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All reviews la pinta glass bottom boat santa cruz sea lions isabela ii galapagos islands finch bay hotel uneven terrain western islands night cruise boat moves the hotel manager deep water dry landings mashpi lodge giant tortoises blue footed boobies
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Reviewed February 17, 2014

We greatly enjoyed our 5D/4N cruise on La Pinta. The attraction is, of course, the islands themselves. Anyone well informed with reasonable expectations will not be disappointed. These islands, with the exception of the settled Santa Cruz, are all part of a highly protected national park.

The Ecuadoran government rightly protects the beautiful but often stark and fragile environment of these islands. This means that the total number of visitors is limited and no- one goes ashore except in small groups accompanied by a park-certified guide.

The La Pinta had three of these guides, all of whom were excellent -- highly knowledgeable, personable, and strongly committed to protecting the Galapagos fauna, flora and landscape. Each day, there were generally two morning and one afternoon excursions, with up to 16 people accompanying a guide in a small outboard-powered rubber boat, or panga. These excursions included photo trips along the coast of islands, beach visits, hikes, snorkeling, swimming and kayaking. Glass bottom boat trips were an occasional option for those who wanted something a bit more sedentary. Each day ended with a naturalist briefing before supper.

While providing support and encouragement to try to help each guest have a great experience, the guides worked in a lot of nature lectures, including geology, oceanography, history and biology. We swam with penguins, sea lions, sharks, rays, and schools of tribal fish. On the shore, we had close encounters with tortoises, marine iguanas, and many species of birds. Most excursions were followed by snacks and drinks, while the naturalists and crew had their routines of getting dozens of people to shore, into and out of wetsuits & snorkel gear, and back onto the boat down to an efficient and safe science.

The experience of visiting six islands was unique and phenomenal. But most of the time is spent on the boat, which is essentially an extremely comfortable floating hotel that delivers you to new destinations daily. The rooms and beds were comfortable, the food was always excellent, and there was a decent library, an exercise room, a nice bar, indoor and outdoor lounging areas, The only quibble is that the wifi was limited and sometimes spotty, but when you're floating in the Pacific, any wifi Internet is pretty good.

All in all, La Pinta ensured a great Galápagos experience and provided a great value.

Date of experience: February 2014
4  Thank Tdawson48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2014

The adventure was well organized and exciting. I say adventure because that's what it is. It is not a leisurely cruise; it requires some stamina. The crew and Naturalists are great; very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the Islands; some are native islanders. The one thing that we were not advised about, and perhaps we should have assumed, was the rocking and rolling of the ship which we never really got used to. Even with Dramamine, many of the guests experienced some degree of motion sickness during the week. Motion sickness patches might be a good idea. The yacht has 20 cabins accommodates 38 guests. The cabin was bigger than I expected, and the bathroom had a separate shower. Single beds were fairly comfortable, although I had trouble sleeping with the rocking motion. Cabins are air-conditioned. Towels were folded into animal shapes every day with a little chocolate on the bed. Very nice ship, and the meals and service were top notch. Buffet-style breakfast & lunch with a very nice formal dinner. The fish served was like it had just been caught - so fresh! Red or white wine was served with dinner (included). Fresh Fruit and juices with morning meals. The schedule is very busy starting at 7 am. There is a lot of walking on the islands, so bring good comfortable shoes. Snorkeling if you choose, or a glass-bottom boat to explore the marine life. Water was around 73 farenheit in late January and so clear and turquoise blue. You are shuttled to the islands from the Isabella II on Zodiac inflatable boats (takes about 10 minutes). It was a wonderful experience and the staff does everything to accommodate the guests, and make it a memorable adventure. Tours tend to be of the central islands, or the northern or the southern Islands, depending on the tour and number of days. Ours was the central area around Santa Cruz and Santa Fe Islands. An amazing place.

Date of experience: January 2014
3  Thank S T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2014

Amazing experience. I did the 5D/4N cruise. Snorkeling was amazing. The naturalists were extremely knowledgable; staff was excellent. Very well organized.

Date of experience: January 2014
Thank AR K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2014

We used MT for airport transfers and three day trips from Quito, and the experience was wonderful. Our guide, Andrea, could not have been nicer, more helpful, or more knowledgeable. She made all the difference, and we won't be able to think of Quito without thinking of her. All of our drivers were also great. Overall, I found MT to be quite professional and reliable. Just what you expect.

Date of experience: December 2013
Thank BlindTom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2013

From the pick-up to the airport and the following two days exploring Quito we considered ourselves quite lucky to have Monica as our tour guide. Her years of experience in guiding and her love of her country shine through. What we love about travelling is not only seeing all the attractions, but immersing ourselves in the culture and learning as much as we can. Monica helped us to do that and we are extremely grateful.

Date of experience: November 2013
Thank taiter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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