days. Any comments on these? Do not want to break the bank (any more than we already are) but is Hilton OK for seeing Quito? Is a standard twin on boat deck fine? Did people like Finch Bay Hotel?

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1. Re: Ecuador and Galapagos

Hilton Colon in Quito is fine, but I prefer the Marriott -- was there a week or so ago, and it's classier and slightly cheaper (I think) than the Colon. There's a travel agency just to the left of the check-in desk, nice restaurant (La Hacienda), coffee shop, etc. In Galápagos, Finch Bay is about as good as it gets. The ship Santa Cruz is very nice, but a bit too big for me -- I prefer something much smaller; say, 16 pax. But needless to say, YMMV.

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2. Re: Ecuador and Galapagos

Just got back from a trip to Ecuador, and our party of 5 stayed at the Mercure Alameda. Very, very nice. But like all Quito hotels, it's far from the new airport. Our driver said the special highway being built to the airport is still a year away from opening -- when complete, the drive will be less than 30 minutes, he said. Meanwhile, to and from the airport presently requires over an hour in a cab or limo. And if you get stuck in traffic like rush-hour, God help you! There are some cheaper places to stay near the airport, but our tour company didn't recommend any of them. But you may want to consult with your own tour operator about closer hotels.

Rockville Centre...
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3. Re: Ecuador and Galapagos

Staying near the UIO airport is ok if you're simply arriving one day and departing the next, But if you're going to visit Quito, you have the same long-drive problem to get there and back. By the way, if anyone does go into town, look to the left when you cross the existing bridge. You'll see the new one taking shape -- VERY slowly,

Depending on where you're coming from/going to, before and after Galápagos, think about staying in Guayaquil -- it's closer/cheaper to the islands, and there's plenty to do there too.

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4. Re: Ecuador and Galapagos

Cissbury, how long are you going to be in Quito before and after your Galapagos adventure? Where to stay depends heavily on how long you're visiting.

Indian Harbour...
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5. Re: Ecuador and Galapagos

Just got back from the Galapagos. We stayed in Guayaquil and after talking to the people on our ship who stayed in Quito we are glad we did. The plane leaves very early in the morning and when you add in the 1.5 hr and the required wait time at the airport you are leaving the hotel at 5:30. The plane from Quito stops in Guayaquil so it's a lot shorter flight if you stay in Guayaquil.

Bristol, United...
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6. Re: Ecuador and Galapagos

It's a long time ago that I stayed there but the Colon was good. As I have seen Quito, I would probably choose Guayaquil for the easier transfer if I were going right now. My last trip, I chose to stay in the new area - more because it was next to the travel agent I used.

The Finch bay is very nice but its expensive. It is across a short stretch of water from the main town so gives a feeling of being a a little more remote - but still easy to get into town. The hotel has a free boat on demand but you can also get a water taxi for a few cents. If you let reception know when you leave your room, the boat will be waiting for you when you get to the landing point. I often use the water taxi for the return trip as they are always waiting at the dock.

The Santa Cruz is one of the largest boats in Galapagos so it depends if that is what suits you. I prefer the smaller 16 passenger boats but the Santa Cruz is certainly high end. The short cruises start and finish on different islands so I assume your agent will book flights accordingly. The alternative is to book the public ferry between Santa Cruz and San Cristobal but that can be a rough 2.5hr ride (speed boat).

There are 2 itineraries on alternate weeks so the islands you see would vary according to when you are going. You would need to ask your agent which one you would get. The East itinerary does spend an entire day on Santa Cruz which might be a bit of a waste as you will be staying there in the hotel - especially as the morning is spent at the Darwin centre that you could walk to and is free. The northern itinerary is very good.

Dave Peters

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7. Re: Ecuador and Galapagos

I flew US to Quito and Guayaquil to US for the "Satan Came to Eden" film screenings last month (no Galápagos this time though). Guayaquil is definitely much easier than coping with the new airport in Quito. Here's hoping the new bridge (when and if it gets finished) will cut down on the hassle of getting back and forth. But still, I think Guayaquil will remain lots easier.

Livermore...
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8. Re: Ecuador and Galapagos

I've stayed at the Hilton Colon many times and have always been happy with the service. A reason I like the hotel is because it is near to the Quito indigenous craft market just a few blocks away, so if you can't get up to Otavalo it is a great alternative. They have a descent restaurant in the hotel as well. Keep in mind that the Hilton is a business class hotel and has corresponding amenities. If you want a more Ecuadorian ambiance you should look more to a hotel in Colonial Quito. However Hilton Colon is actually closer to the airport than the Colonial section. Concerning the Galapagos, I would spend all my time on a yacht in the Park rather than in a hotel as you will see more of the Galapagos and have many more animal encounters that way. However, if you are going to stay in a hotel in the Galapagos Finch Bay is a good one. It is off on its own and you will need to take a water taxi to get to and from Finch Bay from the dock in Puerto Ayora.

Edited: 3:36 am, June 26, 2014
9. Re: Ecuador and Galapagos

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