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how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Medellin
5 posts
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how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Hey,

I have been to the Galapagos twice now and I am about to go for the third time at the beginning of next month. I can either just visit a bunch of small islands on a 8 day tour (what most ships do and what I have done before) but there is alo the option to do an 8 day tour on a ship just focused around isabela (and a bit fernandina and rabida as well). So, can anyone tell me how the wildlife on isabela is, especially concerning the abundance and diversity of wildlife during snorkeling???, I mainly go for the snorkeling

I suppose isabela island will be great as well but perhaps someone with enough knowledge of the galapagos could compare isabela island to the other smaller islands (which I do know). Whcih one is the better experience? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it.

Christophe

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Galapagos Islands
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3,086 posts
14 reviews
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1. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Dear Christophe,

the more time you spend in the water, the more chances you'll see something amazing. The waters of the western shores are richer in nutrients - therefore richer in marine life and perhaps a bit poorer for visibility, and also cooler.

Isabela alone is bigger than all the other islands combined, so it's impossible to compare it with the others - you have to compare actual visitor sites and disregard the fact that 2 sites may be on the same island - it makes no difference. But you'll have a great time, no matter what.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

Medellin
5 posts
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2. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Thank you, Isabela. You seem very knowledgeable.If it is visitor sites you have to compare, then below you can finds the two possible itineraries I have been offered to take on Isabela. Do you think they are good choices and which one would you prefer? And more importantly, based on the sites, do you think it might be better to go on another boat who does a typical 8 dat tour (santa cruz, san cristobal, floreana, espanola,...) especially concerning the snorkeling?

the trips are organized at the end of may or beginning of JUne. I have to decide before Monday 12h. Thnak you so much for your feedback

1.

Itinerario C: 8D / 7N: 5boat ANAHI

Viernes:

A.m.Baltra. Transfer a Pto. Ayora .

P.M.Parte Alta de la isla Santa Cruz. Los Gemelos

Sábado:

A.m. Isabela: Tintorera / Humedales / Muro

P.m. Isabela: Sierra Negra

Domingo:

A.m. Isabela: Punta Moreno

P.m. Isabela: Bahía Elizabeth

Lunes:

A.m. Isabela: Urbina Bay

P.m. Isabela: Caleta Tagus

Martes:

A.m. Fernandina: Punta Espinoza

P.m. Isabela: Punta Vicente Roca

Miercoles:

A.m. Santiago: Pto. Egas

P.m. Rabida

Jueves:

A.m. Sombrero Chino

P.m. Bartolome

Viernes:

A.m. Visita a Isla Seymour. Aeropuerto en Baltra.

2. BOAT ANGELITO

Sunday: BALTRA – LAS BACHAS

Monday: MOSQUERA – CERRO DRAGON

Tuesday: TAGUS COVE (ISABELA) – PUNTA ESPINOZA (FERNANDINA)

Wednesday: URBINA BAY – ELIZABETH BAY

Thursday: PUNTA MORENO – NAVEGATION TO VILLAMIL WITH WALE WATCHING

Friday: Puerto Villamil: SIERRA NEGRA- hike to Crater – Darwin Station Villamil

Saturday: FLOREANA: PUNTA CORMORANT – CORONA DEL DIABLO – POST OFFICE BAY – PUERTO AYORA

Sunday: (DAPHNE PANORAMIC) – BALTRA

Medellin
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3. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

ps: and of course your name is not isable but heather. I got confused:). So, thanks,.Heather and not Isabela

Medellin
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4. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Hey Heather, I just checked out your profile, you know so much, of course 4 years liveing in the galapagos will make the difference. That's why I added below the 4 other choices I received for the other boats (trips around the smaller islands). Perhaps you can have a quick look, if you have the time, and just tell me what you would recommend based on the sites and the ships? (one of those 4 choices below or one of the isabela cruises above?). I love the galapagos and I ama biologist, I just wanna make the right choice since I have been already twice and I wanna have the best experience ever the third time:). Thanks again.

QUEEN GALAPAGOS:ITINERARY 8D/7N A

Mon AM San Cristóbal: Airport / PM Lobos Island

Tue AM South Plazas / PM North Seymour

Wed AM Chinese Hat / PM Santa Cruz: Bachas Beach

Thu AM Santa Cruz: Charles Darwin Station / PM Santa Cruz: Highlands,Twin Pitt Craters

Fri AM Floreana: Punta Cormorant, Champion / PM Floreana: Post Office Bay, Mirador Baronesa

Sat AM Española: Punta Suarez / PM Española: Gardner Bay, Islote Osborn

Sun AM San Cristóbal: Sorcerer Peak / PM SAn Cristóbal: Sleeping Lion

Mon AM Interpretation Center / San Cristóbal Airport.

DARWIN SHIP :

Galapagos Discovery (GDDI 8D/7N)

THURSDAY:

BALTRA - BACHAS PM

FRIDAY:

PLAZAS AM - SANTA FE PM

SATURDAY:

ISLA ESPAÑOLA (Gardner Bay /Islote Gardener/islote Osborn AM – Punta Suárez PM)

SUNDAY:

ISLA FLOREANA

(Mirador de la Baronesa / Post Office Bay AM – Punta Cormorant / Devil`S Crown PM)

MONDAY:

ISLA SANTA CRUZ

(Charles Darwin Station AM – Crater Gemelos Highlands PM)

TUESDAY:

ISLA SANTIAGO (Puerto Egas AM –Playa Espumilla/ Caleta Bucanero PM)

WEDNESDAY:

ISLOTE BARTOLOME AM – BAHIA SULLIVAN PM

THURSDAY:

ISLA NORTH SEYMOUR AM - BALTRA

ARCHIPEL II SHIP:

8 Dias - 7 Noches

Lun

Aeropuerto de Baltra/ Seymour Norte

Mar

Batolome / Santiago: Bahía Sullivan

Mie

Isabela: Muro de las lagrimas / Centro de crianza

Jue

Santa Cruz: Estación Charles Darwin / Parte alta

Vie

Floreana: PuntaCormorant / I.Champions / Bahía Post Office / Mirador de la Baronesa

Sab

Española: Bahía Gardner / Punta Suarez

Dom

San Cristobal: Punta Pitt / Cerro Brujo

Lun

San Cristobal: Islas Lobos / Aeropuerto de San Cristobal

BEAGLE SHI (IS A SAILSHIP THOUH AND RECENTLY HAD AN ACCIDENT):

Day 1 AM: Arrive to Baltra airport

PM: Charles Darwin Research Station - Santa Cruz Island

Day 2 AM: Punta Cormorant and Champion Rock - Floreana Island

PM: Post Office Bay & La Baronesa lookout - Floreana Island

Day 3 AM: Punta Suárez - Española Island

PM: Gardner Bay and Gardner Rock - Española Island

Day 4 AM: Isla Lobos and Kicker Rock - San Cristóbal Island

PM: Punta Pitt - San Cristóbal Island

Day 5 AM: Barrington Bay - Santa Fe Island

PM: South Plaza Island and Punta Carrión

Day 6 AM: Sullivan Bay - Santiago Island

PM: Bartolome Island

Day 7 AM: James Bay - Santiago Island

PM: Rabida

Day 8 AM: North Seymour

Baltra Airport

Oceanside...
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5. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Hi, Christophe--

I usually enjoy comparing a couple of itineraries and thinking about which I would recommend and why. But 6 is beyond my brain's capacity. In broad strokes, though (and probably having missed some details), I'd say that the last 4 seem to be pretty typical south/central islands itineraries. The "feature" island of each is Española, especially if you'll be traveling between about mid-April and mid-Dec. At those times, the magnificent Waved Albatross will be nesting on Punta Suárez and they are lovely beyond words. Since you specifically mention snorkeling, the Queen, Darwin, and Archipel go to Devil's Crown, off Floreana--one of the best snorkeling spots in the archipelago, by most reports. The Beagle goes to Floreana too, but it doesn't mention Devil's Crown. So that might be one vote against that itinerary.

But really--since you've already been twice, where HAVEN'T you been and why isn't that the deciding factor for you? If you haven't been to Isabela/Fernandina, then the choice would be narrowed down to the 2 in your first message, in my opinion. Both Itinerary C and Angelito hit the Isabela western shore landings, although C goes to one more than Angelito does. Angelito also goes to the Devil's Crown, which would mean you'd get to snorkel at 2 of the best areas in the archipelago. (Fernandina is often mentioned in the same breath as Devil's Crown when raving about snorkeling there.) So that might lean you toward the Angelito.

The Angelito gets good reviews on this forum--it seems to be a good value for the money. (The Angelito is a tourist-superior class; I don't know what boat has Itinerary C.) But I think either of the 1st itineraries are good options, especially if you have been to many of the islands on the other itineraries. We are planning our return trip next year. Since we had a good north/south itinerary on our first trip (highlights, Genovesa and Española), we have chosen an itinerary that spends maximum time on the western shore of Isabela and Fernandina--much like the 2 itineraries in your first message. Either one of those would be great, I'd say.

Tina

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

Edited: 4:48 pm, May 13, 2012
Medellin
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6. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

hey Heather, I left you some comments in your personal message center. I postponed my decision till Monday night Ecuadorian time (Belgian morning time), so I hope you can have a quick look and find the time to anwser me. Thanks again.

Christophe

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Galapagos Islands
Level Contributor
3,086 posts
14 reviews
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7. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Dear Christophe,

Like Tina, this is too much to ask. In the end, you'll have a wonderful time, no matter what you decide. Enjoy your cruise!

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Quito, Ecuador
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10,016 posts
95 reviews
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8. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Christophe, Ii know the choices can seem overwhelming, having planned a trip myself. Start with noting your "must-sees" (which for me were the tortoises in the wild, and penguins), then find out which islands you are most likely to encounter your must-sees. From there you will have a rough idea of an itinerary. Search for boats with a similar itinerary within your budget. With the new regulations you will probably have to make some hard choices, but, in the end, as anyone will tell you, you will have an amazing time.

Working with a knowledgeable travel agent who knows the Galapagos is very advantageous and worth the small extra expense.

Edited: 1:02 am, May 15, 2012
Vancouver, BC
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37 posts
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9. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Just my $0.02 CAD... Snorkelling off the West Coast of Isabella was FANTASTIC. We saw probably 15-20 turtles!!! They are such amazing creatures. Vis WAS poorer though, as the water is much more nutrient rich. No penguins over there, but we had the usual sealions come up and check us out too. Water was DEFINITELY colder on the West Coast.

Chicago
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10. Re: how is snorkeling and wildlife in general on isabela?

Man. I am stunned at the number of positive reviews on the Galapagos. I just don't get it. I posted a very negative review on my experience, mostly due to the overtourism and overregulated aspects of the area (which is good and bad . . .good for the islands, but bad if you want to go someplace to explore nature). I've gone once, and am warning every person I know to stay away and save your money. It's better to go to Sea World.