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“So Personal, You'll Think They Are Family!”

Galapagos Alternative
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: At Galapagos Alternative we specialize in personalized land-based tour packages. We offer unique experiences of the islands the way we see them: as locals. Choose the sights and activities most interesting to you, stay at local places, eat at local restaurants, and of course, get up-close experiences with the amazing animals that make the Galapagos Islands so special. We can help you find the best options to fit your timeframe, budget and preferences. We can help with all aspects of your trip, from booking unique accommodations to daily activities and transport between the islands. We are Jill and Javier Moreno, and we'd like to welcome you to our home. We look forward to treating you like family, showing you our favorite places, and ensuring that you have the experience of a lifetime in the amazing and beautiful Galapagos!
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“So Personal, You'll Think They Are Family!”
Reviewed February 18, 2014 via mobile

Where can we begin? My wife and I visited the Galápagos Islands with our two young daughters (4 and 2). Given the ages of our kids, we knew a Galapagos trip would be a big challenge. Many tour companies turned down our inquiries for help, but Galapagos Alternative welcomed the challenge to help find appropriate day tours for us and our tiny tots.

From online consultant Lauren to owners Javier and Jill, you'll notice the personal touch right from the beginning. GA does far more than arrange your day trip(s)-- they become your insider lifeline and support system! Javier and Jill personally checked on us before and after the tours they arranged, and their interest in our happiness with each service was completely genuine.

GA uses high quality service providers (drivers, guides, 3rd party companies, etc), each of which went out of their way to make our day trips extra special and simply perfect for our younger kids.

When our flight plans changed at the last minute, we didn't know what to do. However, since Galapagos Alternative had arranged our day tours so well, we acted on a hunch and called Javier directly. Within moments, he had colleagues on another island helping us to revamp our arrangements to get to another airport for our new flight. Without one hesitation, he immediately helped us with something that clearly fell outside any business relationship we had established by booking day tours with GA. This is the type of personal touch you receive from Javier and Jill.

We can't say "thank you" enough to Javier, Jill, Lauren, Daniela, Joseph, Ramiro, James, Wendy, and all the others that Galapagos Alternative used to arrange our fantastic day tours of the phenomenal Galápagos Islands!

Helpful?
6 Thank Ultramodern1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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277 reviews from our community

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English first
Aspley Guise, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great personalised tour of the Galapagos”
Reviewed January 29, 2014 via mobile

Run by Galapagean native Javier Moreno and his Floridian wife, Jill, this tourist agency helped build us a fantastic itinerary over the course of a couple of months of emails, gradually shaping our trip into what turned out to a complete delight. Javier's family own property on the island of Santa Cruz and he seems to know everybody connected with the travel business. This meant he could help us with putting together a mixed itinerary combining land based stays and a four day boat trip to the more distant islands not accessible on day trips in a way that really suited our needs. Nothing was too much trouble to organise and we were always so well looked after whether we were staying on his island or in the further flung parts of the Galapagos. Evening briefings at convenient times at our hotel would always ensure we were well prepared for the following day's activity and had the correct kit. When it came to travelling from Island to Island Javier arranged everything with the minimum of fuss. He even helped us change our itinerary mid-trip to enable us to spend an extra night on San Cristobal. One recommendation - really do your homework first to get a sense of how many nights you want to spend on each island. From our experience Isabela merits 3/4 days, Santa Cruz 4-5 days depending on the number of day trips to neighbouring islands you want to do (North Seymour and South Plazas are recommended), and San Cristobal 2/3 days while the others are great to do on a boat tour. Javier's team on the ground are a great support, particularly Daniela who organised a lovely day out kayaking and was very knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna. We were really pleased we found a local team to help us plan our dream holiday and turn it into reality - we would highly recommend Galapagos Alternative.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank jamesmac37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampton, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
72 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Excellent day tours and local sourcing”
Reviewed January 9, 2014

If this is your first time visiting the Galapagos Islands and you want to make sure you see a good variety of what the islands have to offer, do not hesitate to book a tour with Galapagos Alternative! GA put together a nice itinerary for us including lots of snorkeling, a day trip to N Seymour, and the Sierra Negra/Volcan Chico hike on Isabela Island. Rita, our contact on Santa Cruz Island, was amazing. She met with us each night to go over the next days activities and was available via e-mail and phone in case we needed anything. The majority of our day-trip guides were really excellent... very friendly and knowledgeable about the islands including the animals, plant life, and geology. E-mail communication with anyone at the company was quite prompt and we were able to get itineraries together in a fairly short amount of time.

-Be sure to buy trip insurance in case anything may happen during your travels (there are lots of active volcanoes in the region that may delay or cancel trips)!
-We were warned multiple times about the boat crossing from Santa Cruz to Isabela and both took dramamine beforehand. We had ZERO problems. I get very sea sick (hence the land based tour), but had no issues after taking the pills. I guess December the water isn't too rough though, but it was still choppy.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank DHalps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Javier was amazing!!”
Reviewed December 28, 2013

I highly recommend this company. My wife, Amanda, and I and her parents spent five days over Christmas with Javier and his wonderful team at Galapagos Alternative. From the moment our plane arrived to the second we departed we were taken care of and had nothing to worry about. He adds a personal caring touch that his hard to find these days. For example, on our flight leaving the Galapagos, the airlines somehow mixed up Amanda's parents tickets to put them on a different flight. Javier spent 30 minutes arguing with the airline employees until they changed their tickets to match ours with no additional charge! Another example is when he took us to his house to meet his charming wife, Jill, who also helped with our arrangements. He also treated us to some of his home-grown coffee beans that he grows on his plantation! The tours were highly-organized and of top quality. We had the trip of a lifetime and have so many pictures and memories that we will always cherish. You won't be disappointed with this company!!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Payam M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belmont, California
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Amazing adventure!”
Reviewed October 30, 2013

I highly recommend booking your trip with Galapagos Alternative. They were able to create an amazing itinerary that was a perfect balance of adventure, sightseeing, and relaxation. Lauren was super prompt with correspondence and tailoring our itinerary to our needs. Liz and Rita were lovely - they were punctual with our meeting times, they took us to all of our transfers (super important because my husband and I don't speak Spanish), checked in on us everyday, and are a wealth of knowledge for dining, culture, and sightseeing.

The naturalist guides and day trip tours that Galapagos Alternative uses are supurb. The guides were professional and knowlegable. Their passion for their land, culture, people, and animals is really evident in their practice.

We stayed 3 nights in Santa Cruz and 3 nights in Isabella (took a boat from Santa Cruz to Isabella and then a plane from Isabella back to Santa Cruz). Those islands are both very different from each other - Santa Cruz having a more small city feel whereas Isabella was more rustic and authentic. They are a nice complement to each other.

We stayed at Mainao Inn in Santa Cruz and Casa de la Marita in Isabella - both lovely accommadations with attentive service and great locations and good breakfasts.

We loved the activities that were planned for us especially the opportunity to swim and snorkle with white tipped sharks!

I highly recommend Galapagos Alternative for your trip to the Galapagos. It is the only way to go!

Thank you Galapagos Alternative! Thank you for the trip of a lifetime!

-K&A

Useful Tips:
-bring small bills for taxi services, meals, and tipping your guide
-bring a reusable water bottle
-it is worth it to spend a little extra on a wetsuit rental as the water in Galapagos in October was very cold
- I would recommend at least one way plane ride between islands (ie Isabella and Santa Cruz) as the water was very rough (we were warned in advance)
-bring light layer of clothing or a light windbreaker as the weather is constantly changing
-learn some Spanish! Especially when ordering breakfast ;D
-bring a sense of adventure! Enjoy!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank KIMBERLY D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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