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Where to Book your Galapagos Cruise - Cruise - Ecuador


Most visitors arrange their tours before arriving to the islands. Since the Galápagos are becoming ever-more popular and high season tours sometimes fill up over a year in advance, arranging your tour early is often the only guarantee that you will get what you want. You can do this through a travel agency in your home country, but understand that while the process may be more efficient, you will pay more (commission cost, package fees, national taxes, etc.) and have fewer options (only those ships partnered with your home agency—usually the top-end ones). You can also contact the boats directly, via the internet: pick a ship you’re interested in by searching our V!VA Travel Guides database, and go through the official website for the tour company that owns or operates the ship.


You can arrange tours (cruises and day tours) in Guayaquil or Quito, either through the ships’ city offices or through any number of travel agencies. During the low season, you may find a well-priced tour with openings leaving in only a few days, but expect to have to wait a month or more for availability during the high season.


During the low season, some visitors opt to organize their Galápagos tour from Puerto Ayora or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Tour

agencies based in the islands will often offer last-minute deals on cruises, which can save you up to 50%. If you have substantial travel time and a limited budget, you may save some money by flying to the islands, staying in an inexpensive hotel and trolling the tour agencies in town. The best-case scenario: you fly to Puerto Ayora and immediately find a first-class ship leaving the next day with an opening, and you pay a fraction of what you would have had you booked ahead. Worst-case scenario: you spend the week looking for a ship with an opening and find nothing, so you do day trips and some SCUBA diving. Still not too bad! Finding boats in the high season (June-August and December) is exponentially more difficult. Important Note: the worst ships in the islands often are not full, so a common “scam” on the part of the operators is to send a cheery fellow to the airport who catches people off the plane, saying he has a first-class or mid-range ship with a couple of sudden vacancies, and he’ll sell the spots half-off or more. It’s not exactly illegal, but if you take him up on his offer, you may find yourself on an unsafe or filthy ship. Only book through reputable agencies with an actual office, or at the very least demand to see the ship before making up your mind. If he makes an excuse, he’s probably playing you.


If you can book a last-minute tour, you can often save quite a bit of money, even hundreds of dollars. If you have a few extra travel days in one of the big cities or the islands, go to a number of different agencies to inquire about last minute tour availability and prices. You may happen upon a cancellation or a tour looking to fill spaces on departures leaving right away that may offer you a last-minute bargain (especially in the low season). If you’re really lucky, you may find a travel agent who works directly with boat owners and offers you the at-cost (no commission) tour price. Hanging around in Quito and working the last-minute tour agencies can cut as much as $500 off your trip (but there is no guarantee you will get a trip at all!).


Cruise, Cruise Info.

Here are other activities in and around The Galápagos Islands that may be of interest: First Class - Galápagos Cruises, Eric, Montserrat, Tourist Class - Galápagos Cruises, Guantanamera, The Beagle, Superior First Class - Galápagos Cruises, Coral II, Flamingo and Letty.

24 Sep 2013

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